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November 2003
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Three approaches to education…

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bullet imageNew Bedford, Massachusetts: Mayor, White House discuss solutions. Mayor Frederick M. Kalisz Jr. has really gotten in bed with the Drug Czar, including developing a plan for volunteer drug testing of all middle and high school students. (Of course, the voluntary part would not actually mean that it would be voluntary to the students, but just to their parents, and it’s assumed the funding would come from tax funds.)

In a telephone conversation last week, John P. Walters told the mayor that personnel would be dispatched to work with the city in finding ways to aggressively deal with New Bedford’s serious drug problems.

In addition to working with the Drug Czar on testing kids, the Mayor has had a relationship with Walters in a number of ways, including extablishing a new DEA office (soon to expand) and other programs.
I think I can cross New Bedford off my list of places to live.
bullet imagePolk County, Florida: Polk County school district receives federal grant to begin drug testing
All High School athletes will now have to pass a drug test before competing. The $250,000 project is funded by the Department of Education.
Get this: the program will test athletes for marijuana use, but not performance enhancing drugs like steroids. (Apparently the steroid test is too expensive.) What lunacy!
Wouldn’t it be nice if the Department of Education would give a school district $250,000 for books?
bullet imageFreeport, Illinois: Freeport to participate in nationwide study: Youth problems to be addressed through prevention; leaders to work in broad-based group.
The difference here is this program (part of Communities that Care), appears to take the approach of targeted plans to meet the needs of a particular community’s youth, including developing programs that get young people involved in positive activities (as a partial method of preventing drug use, teen pregnancy, etc.). It’s also not run by the federal government.
Now I’m not very familiar with this program, other than what I’ve read on the web (I’d love to hear from someone with first-hand knowledge), but it seems to me at first glance that this is an approach that makes some sense (certainly more valuable than drug testing!)

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