Video, Straight Talk About Drugs Gets Mixed Review

Video, Straight Talk About Drugs Gets Mixed Review
Posted by FoM on April 07, 2000 at 07:27:27 PT
By Bobby Cuza, Times Staff Writer
Source: Los Angeles Times
Media: Some L.A. teenagers say White House production should have been blunter, but teacher says students generally responded favorably.   When it comes to talking about drugs, nothing goes in one ear and out the other faster than the exhortations of parents and other authority figures. 
  If anyone's going to reach teenagers, it's other teenagers, which is the assumption behind "Straight Scoop: Kids Talking to Kids About Drugs." The half-hour documentary sponsored by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy was screened for about 460 Hamilton High School students Thursday.   Part of the office's $1-billion anti-drug media campaign, the video represents an acknowledgment that kids don't respond well to paternalistic lecturing.   As an adult, "you have no standing in their community," said Miriam Ojeda, a Hamilton High health and biology teacher who helped coordinate the screening. "They don't look upon adults as mentors. They look upon each other as mentors."   The project, produced by broad band company MediaOne, involved six high school students traveling to several Southeastern cities, conducting candid interviews with teenagers. The winner of a 1999 Telly Award--given to non-network TV productions--"Straight Scoop" will air at schools and on local MediaOne cable channels.   Reviews were mixed Tuesday. In a brief question-and-answer session with two of the student interviewers--who flew cross country to attend the West Coast "premiere"--one Hamilton student asked why the documentary focused on "soft" drugs like marijuana. The video made no mention of substances like ecstasy or heroin.   Students also said they wished there had been more graphic depictions of the consequences of drug use, like a segment in which a boy shows off the gruesome third-degree burns he received from trying to inhale Freon, a coolant used in refrigerators and air conditioners.   "I don't care if it's painful to see," said Erica McClellan, 17, a Hamilton senior. "If kids look at stuff like that, they would think twice about [using drugs]. They need to show people [overdosing]. They need to show people dying."   One of the student interviewers said some of the harder-hitting material was edited out. "There was a lot of shocking, real-world stuff that I guess they didn't want to put in," said Osmel, whose last name was not released. He said the target audience included junior high and elementary school children.   In one scene, the filmmakers talk about the difficulty of getting teenagers to open up about their own drug experiences, particularly given the possibility that their confessions might be broadcast nationwide.   That same reluctance was evident during a post-screening discussion with Ojeda's health class, moderated by NBC-TV reporter David Cruz, at which a smattering of teachers and parents were also present. Asked to share some of their experiences, students responded with silence.   Later, McClellan said students were too conscious of saying the right thing with all the adult eyes in the room. "They're all saying they're staying drug-free. I'm pretty sure half the class has tried some kind of drug," she said. "They're just putting on a front."   "I think if they had been more real in that movie, they would have been more real in here," said senior Chanel Woods, 18.   The cynicism is understandable, given the reality of teenage drug use--though as the White House office says in "Straight Scoop," more than 50% of teenagers say they have never tried marijuana.   "Students are bombarded with temptation. It's all around here. People drive around [the Hamilton campus] selling drugs to kids out of their cars," Ojeda said. Nonetheless, she thought that "the kids really responded favorably to [the video]. They can identify with it."   As one student says in the video, they're tired of adults talking at them--not with them.   "If parents stopped trying to act like parents and tried being somebody's friend," McClellan said, "it would help teenagers out a lot." Published: April 7, 2000Copyright 2000 Los Angeles Times CannabisNews Articles On The ONDCP:
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Comment #3 posted by Freedom on April 07, 2000 at 19:31:03 PT
I wonder what their answer was.
> one Hamilton student asked why the documentary focused on "soft" drugs like marijuana.Because the War has always been a War on Marijuana.If they actually believed Gateway, they would concentrateon cigarettes and beer.Marijuana obsesses them because it is not harmful enough for healthy sorts to not partake of an occasional joint. Other drugs are self-limiting, and generally unappealing in the long run. Marijuana offends puritans.
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Comment #2 posted by mungojelly on April 07, 2000 at 17:02:37 PT:
"They don't look upon adults as mentors."
"They don't look upon adults as mentors." -- & why might that be? Perhaps because most of what those adults say to them is lies & distorted half-truths? If you get people their own age to lie to them, that won't make it any more respectable. "They need to show people [overdosing]." -- yeah, well, it's kind of hard to find footage of people ODing on pot. "They're all saying they're staying drug-free." -- & if they said that they smoked pot all the time & liked it, would you put that in your movie? Or would you go & get a search warrant? "[M]ore than 50% of teenagers say they have never triedmarijuana." -- yeah, & a pretty high percentage will say that they've never masturbated, too. But "more than 50%" is not a very impressive statistic when you get down to it, now is it? The 40% or so of teenagers who have smoked pot are not exactly small change, are they? & I don't appreciate having E lumped with heroin, either. I haven't taken either one, but I know people who have, & o yes, o yes, there is a difference. Heroin ruins lives. Every time you confuse heroin with a less dangerous drug, you make it just a little easier for the children of this nation to heed your advice & inject heroin with the same casual attitude with which they'd puff or roll. The more you lie about marijuana, the less people will believe you about heroin. I do believe that heroin is dangerous, but only because I've heard it from heroin addicts -- I wouldn't believe what you say if you said the sky was blue. 
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Comment #1 posted by Alexandre Oeming on April 07, 2000 at 10:22:56 PT:
Think for yourself
>Later, McClellan said students were too conscious of saying the right thing with all the adult eyes in the room. "They're all saying they're staying drug-free. I'm prettysure half the class has tried some kind of drug," she said. "They're just putting on a front."Yup. The same sort of scrutiny should be exercised when being inundated with the Nat'l Household Survey that the drug warriors just love to wave around. First of all, how accurate is a survey where you're asking people to admit to a very illegal activity?Further, drug warriors constantly tell me that high school kids perceive alcohol and tobacco to be easier to obtain than illicits, according to the Survey, so why would we want to legalize and add the illicits to the mess? Well, the differences were not that large to begin with, so i'm skeptical. Then, you read the important word contained therein: perceived. No actual data, just a guess. I suppose that's good enough for the oppressors, but not for me. Could that have to do with the fact that many polled might not wish access to either, yet having a legal status "means" it must be easier to obtain? Perhaps, but the warriors throw that out b/c the survey can be easily warped to dictate the party line and that's good enough for them.The bottom line is to think for yourself. Out.
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