Partnership for a Drug-Free America to Break
Survey Confidentiality "To Save These Kids."
Alarmed by the 48 percent use of marijuana by 11th and 12th graders in 1997, the Partnership for a Drug-Free America has decided to break the confidentiality seal of its ongoing Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS).
"We have records on 9,712 children, teens, and parents, the majority of whom, according to our PATS survey, need our help," said Richard D. Bonnette, president & CEO of the Partnership. "This is a medical emergency, and we are responding." Each questionnaires has a unique code, known only to the Partnership, that allows the identification of a participant should an emergency arise.
"The PATS study shows we have a marijuana epidemic on our hands," said Partnership President Bonnette. "If we knew the whereabouts of 9,712 typhoid carriers, wouldn’t we cast aside inconsequential promises of confidentiality and get them help—and keep them from infecting millions more?"
The Partnership will provide local DARE-trained police officers with the names and addresses of the participants, along with a copies of their questionnaires. "DARE officers are well trained to handle situations like this," said Partnership President Bonnette. "We have nothing to fear; DARE is here!"
Although the participants were promised confidentiality and did not know about the coding, "All’s fair in love and war," said Partnership cochairman William J. Bennett, "and this is both. We love these kids, and we’re at war with drugs."
Dr. Bennett first suggested the bold tactic of breaking the PATS confidentiality. "It was a tough choice to make. I had to carefully consider it for almost five minutes before making up my mind. That’s like the average person thinking about it for two or three weeks."
"I looked at the PATS survey numbers and saw that 21 percent of the parents knew their teenager used marijuana—21 percent!" Dr. Bennett continued. "And when these parents were asked, ‘Did you contact your local police department DARE officer for help with this terrible, terrible problem?’ less than 7 percent said yes. Less than 7 percent!"
"Why are these parents not imprisoned for abandoning the moral leadership in their households?" asked Dr. Bennett, sipping his Dewar’s White Label. "Why are the children still in these permissive environments where drug addiction flourishes and not in Christian foster homes where they can be salvaged—perhaps even saved?" Dr. Bennett added, his voice choked with emotion and potato chips, "We have to save these kids from marijuana addiction and teach them a lesson by the way we ‘get tough’ with their irresponsible parents."
"I’m not sure jail is exactly the answer for all the parents," said fellow PDFA cochairman Governor Mario Cuomo. "It is for some, of course, but not all. In some cases, the teen should go to jail. I think we need a government program to deal with this new marijuana tragedy, a tragedy that parallels the iniquity of the Holocaust. Perhaps we could build some prisons where an entire family could be housed in one cell. I hate to see families broken up."
The Drug Enforcement Administration has kindly agreed to trace the fingerprints on each questionnaire. "This is the least the taxpayers can do for such a fine organization as the Partnership for a Drug-Free America," said DEA Administrator Thomas Constantine. "If the fingerprints on the questionnaires don’t match any in our files, we’ll start new files. It will make a big difference to have the fingerprints of future drug criminals when they are eight or nine."
Past PATS questionnaires of the same children will also be unsealed. "We’ll get the hardened marijuana addicts first," said Partnership President Bonnette. "We’ve found that some of the sixth graders started in fourth grade. These kids are a menace to any elementary school and should be removed at once, for their own sake and the sake of the other children."
The Partnership survey found that 60 percent of sixth graders did not want to hear their parents talk any more about "how bad drugs are for you." "We have ways of making them listen," said Dr. Bennett with his distinctive chuckle, finishing off a quart of Miracle Whip with a spoon.
More than 71 percent of the children, the Partnership study revealed, had friends who use marijuana. "Why aren’t these kids telling their local police about this criminal activity?" asked Dr. Bennett "It’s outrageous. Have they no sense of right and wrong?" he asked, lighting a Marlboro. "I’m so upset, I’ve started smoking again. It calms my nerves."
"I think we should have the government offer a reward and a witness protection program for all kids who love their unfortunate marijuana-addicted friends enough to turn them in," added Governor Cuomo, downing a triple espresso. "We have been trying to let kids know that real friends turn each other in—it’s an act of love. Why are we having so much trouble getting this message across?" he asked, ordering himself another bottle of wine.
"When I was Drug Czar," said Dr. Bennett, lighting a cigar, "I proposed making it a federal crime to know about someone else’s marijuana use and not informing the police at once. It was part of my same bill that called for the public beheading of drug users. For some incomprehensible reason, Congress failed to act. Democrats!"
A gleam in his eye, Dr. Bennett called over the dessert cart. "What to see my imitation of Monica Lewinski?" he asked Governor Cuomo and Partnership President Bonnette. With that, Dr. Bennett picked up a chocolate éclair, placed it to his lips, and swallowed it whole. "It’s like eating raw oysters," Dr. Bennett explained, as his companions convulsed. "I don’t even chew anymore."
"If this program works," said president Bonnette, wiping tears of laughter from his eyes and returning to the serious matter at hand, "next year we’ll send out hundreds of thousands—maybe millions—of confidential questionnaires."
"That’s what I’m looking forward to," said Dr. Bennett. "Millions of arrests in one day. