Monday, November 21, 2005

Devastating epidemic sweeps schools nationwide

Four ambulances had to be rushed to Hutchinson High School in Minnesota last week after students suffered the devastating effects of... anti-meth education.

Former meth addict David Parnell's presentation includes gruesome photos of the aftermath of a failed suicide attempt in which he shot himself under the chin. The touring program is apparently so powerful that it has caused students across the country to faint in droves.

"It's happened a couple times," he said, noting that about a dozen of the close to 100,000 teens he has talked to have fainted during his presentation.

"It's really graphic," he said of his PowerPoint slide show that features not only before-and-after photos of Parnell, but also pictures showing the physical ravages of meth use on other addicts. "But many of the kids have said they felt the pictures were important to see. It's graphic, but it's reality."

What kind of message is Parnell's pro-fainting presentation sending in a time when we're doing all we can to get kids to just say "no" to fainting?


Jonathan Perri said...

Let's hope his presentation includes the dangers of Assault Rifles.

Ross Wilson said...

I wonder if parents signed consent forms for their children to view the presentations. Generally schools require parental consent for their minor children to view graphic, violent, or sexually explicit material at school.

Jason said...

Being in Minnesota, the meth mania is thick here. This is one of many such presentations that have gone on in the state this year. In fact, there's an LTE in today's paper praising this one ("Graphic and Effective" ).

One presentation I went to a couple of months ago featured such tidbits as a former user telling scare stories about staying up for three weeks at a time, and a doctor on the panel talking anti-harm-reduction quotes taken directly from But when it came time for audience discussion, several people questioned the "twelve-step model" of pushing abstinence only. There seemed to be a greater consensus towards an approach which stresses understanding, and letting people with serious problems know that their friends will be there when they're ready for help.

The problem is in the approach. And it's no coincidence that all the extreme rhetoric is rising about the same time, with the government promoting such presentations through networks like

It's preaching to the choir here to say that this approach fails, and the reform community is leading the way toward sanity. But maybe someone could tell me how much government cash is being doled out to produce these meth workshops? Is it a line-item in the ONDCP budget? And what could local activists do to stay on top of them? How can we follow their scheduling, where can we get talking points for them? Any ideas are appreciated.

Jason said...

Pardon me, a website I mentioned above should have been