“Just Say No” Doesn’t Work
“This was an idea that I had, where if we can teach young people not to take drugs,” Trump stated, “it’s really, really easy not to take them.”
Unfortunately Trumps BIG idea falls drastically short of how we can truly educate our youth.
He also stated that the government would produce “really tough, really big, really great advertising” in hopes to persuade people not to take drugs in the first place; both sounding very similar to the ineffective “Just Say No” anti-drug campaign which was led by Nancy Reagan during the 80’s.
The problem is “just saying no” to drugs doesn’t work. For example, it doesn’t take into account how difficult it is to say no, the social pressures young people face today, the social norms, accessibility, social acceptance, or even the misconceptions around “getting high”.
As a country, we all can do a better job of teaching young people the important life skills that will help them make healthier decisions in their lives. Instead of teaching them to “just say no” we can start by teaching them how to “ask for help” and how to support others that may be struggling.
We can also encourage young people everywhere to continue to speak out and break the silence around suicide, bullying, self-harm, drugs, and alcohol; eliminating the public shame and stigma around mental illness & addiction.