Since the creation of Enfance Sans Drogue nearly 15 years ago, we have acquired a very good knowledge of the "terrain". Indeed, we have received many testimonies from parents and young people about the consequences of using drugs and on the motivations of teenagers to take drugs.
We can testify there is a gap between what politicians, media and "specialists" want us to believe and the reality. Hence, for example, we can firmly state that drugs touch every social background, from children of divorced parents to children of couples who do not have relationship problems, to children whose mother works outside of the home or at home, girls as well as boys, families with many children as well as families with one or two children, children who go to private schools as well as those who go to state-funded schools...
The advantage of Enfance Sans Drogue is that we all have in common love for young people. We only want their happiness and their well-being. We are totally free to help them because they are not in any case, or for any one of us, a "client"
We know the reasons why our children are liable to take drugs – naturally, we talk here about youth who have usual "problems" for their age, which is a majority, and not about youth who are unwell.
Thus we can fight efficiently, for it is a question of making a decision. If each parent, mother or father, takes the decision to fight efficiently against the consumption of drugs for his children, he will fulfill his educative task in this field.
The State will also have to take its responsibility, which we asked Dominique de Villepin, French First Minister, to do in an open letter in December, 2005. Today we have to warn our children about many things. The obvious advantage with drugs is that after a few hours training, everyone is capable of doing an effective prevention with their children. It really is worth it! Good information greatly reduces the risk of a teenager taking drugs. If a child is properly informed before he confronts the product, he will be in a stronger position to refuse.
What are these reasons?
The trivializing of products: some say that cannabis is a "soft" drug... Some adults, some spheres, not to speak of some parents, are wonderful at spreading this kind of nonsense.
Lies of the media: they take part in this misinformation and perpetuate it. The emphasis is more on the culture of the "party" or "recreational" joint, on how it is consumed (alone or in groups), rather than on saying that the product is inherently dangerous, be it consumed alone, in a group, by a minor or an adult.
Parents lack objective and scientific information on the products. Can we name an official organization that currently speaks truthfully about these products? As long as our children are not informed in a scientific way, they are an easy prey for disinformation.
A teenager is naturally influenced by others. We all know a teenager is not an adult. He wants to be like everyone else. Nowadays he is frequently offered drugs, he is attracted by the group's attitude, it is so much easier to go along with the group. Look at your children: they always want to dress like their friends. They will want to show their navel or their boxers... This is a fashion phenomenon. They want to imitate other youth and be different from adults. It is the same thing for drugs –unfortunately with different consequences.
Why do you accept a pre-dinner drink or a glass of wine when you are invited to a friend's house for dinner? Is it to get away from your problems? Most of the time, it is only because it is nice to drink some good wine with a good meal. At the beginning, a young person takes some cannabis, which is a gateway to other drugs, for the same reason: to have fun, to get high, to have a laugh. Then he will go further, he will take some to feel better, he will not be able to live without it and will look forward to being stoned.
Are youth who take drugs (initially to have fun) ill? NO, drugs are fashionable: they are "cool", nice, "not up tight", young, trendy...
Your children will refuse drugs because:
You will teach them that drugs are a lethal trap
You will give them truthful arguments on the decay and destruction caused by these products that they will be able to observe themselves.
Unfortunately, even being trained and having correctly informed our children, we cannot be 100% sure that they will refuse drugs. A minority will be tempted by it, but we will have given every opportunity to our child and will not have abandoned to others the indispensable education needed by our children to survive in today's society.
One last thing: we have to stay completely truthful. Only accuracy and truth shall arm our children against the poisons of the body and mind.
Sophie Pélissié du Rausas
Member Organization of Make Mothers Matter, granted General Consultative Status by the United Nations.