Where’s the outrage?


One thing that there’s no shortage of on social media is outrage. Democrats are outraged about Trump. Republicans are outraged about Hillary (and Trump).

And apparently everybody’s outraged about underground power lines.

Whether on social media or real life, sometimes it seems that there isn’t enough outrage where it’s truly warranted. That’s why it was encouraging recently to see some genuine outrage from the Board of Selectmen when they got the results of the 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey for Wakefield.

Wakefield’s Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator Catherine Dhingra was at the selectmen’s meeting to go over the latest Youth Risk Behavior Survey results.

There were a number of alarming statistics that came out of the 2017 YRBS, not the least of which is that regular marijuana use spiked 10 percent among Wakefield High School students in the past year. And 25 percent of WHS students admit to driving while stoned.

Selectman Brian Falvey made the painfully obvious observation that we’ve brought a lot of this on ourselves, especially when it comes to marijuana.

“We’ve voted as a society that this is culturally acceptable,” he said, “so why would you expect anything different than for kids to find it culturally acceptable.”

You don’t need a study to know that legalization leads to increased availability, and increased availability translates to increased access among youth.

And yet, pot apologists twist and spin all kinds of data in an effort to disprove what everyone with four brain cells knows is true; a year ago, we sent a huge signal to the kids of this state that marijuana use is OK. And at the same time, we made it more available.

And now, the results are right in front of us on the Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

Selectman Tony Longo looked at the YRBS and repeated his oft stated and very legitimate concern about potent marijuana edibles getting into the hands of kids.

Selectman Ed Dombroski said that he thought he was pretty tuned in to what’s going on in town. But some of the YRBS results floored him.

“What more can we do?” he asked Dhingra.

“I would love people to be more outraged,” she said, “and have the courage to stand up when something isn’t OK.”

You’ll find all kinds of adults on Facebook forums who are the opposite of outraged about increased pot use among kids.

Pot is no big deal, they say. If alcohol is legal, pot should be too. They’d rather kids smoked a little weed than drink. And smoking pot and driving is better than drinking and driving. We all did it. Hell, some of us still do.
And we turned out OK…
Didn’t we?

And then you click through to their Facebook profiles and see pictures of them with their own kids. Even more disturbing, a few of these marijuana defenders admit that they’re teachers!

And you wonder why marijuana use is rampant among high school students.

I’m dating myself, but when I was a youth, I took it as an article of faith that my parents and teachers disapproved of drug use – even pot. I had to go out on the street to find someone who believed that weed was harmless. Today’s kids just have to look across the dinner table or to the front of the classroom. Or on Facebook.

Where’s the outrage?

[This column originally appeared in the November 16, 2017 Wakefield Daily Item.]

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