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Opinion discussion: How do you feel about public schools distributing


Quill
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12 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

Ok.  That's great.  We have all agreed that comprehensive programs are great.

 

A poster specifically said that leaving fishbowls of condoms in bathrooms costs nothing.

I said schools have to do more than that if they want to be effective so the cost is more than just the cost of leaving condoms in fishbowls

Another poster said (as I just did above) that we all agree that comprehensive programs are good so why do I keep bringing it up

I explained that I am bringing it up because the idea that condoms in fishbowls cost nothing, and that I am pointing out comprehensive programs cost more than just putting condoms in fishbowls.  Comprehensive programs don't "cost nothing" so no, I don't support a "costs nothing" program that statistics show isn't effective.

I also however said I support comprehensive programs, regardless of condoms in fishbowls or not.  I was specifically addressing the idea that condoms in fishbowls cost nothing.  Sure, it's the cheap easy thing to do.  But the actual solution, the comprehensive program, doesn't "cost nothing."  We can't argue for an effective solution as if it "costs nothing."  

 

 

 

(in regards to "don't have to spend money on a new curriculum".....If the system is still using the same curriculum and materials that they started with in the 70s.....I think that might be a problem.  I would hope that the system has spent money updating the curriculum and materials on a regular basis.)

Of course they aren’t using the same curriculum as they were in 1970. 

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As a Canadian, I don’t look for solutions that retain a maximum-practical level of personal responsibility for choices and “consequences” — especially not when one person’s “consequence” actually turns out to be another actual person and citizen.

Instead, I’m in favour not only of comprehensive sex ed and free condoms with unobserved access in schools — but also access to condoms for everyone of all ages: in public health clinics, during / after (free) doctor visits, and at any other venues that make sense. I’m also in favour of complete, accessible and free women’s healthcare, parenting assistance, and other services for pregnancy, and the for the many needs of children who might experience unsteady scenarios through childhood. As citizens, I believe children should be entitled to that kind of family-based support: as much as is needed.

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32 minutes ago, Caroline said:

The Howard County Maryland school system has had comprehensive sex education since at least the 1970’s. (I went to school there. I recently met with a couple of health teachers from middle schools and high school there. It’s comprehensive.) Also, in the 1980’s there were condoms in the schools

Interesting. I would like to know when and under what circumstances it was quit, such that it is now being reinstated. It also must have been after my husband was graduated as I have never heard of this program having been there before, but he did graduate in ‘81, so presumably it was in place after that time. (I should ask his younger siblings about it.) 

I have no doubts it is comprehensive, though. Then and now. 

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2 minutes ago, bolt. said:

As a Canadian, I don’t look for solutions that retain a maximum-practical level of personal responsibility for choices and “consequences” — especially not when one person’s “consequence” actually turns out to be another actual person and citizen.

Instead, I’m in favour not only of comprehensive sex ed and free condoms with unobserved access in schools — but also access to condoms for everyone of all ages: in public health clinics, during / after (free) doctor visits, and at any other venues that make sense. I’m also in favour of complete, accessible and free women’s healthcare, parenting assistance, and other services for pregnancy, and the for the many needs of children who might experience unsteady scenarios through childhood. As citizens, I believe children should be entitled to that kind of family-based support: as much as is needed.

Well there is a point on which we would agree. 

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6 hours ago, happysmileylady said:

The problem is when that is ALL the schools do.  Schools need to do MORE than leave out fishbowls of condoms in order to be effective.  And that is where the real expense comes in.  But studies linked earlier show that if all schools do is leave condoms out (which yes costs nothing and is easier) it actually has the opposite effect.  If schools want to leave out fishbowls of condoms, they have to commit to having additional programs in place for education in order to be effective.  Which of course makes one wonder....is it the education program effective without the fishbowls of condoms?

Are there schools that have fishbowls of condoms, but no health courses that cover responsible sexual/non-sexual behavior?

I ask because if a high school does not have sex education classes, it's usually because parents do not want it, so I can't imagine then having the fishbowl.

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46 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

So they are regularly spending money on updated curriculum then, correct?

