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Educators Don't Want To Listen

By John Clarke

So, I was having a browse round Drug Edu­ca­tion News — a blog all about the Drug Edu­ca­tion Forum, who are appar­ently “an umbrella body for national organ­isa­tions com­mitted to improving drug edu­ca­tion in England” — and came across a post about legal highs. Admit­tedly, this is a repost of a member’s briefing from Drug­Scope, so not their own words, but that’s not why I have a problem with them. Have a read:

Drugs EducationDevon-​​based Children’s Society pro­jects are con­cerned about an increase in the avail­ab­ility of these [legal highs] sub­stances and the use of them by young people in their area. This increase in use has been mirrored by recent art­icles in national press and sector pub­lic­a­tions, putting forward a range of limited research and anec­dotal evid­ence — with par­tic­ular atten­tion paid to a few users who have exper­i­enced some­times lethal side effects.

Steven Hawker, Young People’s Drug and Alcohol Worker at The Children’s Society Check­point project in Torquay, expressed concern about the way young people view these drugs and the way pro­fes­sionals com­mu­nicate about them. “While we feel there is some advantage in high­lighting spe­cific risks and effects of indi­vidual legal highs, it con­cerns me there is very little lit­er­ature high­lighting the general risks of these sub­stances”, he said. “Of par­tic­ular concern are inex­per­i­enced sub­stance users who may take the view that legal equals safe and that this may impact on them con­suming poten­tially large amounts of stim­u­lants or hallucinogens.”

The Children’s Society would be inter­ested if any organ­isa­tion has:

  • pro­duced any aware­ness cam­paigns in their area
  • seen sig­ni­ficant rises in use
  • become aware of spe­cific neg­ative effects of par­tic­ular drugs.

The Children’s Society would also welcome any thoughts on how young people should be made aware of the poten­tial risks of legal highs, par­tic­u­larly sub­stances where research into the risks of short and long-​​term use is limited.

Fair enough, sort of. These people are con­cerned for their kids, but that still doesn’t excuse the hypo­crisy subtly inter­woven into the fabric of their terror. I’m all for edu­ca­tion, raising aware­ness and semi-​​anonymously informing people of their mis­takes via the internet, so I thought I’d post a little comment out­lining my opinion. It went some­thing like this:

synchroniumWhat about alcohol and tobacco? By the same reas­oning employed above, their leg­ality also sug­gests to kids they’re safe. In a similar vein, no respect­able retailer of these legal altern­at­ives to illegal drugs would sell them to anyone under the age of 18.

I agree that more research into these types of sub­stance should be done, so that we know what’s safe to take and what isn’t. I can assure you though, that acohol and tobacco would end up much further towards the unsafe end of the spectrum.

Am I being a dick? No. Am I being beli­gerant? No. Am I fur­thering dis­cus­sion on the topic? Fuck yeah! So why the hell did they delete my comment?! It seems to me the Drug Edu­ca­tion News blog (notice I’m not linking to them for this very reason) simply do not want to listen when it comes to dif­fering opinion.

And here was me thinking edu­ca­tion was all about listening to what other people had to say in order to rein­force or refute your current under­standing. At the very least, they could have let the comment stay and responded to it with a well reasoned argu­ment about why I’m wrong. A pretty poor show, overall.

Blog Commenting In General

Com­menting on blogs is a great idea if you have a site or blog of your own. The majority of blogs allow you to leave your URL along with your comment, allowing vis­itors to click through to your site, par­tic­u­larly if you have some­thing inter­esting to say. Unfor­tu­nately for this reason, a comment system is subject to a lot of spam, but plugins for your blog can help stop those. This blog gets tonnes of spam com­ments from unre­lated sites, but inter­est­ingly, I do get the ocas­sional legal highs site in there. It’s just a shame that they leave the same spammy message on mul­tiple blog posts that add nothing to the dis­cus­sion. As a result, they end up being marked as spam not only by me, but any sub­sequent blog that uses this plugin! Nex­t­Gen­Buzz & SalviaSo­ciety are two examples — their aggressive spam tactics have ended up not only being a waste of time, but actu­ally hurting their site’s repu­ta­tion. Great going, guys!

Competition Winner

This week’s Hyp­notic Pills winner is BFitzpatric! Please email me back or comment on this post before May 9th to claim your prize. Also, last week’s winner never got in touch, so I still have one more pack to give away! For details on how these can be yours, check out this post.

Oh, and it was my birthday yes­terday. Huzzah!

6 Responses to Educators Don't Want To Listen

  1. Ken says:

    Ha !! Edu­cators? How can they educate if they don’t research (use) legal highs?

    They have no basis to even present an opinion or evidence.

    On the other hand, chil­dren should not be using these entheo­gens. They are not spir­itu­ally, soul­fully, bodily, mind­fully in a place to use any psychaotive. Unless of course, the edu­cators would guide them correctly.

    But this isn’t going to happen because the edu­cators live in fear and darkness.

    In ancient times and even in some current soci­eties these botan­icals are an everyday way of life. Even there the elders guide the young (teen­agers) through a rite of passage into becoming an adult with knowledge.

  2. Andrew Brown says:

    Hi John, sorry to have annoyed you by not pub­lishing your comment. I did think long and hard about it, and should have emailed you to explain why I didn’t, so sorry for that too.

    Really it wasn’t the content of your comment that I found objec­tion­able — if you took a look around at our blog you’ll have seen that there are many, many more stories about alcohol and tobacco than there have been about legal highs.

    What I thought when I came to take a (brief) look at your site was that it was part of an attempt to market legal highs and as such I was wary of pub­lishing your comment.

    You may not agree with my reas­oning, but given you’ve clearly been annoyed I thought I should at least rectify my mistake of not con­tacting you privately to let you know why I took that decision.

  3. Synchronium says:

    Hi Andrew, thanks for getting in touch.

    Glad to hear your had no objec­tions to what I actu­ally said. I did have a look around your site at the time and noticed a lot on alcohol and tobacco, but then again, the above quote wasn’t your own words, but those of Drug­Scope, which is why I didn’t think you’d have a problem with my comment when I posted it.

    I’m still won­dering though why this site would be inap­pro­priate for your readers? The overall content of this blog isn’t a cheap mar­keting trick, but rather my hobby — I write about what I do because I think what I do is pretty inter­esting. While my latest post on kratom for example has a few products at the end, I wouldn’t call a phar­ma­co­lo­gical dis­cus­sion of the active alkal­oids a great selling tool. In fact, those kind of topics are prob­ably what limits my audi­ence to adults only, much like the topics that you cover do. If that’s the case, I’m sure you wouldn’t advise against any of your respons­ible adult readers from vis­iting the pub, so I don’t really see a dif­fer­ence with allowing them to visit my site. At least some of them might find some decent inform­a­tion about “legal high” topics here — I doubt you’d get such a detailed account of a pint of Guin­ness down at your local.

    Still, it’s your blog, and you reserve the right to link to whatever you like. For­tu­nately, for us humble Word­Press users, the “Edit” link above every comment allows you to remove the link, leaving the comment in place, further facil­it­ating dis­cus­sion. Might be some­thing to con­sider next time?

    Cheers.

  4. Spaced out says:

    Lol XD

  5. JustWondering says:

    If you like to com­plain about the com­menting, why not learn how to use htaccess?

  6. Synchronium says:

    What’s htacess got to do with anything?

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