Had the end of year meeting that I assume is standard with the youth coordinator. She asked the standard questions, how I was doing, the direction I'd like to see YRUU heading in ("Life is stressful, but I'm ok" and "With more religion. I think we're too much like a scout troop as is," respectively.)
And the youth coordinator mentioned what folks want to do next year. There's teaching OWL, and the Drug Education program.
"I could do OWL, though I'd rather lead discussions about faith. What's the drug education program?"
"Well, it's sort of like OWL for drugs. THe focus is on minimizing harm. We talk about why people do take drugs the health effects of doing so and how they can do it most safely if they are going to."
All the sudden I knew exactly how religious conservatives feel when faced with OWL.
"But recreational drugs are bad for everybody," I said. "I mean, everyone agrees that meth seriously fucks you up, but people will say marijuana is harmless. Given my students and my friends who've smoked it regularly I really don't believe that. Pot smokers rarely understand how bad they smell and how obvious the odor is. When I smell that on a GRE student, I can almost always go to my grade book and find little homework done and lower scores. And the long term pot smokers I know are a lot like the long term alcoholics. If you have something that takes the pain away every time life gets difficult, you really don't develop into a whole person. My experience is, like alocholics, pot smokers are often little children emotionally."
(Which, I understand, is not to say that every person who smokes pot regularly is a little kid emotionally though the anecdotal correlation is strong, at least in my life. But the teenage years and young adult years are when we, for good reasons and less important ones, do some of our most intense feeling. It seems like a pretty important time. Emotionally, we should all be there for it, IMHO. Though I'm sure people who quit using or quit drinking grow up eventually. Well, some of them do. Jokes about the president not welcome.)
The youth coordinator had sat attentively through all of this, which is to her credit as it was basically a rant. She said comforting things about how our youth generally show distate for drugs and we agreed that I was better off teaching OWL or talking about religion.
For what it's worth, if adults want to screw themselves up emotionally, that really is up to them. I don't love that my tax money goes to fix them up again, but I can see that it is the least bad option. I can even see that the drug war is not working and we should try something else, though I don't think we as a religion have much business crusading on the issue for the same reason I don't like it when we crusade on other political issues.