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Taking Good Advice on Bad Drugs

April 15, 2002

Along the lines of psychiatrist Julie Holland's "Teaching Young People Safe X Beats Just Saying No" (Commentary, April 10), perhaps public service announcements should give practical advice on how to drive while intoxicated. Let's face it, you can tell people not to drive while drunk, but this only tempts them even more. We need to adopt a more enlightened approach. When driving drunk, drive slowly. Try to stay in your lane. Try not to pass out while you are waiting for the light to turn green. Avoid hitting other vehicles.

Ecstasy is just a bad drug. It may not kill you if taken in smaller doses, but the risk of long-term depression, panic attacks, other psychiatric disorders and reduced memory capability are reasons enough to stay away from this drug.

Andrew Koines

Irvine

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I applaud Holland's efforts to keep children safe. Though the thought of one's children taking Ecstasy--or any other drug, for that matter (over-the-counter and prescription drugs included)--can be frightening, the thought of harm or even death is worse.

Teenagers will ultimately make their own decisions, and the best path is to teach them how to stay as safe as possible. Sensationalism and scare tactics do not work. Honesty does.

Julie Ruckel

Program Associate

Drug Policy Alliance

San Francisco

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On one hand, educating kids about Ecstasy may help save young lives. On the other hand, by teaching kids about Ecstasy and what the safest way to take it is, we are accepting it and sending the wrong message to our youth. When kids read these guidelines on how to take the drug they will think that it is safe to take as long as they follow the instructions.

Once someone is under the influence of this drug, he or she is in no condition to accurately follow the guidelines. Teaching kids about safe sex should not be compared to teaching kids about how to use drugs. Sex is not against the law nor is it wrong. Under no circumstances is it acceptable to take Ecstasy.

George Spadier

Chatsworth

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