A week or so ago, I heard this very interesting interview on one of my favorite progressive talk radio shows, The Ed Schultz Show. He is a self professed, "meat eating, gun toting lefty" and his show, on our Air America affiliate, is a daily must listen for me.
He featured something called Project 7th Grade, sponsored by notMYkid.org.
Who are they?
"At notMYkid, we inspire positive life choices by educating our community about the consequences of destructive youth behaviors. Young adults who have overcome life-controlling addictions and behaviors share their personal stories with middle and high school students. In an effort to promote our prevention message we educate adults on the same addictions and destructive behaviors. Our goal is to increase awareness of the challenges kids face, provide information and offer resources to support the success of students, families and educators."
Project 7th Grade is a program that targets the 7th grade age group specifically and their parents with information and some "scared straight" real life stories. AND, they give FREE drug tests kits to parents to use or "threaten" to use on their kids. The theory being that you get to them before the real drug use and experimentation occurs. I guess that is 7th grade? Yikes!
This pretty much blew my mind. Me and Ed and many of the listeners had a real issue with this. Do you want to have that kind of relationship with your kid? No trust, just piss in this cup? This is a real hard one. What do you think? Honestly, I have very mixed feelings.
The founder made a good argument that it was a conversation starter and it hopefully it was a threat that would never have to be executed. Perhaps the test kit sits on the shelf as a reminder, perhaps the kid is approached to try drugs and it acts as a deterrent or an easy excuse in a peer pressure situation, "My parents will piss test me, I can't." He said that by the time he realized that his kid was using, he was addicted and, in a way, it was too late. It would be a lot easier to make sure the kid doesn't get addicted in the first place.
Recently I heard a story about a high school kid here on Vashon who was working at our little small town drug store/pharmacy and stealing Oxycontin and other pain killers out of people's prescriptions and selling them at school. Word has it there is at least one kid who is in re-hab right now because of their addiction to these pills. All this in bucolic little Vashon.
I am beginning to feel like a real dynosaur. When I was a kid, I did plenty of experimentation. There were keggers in the woods and I smoked my share of "wacky tabacky". But, hard drugs, not so much. I tried coke, mushrooms, even a little LSD. I didn't like it, I wasn't plugged into that scene, I didn't want to feel "out of control". Also, I saw some people self-destruct and I didn't want that for my life.
But, now a days, we have people cooking up batches of Meth in the woods. We have middle and high school students addicted to pharmaceuticals; beer and pot seem almost quaint in comparison. Am I a hypocrit? I feel tempted to get one of these drug tests to just set on my shelf. I envision the conversation going something like this:
"Honey, dad and I trust you and will always love you and stand by you. But, as you get older there will be people, friends and acquaintances who will try to get you to try things. Some of these things are dangerous, highly addictive and could really hurt you. Most of it is illegal and you could go to jail. Sometimes drug abuse can kill people or ruin their lives, young people like you. You might get pressured, kids saying you aren't cool if you don't try it. You know better. You are strong and smart. You know that what someone thinks doesn't have anything to do with who you are. But if you need an excuse, tell them your crazy mother will drug test you and that you can't risk it."
Ok, there it is, my hypocrisy in full display. Will my kid roll her eyes and count the minutes so that she can text her friend about what a drag I am? Probably. Will she hear what I am saying? Will she be mad and rebel? Who knows, one can only pray.