Early Education can lead to Prevention! (by Guest Blogger Shawna Friend)

This post is based on the community work and writing that the author has been doing in WR 122 at Portland Community College.  The piece of public writing is loosely based on a research question and research collection the author developed.  The public writing is a chance to use one’s writing to become part of the larger community dialogue about issues in the chosen theme.

ShawnaBlogPictureThe Public Writing

Todd Yuzuriha

President of Evergreen Public Schools

P.O. Box 8910

Vancouver, WA 98682


Dear Mr. Yuzuriha,

I am writing this letter to you as a concerned parent. I have a son who is a sixth grader at Frontier Middle School. Recently, my son brought to my attention there were a couple of boys in the bathroom smoking pot. After my son had told me about this incident, it got my mind wondering if schools still educate about the dangers of drug and alcohol use. I asked my son if drugs have ever been brought up in school and he informed me only one time, after the incident about the kids in the bathroom smoking pot.

As a child I remember we were educated about drugs from the D.A.R.E. program. After some research I found that the D.A.R.E program has been eliminated due to poor results. As a parent I am fine with eliminating a program that doesn’t work, but feel as parents and educators we should find something that does. According to a study on CMS Monitior.com they estimate that 1 in 5 teens use drugs and or alcohol. This study also shows that 17% percent of these students are consuming these drugs while at school and 44% state they know someone who sells drugs at school. As, a parent this is another great concern.

During my research I found a group in Clark County called PREVENT. They are a non-profit volunteer coalition of community organizations, groups and individuals working together toward a common goal of building a safe, healthy and drug-free community in Clark County, Washington. I was thinking it may be a good idea, to see if they would be willing to get involved with our local schools to help spread the word about drug education and prevention.  Let’s face it drugs are not going to be non-existent anytime soon. I believe, if we educate and let children know there are resources available to them, if they know someone or they have already been introduced to drugs we can help them through the obstacles life throws at them.

Please do not get me wrong I am not stating that it is solely the schools responsibility to educate our kids on this matter, but I do think it would be nice for the parents and school to share responsibility in protecting our children from drugs. It would be greatly appreciated if you could give me a call so we can discuss, what needs to be done to get this process going. I would love to help in any way possible.


Shawna Friend


The Research Question & Collection

The research question I chose was; have we stopped educating our children about drugs? My research collection was based on programs that have been or are being used in schools, to inform children about drugs, along with statistics about the use of drugs among teens. I used this information to write a letter to the school board for my 12 year old son’s school district, in regards to my concern about teens smoking pot in the school bathroom and trying to find ways to get drug education back into school.

During my research collection I read several articles, trying to find the right ones.  One article I used talked about how a survey that was performed to track the amount of teens who are using or know kids that are using drugs.  It also shows the amount of kids who use drugs on the school campus and even sell drugs at school.  This article is going to fit in with my culminating project, because I am going to write to a letter to the school board about bringing back drug education into our classrooms.  (Terry , Allsion “Almost 1 in 5 teens smokes or uses drugs at school US students report”  The Christian Science Publisher,  August 22, 2012. Web. 03/02/2013) http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Education/2012/0822/Almost-1-in-5-teens-smokes-or-uses-drugs-at-school-US-students-report.

The second article I read was a website for a group of adults and teens who are from PREVENT! PREVENT! is a non-profit volunteer coalition of community organizations, groups and individuals working together toward a common goal of building a safe, healthy and drug-free community in Clark County, Washington. I really love what PREVENT is about. I would like to use the info from this website in the letter to the school board, as an idea to help teach kids about drugs and alcohol. I think it would be beneficial for kids to learn about this program, and even join the group . I would have never known this was available unless I was doing this project for school.( PREVENT! Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Clark County – About Us] )

I also included information from a website  that addresses the outcome from the D.A.R.E program. This website pretty much states that the D.A.R.E. program I remember from school has been canceled from the programs because, they feel it has increased the use of drugs in teens saying that it glamorizing and demonizing drugs  at the same time, cause the forbidden fruit syndrome.  It also talks about how the D.A.R.E. program had some corrupt cops running the program. I feel if they are going to cancel this program, because of the outcome from studies, they need to at least come up with another program that will help. Drug use among kids is on a rise not a down fall, I truly believe education is a step for prevention. (http://www.equalrights4all.org/fcda/dare.html)

Since the D.A.R.E program was cancelled I wanted to find a program that had good reviews. I found a different education program that is supposed to be used to educate kids on drugs. Some of their key concepts are:

  1. Young people must feel that the risks of using drugs far outweigh what they see as the benefits. The person offering to sell them a joint or share beer or prescription pills with them is not going to fill them in on the risks before he hands over the drugs. Drug education must fill this void with accurate information about the risks of drug use, presented in a believable manner.
  2. Drug use appeals to young people because it seems like it is going to solve a problem. The problems could be shyness or inability to fit in, stress of social, school or family situations, boredom or lack of adventure or excitement in their lives. Young people are capable of understanding this concept if it is expressed in their terms. Effective drug education must offer an alternative to the escape that seems like it will come from substance abuse. (http://www.narconon.org/drug-prevention/ )


  1. Hi Shawna, I like the fact that you compare some pro-con on drug use and prevention. This is a big problem that needs to be addressed. There a lot of reason like you said that children can get into drugs. But we must have education on how to prevent this huge problem in the U.S. Parents are sometimes the last people to know what their children are doing. We need everyone help to stop children get into drug use. Prevention is the best way. Having the community, goverments, schools involve is necessary to control this problem.
    Great job
    Melania Escobar

  2. Valerie C.

    I applaud you taking the time to write a letter to the Board of Education, I am writing a letter to our state representative. Its a little nerve wracking for me since I have never done this before. I found a list of tips for writing a letter to a representative and I felt it would also apply to your letter to the school board.

    1. Be specific. Your purpose for writing should be stated in the first paragraph of the letter. If your letter pertains to a specific piece of legistation or issue be sure to identify its full names and number. e.g. House Bill or Senate Bill.

    2. State your position. Explainh why you support or oppose this particuar issue. Keep in mind that local examples concerning the impact of this legislation are very powerful. Be courteous and to the point, keeping your letter or email focused on one issue.

    3. As for a response. Indicate to your legislator that you would appreciate a reply including his/her position on the issue. “Sincerely yours” is a proper way to conclude your letter.

    This was very helpful to me when writing my letter and helped give me an idea of where to start. I hope this helps you with your letter.

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