The thing is, studies have been done on free condom access without the factor of comprehensive programs and it INCREASED rates of teen pregnancies and STDs.  IOW, free for all condoms, without the additional factor (and cost) of the comprehensive program became part of the problem instead of part of the solution.  I am absolutely in favor of a comprehensive program, with or without condom access....adding condom access TO the comprehensive program doesn't add much to the cost of the comprehensive program so having that access is irrelevant to me.  But if we are going to support free condom access in schools, what we ACTUALLY have to support is comprehensive programs *with* condom access...not just "costs nothing" condom access.  Because effective programs don't "cost nothing," even if condoms "cost nothing."

 

 

I wasn't aware that comprehensive sex ed was uncommon, so I was thinking in terms of 'adding free condoms' to schools that were already covering a normal curriculum. I think it's my different cultural context that led me to suppose that comprehensive sex ed was the norm. (America is so strange to me in a lot of ways: it's just so "normal" that it's totally familiar 99% of the time, and then, out of nowhere, there's a cultural difference that I totally wasn't expecting.)

I agree that wherever schools aren't teaching genuine sex ed, that would definitely be a problem to solve first. I wouldn't expect free condoms to be terribly useful to students who lack the information to manage their own sexual decisions in the first place.

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1 hour ago, happysmileylady said:

So they are regularly spending money on updated curriculum then, correct?

The thing is, studies have been done on free condom access without the factor of comprehensive programs and it INCREASED rates of teen pregnancies and STDs.  IOW, free for all condoms, without the additional factor (and cost) of the comprehensive program became part of the problem instead of part of the solution.  I am absolutely in favor of a comprehensive program, with or without condom access....adding condom access TO the comprehensive program doesn't add much to the cost of the comprehensive program so having that access is irrelevant to me.  But if we are going to support free condom access in schools, what we ACTUALLY have to support is comprehensive programs *with* condom access...not just "costs nothing" condom access.  Because effective programs don't "cost nothing," even if condoms "cost nothing."

 

 

Thanks for your explanation. That makes your point much clearer to me.

 

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I want lots and lots of sex ed, at lots and lots of levels.  And sure....free condoms available.  Let's remove all the barriers we can to consequences of poor decision making.  But I want to point out something from awhile back.  We are in a sex recession.  Kids are having a lot less sex than they used to, which is great!  And the norm when they do have sex is to do it in the context of relationships.  But....they change relationships fairly frequently.  High school monogamy is not like marriage.  

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29 minutes ago, bolt. said:

I wasn't aware that comprehensive sex ed was uncommon, so I was thinking in terms of 'adding free condoms' to schools that were already covering a normal curriculum. I think it's my different cultural context that led me to suppose that comprehensive sex ed was the norm. (America is so strange to me in a lot of ways: it's just so "normal" that it's totally familiar 99% of the time, and then, out of nowhere, there's a cultural difference that I totally wasn't expecting.)

I agree that wherever schools aren't teaching genuine sex ed, that would definitely be a problem to solve first. I wouldn't expect free condoms to be terribly useful to students who lack the information to manage their own sexual decisions in the first place.

 

The US government spends at least $2 billion a year supporting abstinence-only education programs. While the number of teen pregnancies is going down, we still have among the highest rates in the developed word, as well as for STIs.

  • 24 states and the District of Columbia require public schools teach sex education (21 of which mandate sex education and HIV education).
  • 33 states and the District of Columbia require students receive instruction about HIV/AIDS.
  • 20 states require that if provided, sex and/or HIV education must be medically, factually or technically accurate. State definitions of “medically accurate" vary, from requiring that the department of health review curriculum for accuracy, to mandating that curriculum be based on information from “published authorities upon which medical http://www.ncsl.org/research/health/state-policies-on-sex-education-in-schools.aspx

When sex ed is taught, 37 states require that abstinence information be required. 26 states require that it be emphasized.

There are 11 states that have no sex or HIV education mandate. Five of those states rank in the top 6 for the highest number of teen pregnancies.

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5 hours ago, Quill said:

Having them available does not equate to their use. 

