My first thought on reading that was it's a bit like saying "Hobos prefer free money for everyone!" I mean yes, that's probably true, but if everyone is a hobo, who makes the money? Teens may prefer being told the stupid things they are doing is fine, but that doesn't change reality.
It's really rooted in the modern "My feelings are more important than your facts" philosophy.
That being said, the article does get some points right. Kids are getting on drugs younger and younger, so giving 13 year olds a zero-tolerance "we will shoot you in the face if you take drugs" message, isn't productive. These days its more 9-11 year olds who are likely to be first encountering drug use in school.
I'm starting to suspect that politicians are so psychotically invested in the two party system, they've gotten to the point where their entire thinking has degraded to binary thought. There is the hardline "Just say no, or we will murder your entire family," stance or the "Drugs are fine, just try not to walk in front of a car when you take them," stance.
And then when drug use figures and the harm that stems from drug use continues to rise, people boldly proclaim that we can't do anything about the drug problem, that it just needs to be accepted as a part of modern life.
That's like trying to use a computer, entering the wrong password and then blaming IT fo... oh wait, that's how people work...
So it does in fact make sense that this has occurred, based on how people generally fail to confront reality and act on what's actually there, rather than what they would care to or fear to imagine.
Fortunately though, there are simple solutions. Even the United Nations is aware that "Every Dollar Spent On Prevention Can Save Up To Ten Dollars". So if "Just say no" is stupid and "Harm minimisation" is literally the opposite of prevention, what does it take to improve the situation?
The answer is actually very simple. All that is needed, is honest, straightforward, factual information, presented as such. And presented in a way that isn't brainwashing or detracting from the self determinism of those being education.
Human society - almost all of it - has been indoctrinated to believe a large number of false datums, that infiltrate every aspect of life, in particular education. "Education" in schools is largely about forcing piles of useless, disconnected information onto students and demanding of them an ability to recite it, without self determined thought or evaluation of its truth and worth.
Perhaps worse, we are taught that people cannot be trusted to make their own decisions when provided true data. Some even claim that presenting true data on something like drugs to kids, would instead have the effect of making them want to try them, by putting the idea there. I can only assume a drug dealer came up with that idea to maintain their business.
Now what we actually give kids is truly psychotic mixed messages. As a nation we say drugs are illegal and put people in jail for years or longer for taking or selling them. But then we talk pill testing and harm minimisation, implying that drugs aren't that harmful. We legally give hard drugs to small children who are struggling in school and call it treatment, but claim that lighter drugs are dangerous to the same children. And if you think kids don't notice that little Johnny is taking legal cocaine and decide for themselves that in that case maybe weed isn't so bad, you've obviously never been a child...
Then of course we celebrities the world over, musicians, YouTubers and TV stars joking about all the drugs they take, only to throw out "Oh yeah, kids, don't do drugs... like I do."
And to top it all off, we have marijuana legalisation popping up all over the world, and how do they do it? Well governments go and decide that marijuana is clearly not that bad, so they make it legal. Straight up telling kids the world over, that marijuana is a harmless drug, thereby guaranteeing a gloriously booming market and profit margins.
Now I'd argue personally that governments should shut the hell up about everything and not restrict people's rights to kill themselves, or do other things. I would never take it upon myself to tell a person they have no right to destroy their life and die, as I believe self determinism is more important than life. If someone is determined to die, I'm fine with that.
So from a purely political perspective, I wouldn't even be opposed to legalising drugs. If a politician got up tomorrow and said "I believe government should serve the people and not enslave them and that individual liberties are vital and as such, if elected, I would legalise drugs, along with countless other reforms to restore liberty." They'd have my vote. Well if they specified drugs as the main point, they probably wouldn't have my vote, because I'd much prefer the legal right to give kids an education that isn't designed to destroy their minds and souls, that would be a priority. But I digress.
The message that "Drugs are dangerous and deadly and will ruin your life - but you have every right to die horribly if you wish," is the message I personally believe in.
That of course would have to come with education to ensure people knew what they were getting into. And it would have to come with no leniency on people who claim they committed a crime due to drug abuse, as if the abuse was clearly their choice, so would be their actions when "under the influence".
So ignoring extreme changes in laws and social attitudes, what is the simple solution that if implemented, could work right now?
Well that's easy. The Foundation for a Drug Free World. There's free education materials that don't condescend to kids and teens, they don't use the "Just say no" nonsense and they don't play pretend that somehow "clean" drugs aren't that harmful. They tell kids what drugs will do to them, and leave the decisions up to them.
Statistically speaking, a 40% reduction in drug use is quite reasonable to expect. And it costs nothing.
So actually prevention is infinitely cheaper than cure in this case. Perhaps we should get onto that? Unless you want your kids to suffer and die.
Disclaimer: This is an opinion piece representing my personal views and not those of any organisation, including Drug Free World or Drug Free Ambassadors.