LETTER:Ecstasy and Prozac: the facts

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The Independent Online
From Miss Magdalene Andrews

Sir: As a young person of 17, I feel I must reply to Nanette Bramwell (letter, 15 November) who states that it is not parents who need to be informed about drugs, but teenagers such as myself. She writes that the emotive appeal of Mr and Mrs Betts was lost on us because we do not, as a group, watch the news. But everybody I talked to in school had heard of their daughter Leah's tragedy and knew why it had happened. This kind of thing does not deter young people from taking drugs. They see, and rightly so, 50 deaths in five years, when millions take Ecstasy every week. It is less dangerous than crossing the road.

My peers know more about these drugs than the older generation could teach us. What parents do not realise is the extent to which drugs are taken. A teacher at my school (he was also a parent) gave an assembly on how, at university, people may offer us "strange substances". He obviously did not realise that at least half the people he was addressing were habitual drug users and had been since they were 16.

We know all the names of different drugs, what they do, which ones you should not mix alcohol with, how much they cost and who to get them from, even if you don't take advantage of the information. Parents and other adults can have no authority over something they know nothing about.

Yours sincerely,

Magdalene Andrews

London, W7

19 November