Let’s be clear, everybody, and we do mean every single person on the plant, starts out life as a kind of ‘wheelbarrow’. Now wheelbarrows are empty and powerless vessels that are filled by someone else and pushed by someone else. This is not a bad thing, it’s a design factor. Humans, like no other creature, are created with very little ‘pre-loaded’ stuff – What we do have is an incredible faculty and capacity to learn and learn big!  

However, as this is done over a long period of time and only done in connection, in relationship, to other human-beings, how you develop and grow heavily depends on who or what is filling you and pushing you and why. 

Up until you hit puberty, you’re set up to learn by that input and instruction. Once you hit puberty, your learning, your input and what you let direct you begins to be determined more by you…. Ah, but how you were prepared (or not) for that stage is a huge factor in you making smarter, wiser, safer, and sound developmental choices. So, the question is, who or what is influencing you and is it the best? (Click here for more)

NO! is one of the most empowering protective factors in the toolkit of well-being.  We aggressively – and rightly so – promote campaigns that are unashamedly protective and at the centre of these messages is always a prohibition – a ‘NO.’

  • We say NO to violence against women and children 
  • We say NO to Bullying and abuse
  • We say NO to an ‘acceptable’ road toll through the ZERO campaign
  • We say NO to Tobacco through the QUIT Campaign 
  • We say NO to Crime, to Littering, to Neglect to various abuses and so on….
  • We say NO to things that harm, hurt, diminish and/or take from our children, families, and communities.

But there seems to be one exception that is trumpeted from a small but increasingly influential group.

The pro-drug protagonists in our culture continue to wage a War FOR Drugs, and a key tool in their kit is that you, ‘CAN’T SAY NO TO DRUGS!’

Why? Because they say, “it’s a ridiculous expectation on a ‘freedom’ focused culture!” or the other fallacious meme “Kids are rebellious, they’re always going to try stuff, and saying NO, is just pointless.”

All behaviour is learned, and the above toxic postures are not protective. All they are doing is teaching a generation to self-harm, not self-actualize.

What an individual says ‘NO’ to is one of the most profound indicators of what they value. 

It is not a prohibition posture; it is a protective one. As ‘fences’ can be used at times to keep things in or out – as if ‘restrictive’,  most often fences are used to ‘keep people from’ danger.

A person’s NO does not just point at what they put down, but more, it directs us to what they want to pick up instead. 

The formative years of both Brain and Body development from birth to around 28 years of age, are the time when protective factors are most needed, not denied.

What is concerning is that this War FOR Drugs – this ‘You Can’t Say NO to Drugs’ ridicule – means that the developing person has only two choices left; to say ‘Yes’ or ‘Maybe’ to drug use. From this now manipulated place of being disempowered to walk away from substance use, we create a likelihood of engagement. What is most disturbing about this, is that it is the use of substances that contributes to, or exacerbates, almost all the things we are trying to say NO to in our culture

On this World Day Against Drugs, let us focus on empowering, enabling, and equipping our children and their families to enact the protective power of NO!

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The not so ‘clueless’ Nancy Regan!

The mocking line of “you can’t just say ‘NO’ to drugs!” was an attempt to malign First Lady Nancy Reagan’s Anti-drug programs when in office. However, the facts, not the pejorative meme, tell a different story…

When the Reagans moved into the White House on Jan. 20, 1981, drug use, particularly among teenagers, was hovering near the highest rates ever measured. Of that year’s graduating class, 65 % had used drugs in their lifetimes and a remarkable 37 % were regular drug users. Eight years later, when the Reagans left Washington, only 19.7 % of 1989’s graduating class were regular drug users, a 47 % reduction.  And the trend that began under their leadership persisted until it reached an all-time low of 14.4 % in 1992, 61 % lower than 1981.

While it is too simplistic to credit Nancy Reagan alone with this downturn, it is impossible to ignore her leadership and the massive  shift she led against the drug culture. Her off the-cuff response to a young Oakland girl who asked her what to do if confronted with drugs  became a clarion call: “Just say no.”

But this powerful protective option in best-health and well-being practice is being aggressively eroded by small but vociferous pro-drug actors in the public square. Actors who are being aided and abetted, not so much by ‘pushers’, but more disturbingly, promotors in the political and policy making space.

The capacity to exercise NO particularly in the incredibly self-harming drug use space should be bolstered not diminished. The Dalgarno Institute continues to work tirelessly with its very limited resources to put up relevant, contemporary, engageable and evidence-based resources to empower the ‘NO’ for our vulnerable young.
This World Day Against Drugs, take the time to exercise, and help others exercise, best practice health and well-being around #toxic #drugs

“Don’t Drug Yourself Down!”



Can't say no!? (You Can't Say No to Drugs 101)



The Thief (You Can't Say No to Drugs 105)



One thing for everything (You Can't Say No to Drugs 106)


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Also check out – “It’s my Right to Use Drugs!” Video and “Wreckreational Drug Use” Graphic Novelette


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Check out Caring in Crises – #RecoveryPosse Stigma – Drug Use & Proactive Contagions to Reduce Both


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