Friday, September 12, 2008

Making Abstinence Work

I was reading an article writen by Marsha Rosenbaum and Jennifer Kern titled "Whether It's Drugs, Or Sex, Abstinence Only Education Simply Doesn't Work". I believe the article makes some good points about the need for prevention education based on science rather than "scare tactics" or morality. What the article is alluding to is "Harm Reduction", an approach that is found more frequently in treatment. The concern that I have is that not all adolescents fall into the category of "abusers" or "are experimenting."

There are a lot of kids out there who have passed the point of abuse and are addicted physically as well as psychologically. The drugs today are more potent. As opposed to the "stinkweed" in the sixties, the pot is now more potent and is causing psychosis and cognitive impairment. Some people cross the line into addiction and absolutely need to abstain. The key is how it is framed and presented. Mixing kids who have barely experimented with the kids who are using daily is as ineffective as the traditional abstinence only approach. I guess what I'm saying is that treatment has to be individualized and not be a cookie cutter approach.

Dan Stone, MSW, LCSW, LISAC, CT
Marketing Representative
Cottonwood de Tucson
4110 W. Sweetwater Drive
Tucson, AZ 85745
(800) 877-4520
http://www.cottonwoodrecovery.com/

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