Thursday Debate: Parents must know about abuse

What do you think about AU's new drug policy?

American University has a legitimate interest in immediately dealing with students who demonstrate a tendency to engage in drug-related behavior. This means taking action against those students after their first offense, so there is some sort of deterrent to those students committing a second offense. William J. Bennett, former Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, once observed, "Just in the context of school, we know that marijuana negatively affects concentration, focus, memory and retention... If you were in school, arguably, concentration, focus, memory and retention are important things." ÿ

Bennett is correct in his assertion that drug use can negatively affect a student's performance in education, thereby creating real incentive for educational institutions to take all the necessary steps to prevent and combat drug use. Furthermore, drug use is illegal, and whether an individual agrees that drugs should be legalized or not does not give them the right to break those laws that are currently in effect. America is a forgiving society, but individuals who blatantly violate laws ought to be held accountable. Whether students are given one chance or two chances makes little difference when it comes to drug policy; Choosing to engage in drug-related behavior is not an unavoidable mistake worthy of forgiveness, but rather a conscious decision that comes with repercussions.ÿ

It can be assumed that the vast majority of AU students are having their college experiences financed by either: a) government subsidies in the forms of grants, loans and other forms of financial assistance, or b) the good graces and caring hearts of their parents who wish to see them grow intellectually and gain a solid educational background. Needless to say, I doubt that this University is full of students who are themselves independently wealthy enough to support themselves at such an institution without the assistance of either the government or their parents.ÿ

Thus, as the beneficiaries of these supporting elements in their lives, students ought to deal with the reality that their actions are not theirs alone. Sure, a student is over 18 and legally an adult, but is he or she really independent? If a student is caught and convicted on a major drug offense and thrown out of school, it most likely isn't that student's personal money that is being wasted.ÿ

There is no "war on drugs." The truth is that drugs, along with sex, abortion, Godlessness, and a culture of divorce declared war on the family a long time ago. Former presidential candidate Gary Bauer once noted, "There's a lot of talk in America about pluralism. But the bottom line is somebody's values will prevail. And the winner gets the right to teach our children what to believe." This is not a fight against drugs; It is a struggle against all things that long ago declared war on those virtues that are sacred and just.ÿ

Drug abuse is not alone in the decline of values of America, but it has undeniably played a tremendous role. Giving in to drugs displays a weakness as an individual, and can lead to a chain reaction of other weaknesses such as giving into sex and adultery. When we become accepting of drug abuse, we will also become accepting of the actions of individuals while they are under the influence of drugs. This moral decline must not further erode the fabric of those values upon which the family is based. That is why parents should know when their children are betraying their trust, and why parental notification is appropriate when students are caught abusing drugs. If AU's new policy helps to hold one family together and prevents one student from sliding into the abyss that is drug addiction, then AU will have done a service to restoring families everywhere.ÿ

There is an old saying that parents hold their children's hands for a little while, but they hold their hearts for a lifetime. Children hold their parents' hearts too, and nothing could be worse for parents than knowing their child is slipping into a losing battle with drugs. But they have a right to know.

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