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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Wednesday 23 October 2013

Is PDFC On Crack?

Where to begin?
The Partnership for a Drug Free Canada (PDFC) is all about helping parents talk sense to their kids about the use and abuse of drugs.  When has rank condescension ever worked as a means for positively influencing teenage behaviour?  We live in an age where teens are as disenfranchised about the system and the competence of their leaders as those in the 60s were.  You know, the baby boomer generation - the ones now in charge that are doing a bang-up job managing the long-term sustainability of our democratic society.
But that's not the part that's truly embarrassing for the PDFC. 
Look at that ad.  "Hey, parents, you gotta keep your prescription meds away from those irresponsible teens, who might take them the way you do."
When we have politicians being pulled over for DUIs and a mayor who stands reasonably accused of abusing several drugs, including crack cocaine; when we have Oxycodone addictions and anti-depressants/stress meds being popped like vitamins, where do these folk get off stigmatizing youth as irresponsible?  What example is being set?
Of course, I'm sure this misses the whole point of the PDFC; adults are rational actors, unless they're lefties, eco-nuts or crazy people, in which case they don't count anyway, right?  I would suggest the brains behind PDFC's content look up "cognitive dissonance." 
Funny enough, Canada has a mental health crisis brimming with accumulated illnesses like anxiety and depression.  Parents and kids alike are using drugs as emotional band-aids, deliberately altering their feelings to block out environmentally-impacted discomfort.
Yes, you can say that generations of yore didn't rely on drugs to get through their day - they also didn't ride on subways or work in cubicles.  They lived shorter lives.  We have to get past the myth of the superhuman ancestor - recycling old tales only serves to perpetuate the generational divide.
The PDFC did get one thing right, though - teens, like all people, respond well to being talked with about concerns.  Note I wrote talked with, not talked to.  This isn't about parents ordering their kids about like they were employees, minions existing for the sole purpose of taking orders from the boss.  It's about building two-way relationships built on trust, respect and understanding.
I do believe there's a trend in this direction out there these days.  So to is a growing realization that maybe the system is having a deleterious effect on people and therefore, might be due for an upgrade.
Not that I expect the PDFC to take note - that'd be too much like committing sociology.  They're more likely to find new people and positions to rail against than they are to engage in a bit of introspection. 
But then, you'd have to be on crack to deny the obvious like that, wouldn't you?

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