Also, we are ignoring that there are reasons some people do not use condoms beyond not having the money or the ability to get them. A lot of young women even want to have babies and do not care if there is no dad. I remember once, in a college class when the professor asked a young black man why he thinks the incidence of fatherless children in the poor black communities was such a problem, he indicated that if he were to meet an attractive young black woman in her twenties who did not yet have a baby, he would wonder what was the matter with her. 

ETA: changed the wording because someone was concerned I was mocking a black man

 

Of course not, but the same objection could be made to a million government programs.

Cultural traditions that encourage irresponsible behavior are one of the reasons we have free basic universal education.  Having the education available doesn't mean people will become educated. At this point it's pretty obvious people can have great educations on paper, amazing advisors, and still say and do really stupid things (not getting political here, there have recently been stunning examples on both sides of the aisle).

At this point I think the most successful program has been Colorado's, which started a program to end teen pregnancy by providing free long term birth control to teen girls. I think it's either the implant or an IUD.  It's been astoundingly effective. Teen pregnancy rates have plummeted. I'd be thrilled if that was universal. I'd even be thrilled if it was also offered in every doctors visit to every teen girl, so even the ones in super sheltered home school environments could have a discussion about what REALLY IS NORMAL and how they should make responsible decisions with their sexual needs rather than refuse to make any plans because planning would be a sin.

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7 minutes ago, Katy said:

 

Of course not, but the same objection could be made to a million government programs.

Cultural traditions that encourage irresponsible behavior are one of the reasons we have free basic universal education.  Having the education available doesn't mean people will become educated. At this point it's pretty obvious people can have great educations on paper, amazing advisors, and still say and do really stupid things (not getting political here, there have recently been stunning examples on both sides of the aisle).

At this point I think the most successful program has been Colorado's, which started a program to end teen pregnancy by providing free long term birth control to teen girls. I think it's either the implant or an IUD.  It's been astoundingly effective. Teen pregnancy rates have plummeted. I'd be thrilled if that was universal. I'd even be thrilled if it was also offered in every doctors visit to every teen girl, so even the ones in super sheltered home school environments could have a discussion about what REALLY IS NORMAL and how they should make responsible decisions with their sexual needs rather than refuse to make any plans because planning would be a sin.

 

That Colorado study absolutely rocked! Long term birth control was also made available to low-income women and the results were equally good. I believe Colorado figured out that the program would have paid for itself (it was a private donation)and then some.

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9 minutes ago, Katy said:

 

Of course not, but the same objection could be made to a million government programs.

Cultural traditions that encourage irresponsible behavior are one of the reasons we have free basic universal education.  Having the education available doesn't mean people will become educated. At this point it's pretty obvious people can have great educations on paper, amazing advisors, and still say and do really stupid things (not getting political here, there have recently been stunning examples on both sides of the aisle).

At this point I think the most successful program has been Colorado's, which started a program to end teen pregnancy by providing free long term birth control to teen girls. I think it's either the implant or an IUD.  It's been astoundingly effective. Teen pregnancy rates have plummeted. I'd be thrilled if that was universal. I'd even be thrilled if it was also offered in every doctors visit to every teen girl, so even the ones in super sheltered home school environments could have a discussion about what REALLY IS NORMAL and how they should make responsible decisions with their sexual needs rather than refuse to make any plans because planning would be a sin.

I am in favor of the availability of free long term birth control for girls, but I would not ever be in favor of doctors giving it to/implanting it in minors without parental consent. There’s a whole lotta not-okay about that to me. 

AFAIK, doctors for regular physicals of teen girls do ask about sexual activity (also boys) during the time when the parents are out of the room. Well, they do here, anyway. They also ask about a lot of other stuff that I think is invasive, but I guess I can see where it’s meant to red-flag for abuse or suicidal ideation. 🤷🏻‍♀️ I’m not sure every teen is honest about anyof these things, including sexual activity, even if mom is not in the room. 

Here’s a funny side note: when I was a teen, I was super-sick for several months and the doctor was going to prescribe antibiotics. He asked me, with my mom present, if I was on birth control pills. I truthfully answered no. But my mom was very aggitated and in the car on the way home she said in a fit of temper, “The reason he asked if you are on birth control is because the antibiotics can interfere with it and you can GET PREGNANT!” I was like, “GEEZ, mom! I’m not on birth control pills!” That was the kind of loving, helpful conversations we had about sex. Heh. 

