By Mike Willis
A government promoted campaign to curb drug abuse has reached into most cities and towns in America. Its message has been aimed at children, educating them regarding the dangers of drugs and exhorting them to say “no” to drug abuse. I am encouraged by the program because it is based on sound fundamental truths.
Presumptions of the Program
1. The program presumes that individuals must accept personal responsibility for their actions. In emphasizing that drug abuse can be controlled by the individual saying “no,” the program encourages individuals to take personal responsibility for their conduct. Each person is responsible for what he chooses to do.
2. The program presumes free-will. The program presumes that man has the ability to choose to use or not to use drugs. Each person is able to choose not to use drugs. There is no fatalistic, deterministic, beyond one’s control drive that forces one to choose to use drugs.
These presuppositions are sound and the program will work – it will inform children of the dangers of drug abuse and encourage them to choose not to use drugs. Not every child will choose to say “no” to drugs. Some children will use drugs, although they are informed of the dangers of drug abuse. However, the program presumes that most young people will choose to say “no” to drugs when they are properly informed of its dangers.
Will It Work In Other Areas?
As I have watched the enthusiasm with which this program is being received, I have wondered why other, similar programs cannot be started. Here are some sample proposals:
1. Just Say “No ” to Tobacco. We have been encouraged by Surgeon General C. Everrett Koop to curb tobacco use. Why not take that program into the grade schools and push it like we are pushing “just say ‘no’ to drugs”? Already some of this work has been done with good success.
2. Just Say “No” to Alcohol. Why not begin a similar program that is aimed, not at controlling drinking of alcoholic beverages, but at saying “no” to alcohol? Why not teach our children to totally abstain from this drug? We could raise a generation of sober citizens who did not slaughter each other on the highways while under the influence of alcohol. Instead of teaching our children “how” to drink, why not teach them to say “no” to alcohol?
Someone says, “This will never work.” Yet this is exactly the program which is used after a person admits that he is an alcoholic! The program is proven to work with alcoholics; why shouldn’t it work with those who are not alcoholics? If the program “just say ‘no’ to alcohol” will work after a person becomes an alcoholic, why not teach our young to “just say ‘no’ to alcohol” before they become alcoholics?
3. Just Say “No” Fornication. Instead of spending tax dollars to send Planned Parenthood representatives into the schools to teach children that there are no moral absolutes regarding sexual practice, how to use condoms and receive free birth control pills, and where to get an abortion, why not organize a program which teaches children the danger of pre-marital and extra-marital sex (venereal disease, illegitimate babies, AIDS, etc.) and teach them to say “no” to sex outside the marriage bed. Already I can hear the liberal establishment saying, “That will never work. Teenagers will experiment with sex.” Some children will, just like some children will choose to say “yes” to drugs despite all of the efforts to discourage its use. That should not deter us from teaching them to say “no” to fornication and adultery anymore than the fact that some will choose to use drugs should discourage us from encouraging young people to say “no” to drugs.
The very ones who criticize a “just say ‘no… program regarding fornication will resort to this very program after a diagnosis of venereal disease. Once a person is identified as a carrier of venereal disease, he is counseled, “Just say “no” to sex.” If the program will work after venereal disease has been diagnosed, why not use it before it has been diagnosed?
Can you imagine the impact a drug program would have if it were conducted like the Planned Parenthood organization conducts its sex education program? The program would say, “There are no moral absolutes about drug use. Each person must decide whether he chooses to use drugs or not. There are some dangers to using heroin, uppers, downers, etc., but clean drug use is innocent, stimulating, and safe. It you need clean needles for drug use, you can receive them at Planned Drug Use Clinics. If you want help in overcoming the harmful effects of drug use, you can stop in at the Planned Drug Use Clinic and receive your help. By all means, however, do not allow anyone to impose their moral standards on you regarding drug use.” Would you be happy with federal dollars funding such a clinic? We have that already in sex education – Planned Parenthood.
4. Just Say “No” to Homosexuality. Why not initiate a program which teaches that homosexuality is wrong, what its harmful effects are, and encourage young people to say “no” to homosexuality? People are responsible for their actions and have the ability to choose to abstain from homosexuality. Why not begin a program which encourages responsible humans to abstain from homosexuality before they get AIDS? That is exactly the program which is encouraged after they get AIDS. If it will work after they get AIDS, why won’t it work before they get AIDS?
Just maybe the time has come for personal responsibility to be emphasized in our society. Maybe our government has accidentally stumbled onto a program on drug abuse which they will apply in other areas as well. Maybe this program will change the thinking that releases drunkards from personal responsibility by saying that they have a disease called “alcoholism,” releases criminals from personal responsibility by the defense of “temporary insanity,” and releases homosexuals from personal responsibility by saying that they were genetically programmed to be homosexual.
Then, if this can be applied to these social problems, maybe we can persuade some of our Congressmen to “just say ‘no'” to fraud, embezzlement, influence peddling, womanizing, etc. Now, let’s not get too carried away. We may be able to persuade our children to “just say ‘no’ to drugs” but who can believe that we can persuade our Congressman to “just say ‘no'”?
Guardian of Truth XXXIII: 18, pp. 546, 565
September 21, 1989