Government must take more decisive action in drugs war

PUBLISHED : Monday, 11 September, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 11 September, 2000, 12:00am

I write in support of Lauren Tanner's letter headlined, 'Rave on, but achieve nothing', (South China Morning Post, August 29).

She is right in saying that instead of simply printing warnings on entry tickets to raves, the Government must take more decisive action in addressing the problem of drug abuse in young people.

The current methods, where young people are simply told in various ways that they should not use drugs, are obviously not working, as indicated by the increasing number of young drug users. Ms Tanner points out that people make conscious, if mistaken, choices to take drugs: this is true and the Government ought to act upon this fact. That is, the Government should direct resources towards distributing accurate and non-judgmental information about drugs and drug use to young people so that they can make informed choices about drug use.

This approach definitely has its benefits and has been proven to be effective in other countries, such as Britain. One benefit is that for those who ultimately choose to use drugs - a situation which is unfortunately inevitable - the dangers they are exposed to are reduced, though of course not by any means eliminated.

The second and most important advantage of this approach is that the intelligence of teenagers would be respected, since unlike young children who are more likely to simply follow instructions, they want to understand the facts behind a certain decision they make.

Moreover, if the Government and other adults treat them in this way, they in turn are more likely to respect these figures of authority.

The Government can do even more to prevent the occurrence of drug abuse and other such societal problems involving young people that eventually need public money to solve. The key to this is to make comprehensive and co-ordinated efforts that treat young people as having potential, rather than being a problem. The Government, and indeed all sectors of society, need to create an environment where young people are respected, nurtured, allowed to enjoy themselves, and presented with opportunities to develop, as well as to contribute to society. The Government claims to be committed to such ideals, but there is little evidence to show the effectiveness of its fragmented efforts.

The Government has much to do at all levels to ensure the well-being of Hong Kong's youth and children. Half-hearted, superficial attempts such as printing warnings on admission tickets, will not solve any of the numerous problems facing young people today.


Citizens Party