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13 hours ago, Quill said:

No, that does not make sense to me. We don’t debase our expectations because someone had different experiences, negative experiences. That’s like saying, “Well, this boy grew up with parents who smoked cigarettes, in a neighborhood full of people who also smoked, in fact, he has not had one steady figure in his life who does not smoke, so we should give him vaping supplies so maybe he will take up vaping instead of cigarettes.” 

Personally, I’m not a big pearl-clutcher over teen/unmarried sex. I don’t instruct my teens that it’s stupid and careless, merely that it’s not a small matter and can come with consequences that last a lifetime. I don’t think it’s impossible to instruct teens in using condoms without also giving them condoms for free. Teens don’t appear to be having difficulty getting alcohol, cigarrettes, Juuls, drugs, pornography and who-knows-what-else, despite not being able to legally obtain these items and despite them costing money. It’s hard for me to see how a kid who manages to keep up a vaping habit would not also be able to buy sex wrappers. 

I am going to have to sit for a while on the idea of "debasing our expectations."  My thoughts on "expectations are twisted right now. Every Monday night, I attend a session for NAMI Family to Family. I have sat and watched a family with a newly diagnosed son with schizophrenia be told that "No, it is unlikely your son will ever hold a full time job for any length of time."

Holding a full-time job and being self-supporting is a societal expectation, one which is ingrained deeply in many of our beings. As a parent, having to "debase your expectation" to FIT WITH REALITY is an horrific process to observe or be a part of. However, maintaining a "high-level expectation" regardless of the situation or person involved has it own costs and limited effectiveness.

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7 minutes ago, swimmermom3 said:

I am going to have to sit for a while on the idea of "debasing our expectations."  My thoughts on "expectations are twisted right now. Every Monday night, I attend a session for NAMI Family to Family. I have sat and watched a family with a newly diagnosed son with schizophrenia be told that "No, it is unlikely your son will ever hold a full time job for any length of time."

Holding a full-time job and being self-supporting is a societal expectation, one which is ingrained deeply in many of our beings. As a parent, having to "debase your expectation" to FIT WITH REALITY is an horrific process to observe or be a part of. However, maintaining a "high-level expectation" regardless of the situation or person involved has it own costs and limited effectiveness.

Fair enough.

I do understand the tension between expectations and accepting what is; I have had my own tussels on that subject, though not to the level of severity you mention. But I do feel I see quite a bit of social narrative that says, pretty much, “expect less”. I think it’s problematic. 

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29 minutes ago, Quill said:

I am in favor of the availability of free long term birth control for girls, but I would not ever be in favor of doctors giving it to/implanting it in minors without parental consent. There’s a whole lotta not-okay about that to me. 

AFAIK, doctors for regular physicals of teen girls do ask about sexual activity (also boys) during the time when the parents are out of the room. Well, they do here, anyway. They also ask about a lot of other stuff that I think is invasive, but I guess I can see where it’s meant to red-flag for abuse or suicidal ideation. 🤷🏻‍♀️ I’m not sure every teen is honest about anyof these things, including sexual activity, even if mom is not in the room. 

Here’s a funny side note: when I was a teen, I was super-sick for several months and the doctor was going to prescribe antibiotics. He asked me, with my mom present, if I was on birth control pills. I truthfully answered no. But my mom was very aggitated and in the car on the way home she said in a fit of temper, “The reason he asked if you are on birth control is because the antibiotics can interfere with it and you can GET PREGNANT!” I was like, “GEEZ, mom! I’m not on birth control pills!” That was the kind of loving, helpful conversations we had about sex. Heh. 

 

That ship sailed 35 years ago. The reason doctors ask kids about sex away from their parents, and for that matter, the reason parents now have limited access to electronic medical records after the age of 11 or so is precisely because the medical profession decided that parents should have NO SAY about a child's sexual or birth control decisions. Doctors have no way of knowing if a parent is open about making responsible choices, or if they're in some cult or if they pretend to have morals while actually sexually abusing their kids, or worse, is actually trafficking their own child.

