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Yes on 'Just Say No'

June 26, 1988

In the May 24 issue of your paper, an article--" 'Just Say No' Not Enough, State Panel on Alcohol, Drugs Is Told"--described some of the testimony given to the Governor's Policy Council on Drug and Alcohol Abuse. I have no problem with the information contained in the article. I do, however, have serious reservations about the way the information was presented.

I happen to chair the Just Say No Steering Committee of San Diego, a volunteer organization, whose purpose is to promote the "Just Say No" program throughout the county to benefit elementary school-aged children. Our program has definitely taken wings and is growing stronger each day. It is for this reason that I am writing. Your title " 'Just Say No' Not Enough . . .," presents such a negative connotation to the reader and does not represent the overwhelming positive strides made by the "Just Say No" program in this county.

The program has been used, given interpretations and misrepresented in so many ways that I don't think that the writer of this article, Dr. Xylina D. Bean (who testified at the hearing) or the general public is capable of giving any educated criticism.

"Just Say No" is a program that is very closely supervised and teaches children that there are alternatives to using drugs.

Dr. Bean is quoted as saying, "We must give children something else to say 'yes' to." I contend that "Just Say No" does that and more. Furthermore, we teach them how to say "no," giving them tools to use when the situation presents itself.

The concept is simple. The practice and skill of saying "no" is something else. And what's even more spectacular is that this program is not state or federally funded but is run through the time and donations of good people who care.

"Just Say No" may not be the ultimate solution to the drug problem now facing this nation. However, "Just Say No" is part of the solution and not part of the problem.

MICHAEL K. McCLOSKEY

San Diego

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