Parents would be better off accepting that their kids will experiment with drugs and instead focus their efforts on educating them about the real consequences of substance abuse, a local pediatrician told parents at a forum held in City Hall Thursday night.
For the past 30 years, parents, educators and law enforcement officials have been telling kids to “just say no” to drugs, but according to Dr. Leonard “Skip” Baker, that approach is destined to fail.
Baker, a founding member of the Community Prevention Council and the founder of the Descanso Medical Center for Development and Learning, said during the “Hidden in Plain Sight” forum that the last decade has seen breakthroughs in scientific understanding of how substance abuse and addiction function. Baker said drugs of abuse, excluding hallucinogens, cause addiction by augmenting or replicating the naturally occurring chemical dopamine, which regulates the body’s reward mechanisms. These mechanisms cause the sense of satisfaction given by food, sex and drugs, and the accordant cravings for those things.