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February 1985

Adolescent Drug Use

Author Affiliations

225 13th St, Apt 5E Brooklyn, NY 11215

Am J Dis Child. 1985;139(2):113. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1985.02140040011003

Sir.—Dr Macdonald's assessment1 of adolescent drug use is simplistic. One of my first thoughts on reading his review was that adolescents appear to thrive on self-destructive risk taking; why, except as a response to or a part of the process and pain of growing up? Informed self-determination, then, is a right not to be denied. Another dangerous game is sexual experimentation; teenagers need to be allowed to make some of their own decisions, so we have concentrated on improving their information. But while parents may have some idea of sexual experimentation from their own experience, they have almost no notion of drug use and only an understandable fear and worry with which to react.

I am sympathetic with Dr Macdonald's situation and recognize the urgent issues raised for pediatricians, but I find grave fault in his arguments. Dr Macdonald's logic and rhetoric are fallacious. He blames the symptom,