LETTER: Prozac and Ecstasy: the risks

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The Independent Online
From Miss Erica Curtis and Miss Katherine Bishop

Sir: Peer pressure pushes young people under 20 into doing things that they would not otherwise do, just for the fun of it. For some, it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience; for others, it becomes a regular occurrence. Often, sadly, it does not stop there. Young people lose the fear, forget the risks, repeat the dose and are hooked.

Depending on circumstances and location, most young people show determination always to resist the temptations. They enjoy alcohol and, in moderation, believe it to be relatively harmless. Smoking cigarettes can lead on to other things. First cannabis, then harder drugs follow, if the circumstances are right.

Most young people, in our experience, would welcome a stronger stand on the use of drugs and a harder crackdown by the police on the pushers. The dealers and those in the market should get at least five years' prison, followed by probationary community service.

All users could be punished accordingly with community service plus a course of counselling. Schools must also play their part with ongoing awareness campaigns and parents must take their fair share of responsibility. Drug dealers don't care about their victims and regular users forget the risks.

Leah Betts would not have died in vain if young people learned the lesson and started their own anti-drug campaigns among their peers.

Yours faithfully,

Erica Curtis

Katherine Bishop

Westwood St Thomas Sixth Form Publishing Group

Salisbury, Wiltshire