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I don't see how providing free condoms is going to help teenagers grow up into responsible adults who buy their own condoms. 

I think I'd be more in favor of taking field trips to the closest pharmacy and having kids practice buying their own dang condoms so they understand that a) it's not that hard b) no one is laughing and no one behind the counter cares that they are buying condoms and c) they aren't all that expensive. 

 

 

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7 hours ago, ChocolateReignRemix said:

I think the primary goal is to make it less likely they become parents or catch an STD while in high school.

What’s the big win, though, if either or both things happen the summer after they leave high school? 

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4 hours ago, Tanaqui said:

For most people, responsibility automatically increases as the brain matures. While they're still irresponsible we don't want them to be spreading diseases or having babies.

Responsibility increases through exercising responsible behavior. It is more likely to come forth when it is expected than when the grown ups come swooping in to make sure there aren’t consequences from irresponsibility. 

And a teen with a free condom still has to exercise enough responsibility to have it and use it when the opportunity presents. 

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We have a similar debate going on regarding pill testing at concerts here.  Do we assume people are going to take drugs so offer free pill testing to make sure they’re as safe as possible or do we continue telling our kids don’t do drugs and deal with the fallout when they do so drugs and something goes really wrong.

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8 hours ago, Quill said:

Responsibility increases through exercising responsible behavior. It is more likely to come forth when it is expected than when the grown ups come swooping in to make sure there aren’t consequences from irresponsibility. 

And a teen with a free condom still has to exercise enough responsibility to have it and use it when the opportunity presents. 

 

Babies and life threatening diseases are not reasonable consequences, and it's kinda gross that people keep implying that they are.

Teenagers have immature brains that prioritize short-term gratification over proper risk assessment. This is something they outgrow in the same way that toddlers eventually outgrow lying on the floor screaming.

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4 minutes ago, Tanaqui said:

 

Babies and life threatening diseases are not reasonable consequences, and it's kinda gross that people keep implying that they are.

Teenagers have immature brains that prioritize short-term gratification over proper risk assessment. This is something they outgrow in the same way that toddlers eventually outgrow lying on the floor screaming.

No. I do not buy this kind of thinking. Just as parental response can increase or decrease the likelihood that a toddler will continue to throw himself on the floor in a screaming fit, parental response also shapes how likely a teenager is to act dumb in the moment when it comes to sex. We don’t just wrap them in bubble wrap and hope they don’t screw up in a life-altering manner before they have developed fully. That’s a lot of years of living to gamble on. 

You make it sound like teens are just absolutely doomed to have unsafe sex until they are all grown up in their twenties and the only way to help it is to give them condoms.

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That's not what I said. I said that the frontal lobe is undeveloped at that age. WHICH IT IS. That's proven science.

As for toddlers, no matter what you do, they'll stop having screaming fits by the time they grow up. They'll also stop pooping their pants.

And even if that is what I said - so what? As you said, kids can get them from the drugstore anyway, just like they can get pencils and menstrual supplies, but nobody is up in arms about schools giving kids those things. Should they get their own? Yeah, sure? But I have bigger things to worry about than WHERE they get their pencils and tampons and condoms.

Also, to reiterate: Babies aren't consequences. Anything which prevents even one unwanted baby is a positive good.

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1 hour ago, Tanaqui said:

That's not what I said. I said that the frontal lobe is undeveloped at that age. WHICH IT IS. That's proven science.

As for toddlers, no matter what you do, they'll stop having screaming fits by the time they grow up. They'll also stop pooping their pants.

And even if that is what I said - so what? As you said, kids can get them from the drugstore anyway, just like they can get pencils and menstrual supplies, but nobody is up in arms about schools giving kids those things. Should they get their own? Yeah, sure? But I have bigger things to worry about than WHERE they get their pencils and tampons and condoms.

Also, to reiterate: Babies aren't consequences. Anything which prevents even one unwanted baby is a positive good.

What? Why would anyone be up in arms about pencils? Kids don’t need a condom to do their math tests. Having sex, safe or otherwise, is not the purpose of school. 

