THIS DOCUMENT IS INTENDED FOR EDUCATIONAL (UNDERSTANDING AND INFORMATION) PURPOSES ONLY – THIS ARTICLE IS A FURTHER UNDERSTANDING BASED

ON PERSONAL OPINION AND EXPERIENCES BY ITS AUTHOR COUPLED BY FACTS AND FINDINGS EXERCISED BY AUTHOR The need for change is now. Not tomorrow and certainly not a minute later. The percentage of youth drug abusers (those under the age of 21in 2008) is on a steady increase. In 2008 it has been revealed that in a 3 year study conducted by a variety of anti-drug organizations, Government approved charities and youth organizations the increase is at 33%1. This recent reporting comes directly from the Legislative Council themselves and raises a huge concern for Hong Kong. Issues and questions should go directly to parties who work with the source, leaving recommendations and solutions to the appropriate parties that have proven their expertise through successful practise and execution of their mission. What this means, in laymen terms, is to identify and authorize persons who are in the position to connect with youths, proven by the response of the youths themselves, to decide what necessary enforcements or recommendations should be made by any authority. The identification or authorization of such persons should not be made public knowledge by authorities, law makers or education systems and institutions but be made aware amongst them. This necessity allows the persons to act and execute their intentions free from teenagers immediate reaction of opposing authority approved projects and ideas. The following section is a direct response to the Legislative Council's recommendations set out in Clause 52 of their report on the youth drug abuse problem in Hong Kong. Clause 5.1.(a) directed at schools to “devise a healthy school policy to build up positive values and attitudes among students from an early stage3” to enhance the ability of youths to resist taking drugs. Suggestions to devise an activity based or interest based program that naturally encompass positive values and enhances youths individual quest for identity to negate the enhancement of their ability to resist taking drugs by the creation of a diversion away from drugs. Clause 5.1.(b) calls for recommendations to the Government to commission research projects for the application of schools to devise drug testing schemes amongst the youth. The Task Force statements and responses to this recommendations are just and understanding however, the concern for questioning is the time and efforts spent by the Task Force and schools to consider, evaluate and conclude the solution to the problem and not addressing the problem itself. Clause 5.1.(c) calls for specific recommendations directed to the Education Bureau with regards to reviews and strengthening of anti -drug elements and its immediate implementation in the senior secondary curriculum starting 2009-2010 with opportunities for students to enhance, strengthen and further their lives by meaningful and encouraging influences. Suggestions for the Education Bureau to approve and allow the nominated persons/parties who have proven by expertise and experience that they are in the capacity to influence youths in the senior secondary sector that have already been proven to be of good influence and position to do so by the youths themselves and other respected organizations and individuals. Such approval and allowance must be made by mutual understanding and agreement to not tamper nor disturb the influence and connection between the persons/parties and the youths. Clause 5.1.(d) requests for the Government to further enhance and co-ordinate such programmes as recommended in the above clause. Suggestions made out in the same clause applies to this clause. Clause 5.1.(e) sets out recommendations for the implementation, introduction and further enhancement for the development of drug education and to identify youths who are at-risk with the enforcement of teachers to be trained with same. Suggestions and specific warnings must be made to this clause as the pressure on teachers and schools to adopt further training would tarnish the quality of the current teaching methods. The introduction of monthly assemblies held and hosted by the approved and accepted persons/parties to further the knowledge of positive value activities and interests would negate the overall authoritative approach that this clause recommends authorities to execute. The further introduction of more anti-drug talks and programmes that are already present and exist should prove that the increase of such establishments and organizations' message will not be effective. An important reminder to view and comprehend the data collected in the 2004 survey conducted by the Hong Kong Baptist University4 and to then compare with the data collected in the recent report discussed in this document. For the necessity to illustrate the point, take into consideration the age of a teen in 2004 as 14 years old compared to the 2008 data, this teen would now have reached the age of 18 with the percentage of drug abuse increased. In the 2004 report the 1 2 3 4 http://www.legco.gov.hk/yr08-09/english/sec/library/0809in12-e.pdf ibid. (page 14) ibid. (page 14) http://www.nd.gov.hk/pdf/2004_Survey_of_Drug_Use_among_Students.pdf

survey revealed students admitting that anti-drug campaigns publicised by mass media were the most common form of hearing anti-drug messages. Four years later not only have the rates increased the anti-drug messages have increased as well by the mass media medium. Particular attention is to be drawn by the suggestions made by teens in the 2004 survey to the medium in which they preferred to receive anti-drug messages from are shows, concerts, carnivals and the like5 which by their very nature are devoid of sending out anti-drug messages. What can be identified from the reports supplied by the Narcotics Division of Hong Kong6 is the drugs that youths are taking is suggestive of what the youths are in search of. Psychotropic substances throughout the 3 year reported period has increased on average by 99%7 annually. In comparison to the survey in 2004, the usage of this particular category of substance has risen, this should send the clear and concise solution that the methods and approaches adopted are not effective and have only enhanced the awareness to abuse drugs rather than to refuse it. Psychotropic substances by their very nature are substances that distort perception, reality and surroundings. Attacking the central nervous system and altering the brains function to facilitate “temporary changes in perception, mood, consciousness and behaviour8” suggests that youths are relieving boredom by consuming substances of this nature. The introduction of activities, interests and ideas that negate youths from conjuring up feelings of boredom is of utmost importance and necessity to ensuring the decrease of substance abuse. Any further introduction of resource kits, enhancement of anti-drug education and campaigns would increase the rate at an even more rapid speed. The philosophy and psychology of this is simply that humans by their very nature will respond to whatever subject is laid out in front of them. For a youth who has not been afforded the time to develop and identify their own individual mental capacity which an average adult has, the constant reminder of what not to do translates as a challenge of what to do in order for them to decide for themselves that they don't want to do it. Unfortunately by this point the youth is generally an adult by age and time and any steps to challenge and change the problem would take time, strength and effort by which as an adult having to merely face the time alone to do right by their previous wrongs deters them from actually doing it.

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http://www.nd.gov.hk/pdf/2004_Survey_of_Drug_Use_among_Students.pdf (page 68) Online information and resources available at http://www.nd.gov.hk http://www.legco.gov.hk/yr08-09/english/sec/library/0809in12-e.pdf (page 5) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychoactive_drug

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