Controversial Drug Awareness Campaign

Playing Safety Manual for Taking Illicit Drugs?

The phrase, “Knowledge is power” holds true in most cases, but can too much information on certain subjects lead to dangerous or deadly consequences? A new drug awareness and safety pamphlet titled “Snapfacts” was distributed to students at James Gillespie’s High School in Marchmont, Edinburgh to help combat the rising number of teen deaths from drug overdoses.

Created by the Edinburgh council and the city's Drug and Alcohol Project, the credit card-sized manual contains straightforward statements about the dangers of drugs and alcohol, as well as tips for practicing safe sex; however, it also provides specific instructions on how to safely take illicit drugs, including advice on snorting cocaine, popping pills and smoking marijuana.

The booklet, which is aimed at students as young as 13, has sparked controversy and concern among certain parents and city and health officials, who believe that the no-holds-barred approach is sending the wrong message to a very impressionable age group.

While The Doctors agree that teens need to be educated about sex and drugs, they, too, question the particular delivery method of the campaign. “It’s way too benign looking,” ER physician Dr. Travis Stork says. “It needs to be more threatening.” Dr. Travis also takes issue with the booklet failing to include warning statements about how certain drugs can cause sudden death after the first use.

“That’s the problem with the campaign,” plastic surgeon Dr. Andrew Ordon adds. “They’re not starting with the No. 1 tip: Just don’t do it. A step towards more education is a step in the right direction, but do it in the right way.”

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