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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?


  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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