Drug Education in Schools.

Geraldine Silverman,Chairman
Millburn Municipal Alliance for Drug Awareness
NJ Federation for Drug Free Communities
Life Member of the New Jersey PTA’s
23 Audubon Court
Short Hills, NJ 07078-1812 1-973-376-8927

July 18,2005

Ms. Anna Weselak, President, National PTA
541 North Fairbanks Court, Suite 1300
Chicago, Illinois 60611-3396

Dear President Weselak:

I am writing to you as Chairman of the Millburn Municipal Alliance, an officer of the New Jersey Federation for Drug Free Communities, a Life Member of the New Jersey State PTA, and a local, state and nationally recognized figure in the field of prevention.

In the May, 1981 issue of PTA Today, Virginia Sparling, then President of the National PTA wrote, “As we review the activities of PTA members in their fight to protect their children from destruction by drugs, marijuana in particular, we see the PTA’s Human Network – a network of people who care about children and have a common commitment to promote the well-being of children in the home, school and community – functioning at its highest potential.”

The New Jersey PTA’s have upheld all these goals and has been recognized as a leader in legislation on “21” laws, drug paraphernalia laws and seat belts laws. We also pride ourselves for seeing our New Jersey PTA President, Manya Ungar, rise to become the National PTA President in the mid 1980’s, furthering all our goals for all the nation’s children.

The National, State and Local PTA’s have always been dedicated to inform parents, teachers and students as to the dangers of drug use and to oppose the sale of illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia. By uniting with one voice, one consistent “no use” message regarding children, we were successful in dramatically reducing illicit drug use by our children from 1981 to 1992 as documented by the studies and reports from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), PRIDE and the annual Michigan Survey done on youth and drugs.1

What changed? We began to see a swing upwards by adolescents using illicit drugs, from 1992 to 2000. There were several reasons among which was the Clinton’s Administration downgrading the Drug Czar’s staff to a mere skeleton, the glamorization of illicit drug use by Hollywood and MTV, an explosion of teen age pregnancies, more single parent homes, more working parents and above all a well financed pro-drug legalization organization came into being, today known as the Drug Policy Alliance which promotes the philosophy that drug use by youth is inevitable and can best be remedied with “harm reduction” programs and attitudes.

As a drug prevention specialist with 27 years of experience, I can state for a fact that drug use is not inevitable. To even suggest that our children can take drugs responsibly without becoming addicted, flies in the face of the reality that no one knows who will or who will not become addicted.

I am very concerned to learn that the National PTA, for the past two years has had Marsha Rosenbaum, a ranking leader in the Drug Policy Alliance, an active proponent of drug legalization and the “harm reduction” philosophy, conduct workshops on “Teens and Drugs.” By having her as a speaker, National PTA has acknowledged her philosophy of “responsible use,” and has set many of us back in our efforts to promote a “no use message.”

I firmly believe that the majority of State PTA’s still believes that our youth have the right to grow up free from drugs and that we must all accept responsibility for making that goal a reality. With every parent, every teacher and every student who is reached, the PTA’s will have moved one step closer to achieving the goal of eradicating drug use among our children. Hopefully, in the future, the National PTA will reconsider having people like Marsha Rosenbaum from the DPA or other pro-legalization organizations, conduct workshops at your annual convention. We need National PTA to once again rejoin the state and local PTA’s in “one voice, one message, no use.”


Geraldine Silverman, Chairman Millburn Municipal Alliance, NJ Fed. for Drug Free Communities and Life Member NJ State PTA

1. The use of all drugs by all ages was reduced in the USA by over 60% between 1979 and 1990 – due mainly to the work of over 8,000 parent groups which spoke out loudly and clearly against ‘responsible use’ drug education programmes.

The NDPA would respectfully suggest to all parents who read this section of our website to visit their local schools and ask to see which drug education materials are being used in the classrooms and to request that so-called harm reduction policies (another term for ‘responsible use’) are abandoned and replaced with genuine drug prevention messages. It is not inevitable or normal for young people to do drugs and the majority of our youth remain drug-free, it is therefore imperative that schools ‘drug education and prevention’ materials s do not give covert acceptance of drug use messages in the classrooms. Please contact the NDPA for further information on drug education.

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