It’s high time we step out of the dark ages of abstinence only teachings and use our educational resources to instruct in harm reduction methods to young adults.
College is a time of great experimentation. It is a time when most people are experiencing their first real taste of freedom and independence. As a result of this it also happens to be a time when people face great risks, often while not truly understanding those risks or how to manage them wisely.
After twelve years of public school indoctrination about abstinence and sobriety, these young adults find themselves ill-equipped to understand the things they are now more likely than ever to experiment with. Our culture has a naive obsession of looking the other way and singing la-la-la rather than facing the reality of human behavior. If we face that reality we would realize that it would make a hell of a lot of sense to use the college experience as a place to teach harm reduction.
For those reading this who don’t know, harm reduction is the process of educating people how to engage in risky behaviors in the safest ways possible. It’s like a rope-use class for rock climbers. And telling people, “Just don’t scale cliffs,” is a poor strategy for preventing tragedies.
I have been pondering such a curriculum for years. A continuous journey of self education and my own experiences have taught me a lot of the potential benefits and pitfalls of various types of sexual encounters, drug use and other types of shenanigans that regular folks, especially young adults, are likely to engage in. If people like me were given a forum to share our knowledge and experience it could lead to a lot less negative outcomes and tragedies.
So I am putting the idea out there. How about instead of saying, “Don’t do that,” when we know people likely will anyway – we instead say, “Before you even consider doing that you should know what you are getting into and how to avoid the worst possible outcomes if you do decide to.”
The delusional desires and irrational moral posturing of puritanical prohibitionists make at-risk individuals more vulnerable. It gets people hurt, killed and caught in decisions they can never escape. And to what purpose?
Not only that, but illicit recreational activities can also have some very beneficial outcomes, so why not train people how to make the most of a potentially dangerous activity if they are going to do it anyway?
If you are an educator and you are interested in discussing this idea, please reach out to me on the Dank Space Facebook page or by using the Contact form. Others might pass this article along to someone who could be interested in the idea.
And before you say, “But that will cause people to…”
Harm reduction education causes risky behavior like proper training in safety line usage causes falling off cliffs.