 

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So you don't think that "consequences" is a good reason to keep kids from the tools they need to *learn*? When it's condoms it's all "Oh, consequences! Responsibility!" but when it's pencils that suddenly goes down the drain, and you don't think that you'll see a rash of adults who never buy their own pencils and tampons?

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47 minutes ago, Tanaqui said:

So you don't think that "consequences" is a good reason to keep kids from the tools they need to *learn*? When it's condoms it's all "Oh, consequences! Responsibility!" but when it's pencils that suddenly goes down the drain, and you don't think that you'll see a rash of adults who never buy their own pencils and tampons?

Who is keeping kids from the tools they need to engage in safe sex? No one, not a single person, has suggested minors not have access to condoms. Correct me if I'm wrong, but there is no age requirement for purchasing condoms. It is not illegal to buy condoms for your underage children. This entire thread is about whether or not the school should be passing them out.

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Except that while the vast majority of kids have access to school, they don't all have access to a. money and b. stores that are free from the prying eyes of neighbors.

Moreover, if your argument is "Giving kids condoms keeps them from learning responsiblity because they have no fear of consequences" - which IS the argument I was replying to - then that should apply also to giving kids tampons, or bandaids, or pencils, or literally anything else that they could have theoretically purchased in advance. The consequences of not having a tampon or a bandaid or a pencil provided by the school are surely less serious than STDs and/or babies.

Not that I think it's appropriate to suggest that fear of "consequences" is the right framing when those consequences include serious illness and pregnancy. LIke I said, I think that's disgusting.

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12 hours ago, Ausmumof3 said:

We have a similar debate going on regarding pill testing at concerts here.  Do we assume people are going to take drugs so offer free pill testing to make sure they’re as safe as possible or do we continue telling our kids don’t do drugs and deal with the fallout when they do so drugs and something goes really wrong.

 

If it helps I think many police officers tell their kids which drugs are safer to experiment with (pot, "it will only make you fat"), which they should never try even once because it could addict or kill them with a single dose (heroin, meth, fentanyl), and which might be okay if they know the source and are with someone they trust (almost everything else, unless something like schizophrenia runs in your family, in which case avoid hallucinogens forever). My dad was more against the idea of me going to frat parties than experimenting with drugs because every day he was hearing about more roofies at the University of Florida. When I said too bad he was only slightly relieved that I promised to only go with large groups of other women from my dorm and that we would watch out for each other and our drinks. 

At the time I thought it was just my goofy dad, but since then several children of cops I'm friends with from other states have described their dads using the same sort of pragmatic approach.

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1 hour ago, Katy said:

 

If it helps I think many police officers tell their kids which drugs are safer to experiment with (pot, "it will only make you fat"), which they should never try even once because it could addict or kill them with a single dose (heroin, meth, fentanyl), and which might be okay if they know the source and are with someone they trust (almost everything else, unless something like schizophrenia runs in your family, in which case avoid hallucinogens forever). My dad was more against the idea of me going to frat parties than experimenting with drugs because every day he was hearing about more roofies at the University of Florida. When I said too bad he was only slightly relieved that I promised to only go with large groups of other women from my dorm and that we would watch out for each other and our drinks. 

At the time I thought it was just my goofy dad, but since then several children of cops I'm friends with from other states have described their dads using the same sort of pragmatic approach.

Hmm not a debate on a family level - it’s on a state level - as in a political debate over whether or not government funded pill testing should be offered at music festivals etc.  thankfully our kids aren’t quite that age yet 

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14 hours ago, Ausmumof3 said:

We have a similar debate going on regarding pill testing at concerts here.  Do we assume people are going to take drugs so offer free pill testing to make sure they’re as safe as possible or do we continue telling our kids don’t do drugs and deal with the fallout when they do so drugs and something goes really wrong.

I don’t have a stance on drug issue because I hadn’t heard of it before. But at least it is primarily affecting the person taking the drug. Innocent babies aren’t involved. My primary concern in all of this is children suffering due to the irresponsible behavior of their biological parents. Anything we can do to prevent that is a win in my book.

Edited to add that whenever I read about various programs to help with the high levels of drug addiction, my first thought is always wondering whether or not the program does anything to help prevent pregnancies until people are clean and stable.

Edited by Frances
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