Home > Uncategorized > Drugs in Graphing Calculators and Teddy Bears? The DEA Wants Parents to Be Wary!

Drugs in Graphing Calculators and Teddy Bears? The DEA Wants Parents to Be Wary!

In an article whose content would not be out of place in the Borowitz Report or The Onion, Christopher Ingraham’s Washington Post op ed piece describes a bizarre tweet from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) that provides a link to a page entitled “Hiding Places” at getsmartaboutdrugs.gov, “a DEA resource for parents, educators and caregivers.”

And where does the DEA think your child be hiding drugs? In alarm clocks, graphing calculators, highlighters, shoes, candy wrappers, posters, heating vents, teddy bears, car interiors, and game consoles. As Ingraham writes:

The general take-home message of the page — and of the “getsmartaboutdrugs” website in general — is that seemingly innocuous objects and behaviors can be signs of a life-ruining drug habit. Candy wrappers, belt buckles, ski caps, glow sticks and pacifiers are all potential pieces of drug paraphernalia, according to the site.

Warning signs of teen drug use include “disinterest in school,” “lack of interest in clothing,” new friends, and “excessive attempts to be alone.”

The categories are so broad as to be practically meaningless, a reflection, in part, of the DEA’s worldview that drugs are everywhere and everyone is a potential criminal.

Ingraham takes a light-hearted approach to this, underscoring it’s preposterousness by noting that “Among teens, use of illicit drugs other than marijuana is near historic lows and marijuana use is flat or falling.” and concluding with this quip:

So parents, take heart: If your kid seems really into her graphing calculator, all it really means is that she’s well on her way to a career as a successful engineer.

I wish I found this to be humorous, but instead I see it as part of the insidious direction our government has taken us for decades, one that preys on our fears and suspicions instead of our faith in our fellow man.

Because we are fearful that isolated incidents of terrorism we are subjected to ever more invasive scrutiny in our travels. Because one terrorist used a shoe bomb we ALL remove our shoes to board planes. Because one terrorist used some kind of gel-like explosive we need to remove our shampoo from our carry on luggage. Because one individual used an underwear bomb we are now subject to body scans and on occasion pat downs. And in order to provide this security we have spent millions of dollars on security technology and millions annually on trained TSA personnel.

Because of isolated incidents of school shootings, we now lock the doors to our schools, provide surveillance cameras, and often provide police officers to monitor students. We also place strictures on the information students can access while they are under the supervision of schools and ask schools to assume responsibility for “bullying” communications that take place outside of school. And in order to provide this security we have spent millions of dollars on security equipment and millions annually on non-instructional staff in schools. Worse, we are effectively training our youth to be comfortable in a world where their every move is monitored and their communications might be limited.

Because of isolated incidents of armed robberies we provide 24/7 surveillance on many of our streets and because of isolated incidents of violence by police we are providing body-cams to ensure the safety of innocent citizens. And in order to provide these additional layers of security we have spent millions of dollars on equipment. Worse, we are reinforcing the notion that neither our fellow citizens nor the police can be trusted.

I look at the billions spent to promote fear and reinforce docility and contrast it with the relative pittance spent on mental health, addictions counseling, and the safety net programs and wonder where our country is headed. As one who read and valued George Orwell’s insights, I think I know.

 

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