Dilemmas of drug prevention
It seems obvious that drug education practitioners will be
confronted with more than one dilemma in their daily work. In a recent article,
Goodstadt '6) describes the numerous dilemmas inherent in drug prevention -
abstinence versus responsible use, drug education versus skills training,
individual education versus environmental education, education versus
legalization - with which many prevention workers are unfamiliar or have not
thought them through.
6) Goodstadt, M. S. Drug Education: The Prevention
Issues. In: Journal of Drug Education. 1989. Vol. 19(3), pp.
In his explanation of the supply reduction approach versus the
demand reduction model Goodstadt makes a number of comments on the supporters of
these approaches and on the combination of demand and supply reduction. He
writes The demand reduction component is most commonly addressed through
educational strategies. The assumption is that social problems, including
discrimination, war and drug abuse can be reduced through changing the minds and
hearts of the people. It is of interest to notice that those who have
traditionally put most emphasis on supply reduction, are increasingly concerned
that supply reduction has been ineffective in stemming drug use. These agencies
have begun to emphasise demand reduction through their involvement in the
development and implementation of educational programmes. However, among those
traditionally concerned with demand reduction through education, pessimism has
been growing that drug education is ineffective. He concludes: As with
most of the dichotomies and other simplifications of the real world, it is
likely that the choice between supply and demand reduction is only resolvable
through a marrying of the two objectives: reducing the motivation for drug use
and abuse, at the same time as reducing the availability of the drugs.
Against the background of the earlier observation that no
coherent, operational and effective model for drug prevention has been
developed, Goodstadt's remarks imply that:
- All faith should not be pinned on demand reduction
- Drug abuse prevention must not be limited to drug education.
Availability of drugs constitutes an essential element in the prevention of drug
It can be concluded that limiting availability and discouraging
abuse of drugs and other psychotropic substances are the main strategies to
produce an effective drug abuse prevention policy.
The most important tools of prevention at our disposal are a
well-balanced control-policy to limit the availability of substances,
information and education to discourage drug abuse and treatment and care to
solve drug abuse problems. This report focuses mainly on the two communication
tools information and