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October 25, 2006 | South Carolina Headlines


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Just Say Uh-Oh
Jimmy Moore
August 12, 2002

As much as we like to criticize the United States government for doing things that may be considered destructive for us and our children, I would hope they would never consider doing what the government in Great Britain has been doing in response to illegal drug use!

A 15-year-old British taxpayer-funded drug-outreach group called Lifeline has been distributing comic books that actually PROMOTE drug use.

This is not a joke.

Some of the indubitable and infamous titles that are annually subsidized by the British government with $6.3 million include “How To Survive Your Parents Discovering You’re A Drug User” (advises teenagers not to stash marijuana in their clothes pockets since that is the first place their parents will look), “The Big Blue Book Of Drugs” (a complete users guide to every illegal drug imaginable), “Brown For Beginners” (a cartoon character shakes violently in bed as a demonic needle hovers overhead with a caption that reads ‘with a heroin withdrawal the pain is there, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week’), “The Time Tripper” (features a hippie on acid who winds up in the ‘hall of heavy Karma,' where the souls of all the animals he has eaten during his life hang out) “Everything You Wanted To Know About Cannabis” (features an article explaining ‘how to roll a perfect joint’ in nine easy steps and warns that ‘excessive use of cannabis can make people lazy and unmotivated') and “Better Injecting” (shows you how to find the best vein for injecting yourself with heroin).

Lauded as “hilarious” and an effective measure that keeps drug users “safe, healthy and alive,” these comic books have become a dangerous weapon in the war on drugs in Europe. The leadership of Lifeline laugh at this notion and defend what they have done to help drug users in the U.K.

The comic books have become extremely popular in prisons and about one million copies of these comic books are distributed every year to high school counseling offices, drug-counseling centers and nightclubs. Lifeline claims that they discourage anyone 16 years or younger from viewing their materials unless they have permission from an adult. Lifeline also alleges that they are not targeting young people or non-addicts.

Yeah, riiiiiggggght! And kids don’t smoke or go see rated R movies, do they?

Michael Linnell, Lifeline’s director of communications and co-designer of the comic books says, “To preach against drugs is an immoral form of propaganda since you are conning people into thinking you can really cure drug use when you can’t.”

Oh really? Let me see if I understand what Mr. Linnell is saying.

To “preach”...who’s talking about preaching? Telling kids that using drugs is wrong is not preaching to them! It’s telling them the truth. Period.

Is “immoral” it immoral to tell kids that doing drugs is wrong?! I think if you tell them anything else other than, then THAT is immoral. Anyone advocating illegal drug use in any form is guilty of committing an immoral act. It is twisted thinking that leads one to claim the opposite as fact.

“Propaganda” interesting choice of words considering his own group uses comic books to get their message across. And remember, he says that they AREN’T targeting children with their, I mean, materials.

“Conning people”...where’s the con in speaking the truth? The con is when you tell kids that you know they’re going to do drugs anyway, so have at it! Left to their own devices, kids will many times make the wrong choice. Now who is conning them?!

“Thinking you can really cure drug use when you can’t”...I’m getting a headache now. Drug abuse may not be EASILY cured, but it can be cured. I have seen it happen time after time with friends who have gone through recovery and 12-step programs. A “cure” is possible for people who have the will and the desire to overcome their addiction. Fatalism is not the answer!

Oh, but Mr. Linnell is not finished. His staff of 200 claim that they do not promote illegal drug use. They think that drug use is a fact that people need to deal with. The group says that people need to learn how to manage their addictions so they won’t overdose or become ill so they can still be productive members of society. Does this guy live in a dream world or what?

Instead of trying to get addicts to quit using drugs, Lifeline promotes embracing less risky conduct such as advocating sterile needles for shooting heroin or cutting down on the number of joints an addict smokes. Mr. Linnell’s philosophy on life is best summed up when he utters, “It would be lovely if all teenagers were church-going virgins who never took drugs, but that is a fantasy that just doesn’t exist.”

Fatalistic and pessimistic, indeed!

While our kids may not be “church-going virgins who never took drugs,” it is a dangerous precedent to just give up on them while they are still so impressionable. They need strong advice and guidance while they are just beginning adulthood so they can make the right choices as they grow older. If we teach our kids that doing drugs is okay, then we have set up a society destined for disaster within a short amount of time -- a generation or two.

Do you think these kind of materials would ever make it in the United States? Believe it or not, a non-profit heroin addict group called New York’s Positive Health Project is trying to raise enough money to start publishing similar tracts in the United States within a year or so. Don’t you know New York's U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton would just love to get on THAT bandwagon?!

While I have a problem with promoting illegal drugs because of my personal convictions against them, our problem in America is certainly not as bad as what is happening in Great Britain. At least the U.S. government wouldn’t even think about funding these kind of materials here.

Or would they? that Sen. Clinton sticking some pork barrel legislation to that Social Security bill? It could happen!

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