IF I RAN FOR LOCAL OFFICE
Speech to the Hawkesbury community on combatting the area’s drug problem through education.
Thompson Square, Windsor, NSW, Australia
Listen to the speech here:
Good afternoon ladies and gentleman. Thank you all for coming out here today, in beautiful Thompson Square here in the heart of Windsor.
I’m not here today to push a political agenda, nor am I here to beg you to vote for me in the upcoming election. I’m here today to talk about an issue in this area. It’s not an easy issue to talk about, but it needs to be done. And we can’t lie with our heads in the sand anymore.
This area, the Hawkesbury, has a drug problem. Sure, drugs aren’t new in this area, but the problem has never quite been this bad. There are ways as a community that we can combat this, but it must start and end with all of us, all the way. Keeping quiet, not asking your kids questions about drugs, denying the truth will not fix this problem!
Like they say, the first step to solving a problem is admitting you have one, and the Hawkesbury certainly does have one, but it can be fixed. Believe me, I will do everything in my power to start improving this area and getting life back to the way it used to be. Less violence and less addiction, and an overall better place to live. That is my goal for the Hawkesbury.
Education is of key importance when it comes to deterring drug use. I know drug education has improved, but it is not nearly as hard-hitting and truthful as it needs to be. Teenagers in high school won’t care if a drug makes their heart rate speed up, or slow down. They won’t care if you will suffer loss of appetite from taking a drug. And they certainly won’t care, in fact they will feel more inclined to take a drug if we teach them that they will feel euphoric on it.
What teenagers will care about or at least should care about is seeing the real long-term effects that drugs have on someone’s families and themselves. They should care about a mother not being able to have a conversation with her son or daughter anymore because she is no longer talking to a child, she is talking to a drug. They should care about an addict’s skin becoming so scarred and scabbed from picking it because they are hallucinating that there are bugs under their skin. They should care about being homeless, lost and confused without any hope left from selling everything they owned to get more drugs.
They should care about dying from an overdose, tearing their family and friends apart because no matter how much they told them to stop, they just didn’t listen.
People often tell me that showing high school students these truths about drug use, especially the use of ice and heroin, is simply too shocking. Well I say to them that if we need to shock, if we need to show these kids the absolute truth, the real effects that these drugs have not only on the individual but the people around them, then let’s do it! If shocking these kids works, if they think twice or three times before touching a drug because of hard hitting truthful education, then I don’t care how shocking or hard it is to watch, we need to do something!
Therefore, I propose a local government funded initiative, that will help this community. There are groups of former drug addicts, that have recovered and travel around to different rehab meetings, and events that help people see the true effects of drugs and make them want to change their lives.
So, my proposal is “Why don’t these people come to our schools to talk to teenagers?” My reason for this is because our society is hell bent on getting people off drugs, there’s rehab centres everywhere, there’s thousands of programs out there, there’s government funded weening programs like the methadone program to get people to give up their drug use. Yet, there is little to no focus on preventing people, especially teenagers from ever touching them in the first place! Prevention is better than cure, remember that.
I would ask for you all to support me in my push to get year 10 students and possibly younger, to have to take place in a mandatory school program that deals with the real-life problems and issues, as well as physical effects that drugs have on the body, mind and life of a user. I ask for you to support me in pushing for a government funded program that sees former addicts, as well as affected families, parents and friends of drug users to come and speak to students about the real dangers of drugs.
There is a chronic cycle of drug use in the Hawkesbury, grandfathers and grandmothers have passed their habits on to their sons and daughters and they have passed it on to the teenagers of today. The problem is worsening, and if we keep sweeping it under the rug or sugar coating the effects of ice and heroin, we will never progress and we will never fix this issue.
I ask for this program to be implemented in all public and private schools in our area, because kids need to know the truth. Why do we have car crash victims, sexually transmitted infection victims et cetera to come in and talk to our youth about the dangers of driving and the dangers of unprotected sex, yet we have no hard-hitting program like that for drug use. It’s time to change this community. Education is of key importance when it comes to deterring drug use.
You may ask me, “What do you know about all this anyway?” Well, I’ve seen my family go through it, I’ve seen my uncle pass on his heroin addiction to his daughter. I’ve seen the vicious cycle that drug addiction can have on a family and on individuals. I know in my heart that if there was more education for them both to access, they probably would have said no to begin with.
I know proper drug education as I have proposed today isn’t going to solve all these problems. I know it won’t stop everyone in the Hawkesbury taking drugs. But we need to start somewhere, and we must all work together in trying to solve this issue. Drug education, programs that focus on prevention rather than cure, will have a positive impact on our community.
With any problem, to solve it, it takes one step at a time. So, as a community, I think it’s time we took our first step. Thank you.