Mixed Signals


A pamphlet issued in conjunction with the government's new anti-drug ads (which premiered yesterday during the Super Bowl) has this sensible advice for parents whose kids ask them about their own drug use: "Experts agree that it is best to be honest. Answering deceptively can cause you to lose credibility with your kids if they ever find out that you've lied to them."

That's a bit different from the position taken by George W. Bush, who in 1998 told Newsweek: ?"If I were you, I wouldn't tell your kids that you smoked pot unless you want 'em to smoke pot. I think it's important for leaders, and parents, not to send mixed signals. I don't want some kid saying, 'Well, Governor Bush tried it.' "

That's not the only way in which the pamphlet, distributed by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, contradicts the president. "Drug testing of kids," it says, "is a complicated issue and is best done within the context of a doctor-patient-parent relationship." In his State of the Union speech last month, by contrast, Bush recommended new funding for drug testing of kids in school, which he called "an effective part" of "our aggressive community-based strategy to reduce demand for illegal drugs."