Friday, November 29, 2013

Public forums & uncivil behavior

Over the past year, those of us working in the youth substance abuse prevention field have been asked repeatedly, "Where was the voice of prevention?" during the I-502 debate.  "Where are they now?"

There are several responses to this question.  One is that there are not that many of us specifically in the field of substance abuse prevention.  Most of us who are working to prevent youth substance use are direct service providers and do not feel comfortable with policy work.  In addition, most of us receive federal funding, precluding us from activities that may be construed as "lobbying".

What happened during a recent medical marijuana hearing conducted by the Liquor Control Board in Lacey provides another example of why people concerned with youth substance use don't voice concerns publicly.

The person who was on the receiving end of the bird flip was a WASAVP board member.  After making her comments she felt so unsafe in the raucous crowd that two colleagues escorted her out of the auditorium and to her car.  They were pushed and shoved along the way.

Another WASAVP board member reported, "The noise level where I was sitting was such that it was hurting my ear.  I left out of self preservation.  [A colleague] sitting next to me didn't feel safe, so she left about a half hour before I did."  

(Thank you to Bob Young for publicly calling out the uncivil behavior.)

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