ALEXANDRIA, VA—As part of an effort to provide young people with the tools necessary to make responsible decisions, a coalition of the nation’s leading anti-drug activists launched a new initiative Tuesday with the goal of teaching teenagers to resist pressure from psychiatrists to use drugs. “A lot of teens just don’t know how to say no when drugs are constantly pushed on them by mental health professionals, and we aim to remedy that,” campaign director Karen Thorpe said of the initiative, which will implement programs at high schools and middle schools nationwide in which 13-to-18-year-olds can discuss times they have felt coerced into trying controlled substances during therapy sessions, and will provide them with methods to avoid the influence and persuasive tactics of drug-pushing psychiatrists. “These kids see their friends and classmates using drugs in middle school, or even elementary school, and they start to think it’s normal. We have to break that cycle. These kids need to know that just because the person pressuring them to use drugs is older than they are and uses forceful language, that does not mean using drugs is a good idea.” While Thorpe said the program is a great start, she noted that the systemic problem couldn’t be fully addressed until the government shows the will to take on the handful of large, powerful groups that are behind the drugs’ production and distribution.
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