Everytime a person dies, knowledge is lost. The only way to preserve that knowledge is to communicate it to the following generation. We can aide this process by writing books etcetera, but then there is still the burden of teaching the next generation to appreciate those books. To have any continuity then between one generation and the next, there must be communication. If one generation does not communicate with the next, the lessons of the former are lost to the latter.
Assuming that the above is true, we can conclude that some problems may be caused by this lack of communication. One such problem is recreational drugs. I work in a pub and notice that children and teens will stare through the doors and windows for hours on end. The few small children allowed inside will ask their parents for a pint of beer and the parents will laugh, thinking it adorable. The adults see the children as naive and inexperienced. The children on the other hand see alcohol as a totem of adulthood and ultimately power. A tension then exists in which both generations acknowledge an experience gap, yet are prohibited from transferring that experience due to its potential dangers.
The years pass by and these same children drink alcohol illicitly with their friends and later in clubs geared toward a young adult clientele. With no experience to guide them, they learn the hard way that alcohol consumption can lead to embarrassment, compromising situations and in some cases addiction, disease and death.
Now let us imagine that at the age of 15, rather than drinking with their friends in secret, these teens drank at a bar. Surrounded by adults with some experience of drinking and drunkenness. Receiving alcohol from an experienced bartender who knows when to cut a customer off. A relatively safe environment to pass knowledge from one generation to another. Would it aide in reducing negative incidents and problems?
The main objection I foresee is that this is delivering a message that the consumption of alcohol by adolescents is to be condoned. As I have stated however, adolescents are already encouraged to drink if only by their thirst for experience and for what they perceive as an adult pastime. You could then argue that perhaps we should change the culture and ban alcohol, however prohibition does not have a sound historical record and would likely make the problem worse. Then there is the emotional appeal to the likelihood of calamity. It is my opinion that such calamity is the very reason for bringing youth alcohol consumption into the light of a legitimate public house atmosphere.
Another objection would be that if such a program works for alcohol, why not heroin? Why not indeed. This fact probably does not aide my argument, however bringing heroin use out into the light would likely cure many of the ills associated with its usage. Indeed if we look at the situation in Portugal
, when drug use was decriminalised, many of the associated problems decreased. Where as the EU's continued prohibition during the same period was associated with an increase in the usual problems i.e. AIDs, criminality, addiction and prevalence.
Is it time then to take a perhaps uncomfortable look at ourselves, our society, our policies and what we are teaching the next generation? I think so.