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Embrace a diversity of prevention messages

June 1, 2008
by root
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Dear Mr. Edwards,

I appreciate your editorial each month and, quite honestly, it is one of only a few articles I read each month.

I disagree with your position on the subject of your May editorial, but only partly because of a “tough on drug” approach. To not fully disclose the effects of meth on people over time would diminish the intent of the message. A black bar or just showing a portion of the face would remove the human aspect of the project. As for the privacy rights of the prisoners, they forfeited those when they were convicted of a crime against society. It is not an invasion of health information since the nature of their crime (and the health condition) has already been disclosed to the public. Furthermore, it is unlikely that any of them would be personally recognized—unless the photos were used in their hometown. I share the same sensitivities, and I am a member of the ACLU. I appreciate civil rights, but sometimes consideration must be made for the betterment of society.

My approach is the simple utilization of whatever works. This message uses fear, which after September 11 we realize is an effective method of communication. However, the approach could also be science and reason, religion, inspirational stories, or celebrity endorsements. To each of us, something different hits home. Religion would never work with me, but science and inspiration might. For others, it might be fear and faith. I think prevention programs should offer a diversity of approaches so that as many youths as possible will be affected.

Rob Swindell, MBA
Associate Director
Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services Board of Lorain County
Lorain, Ohio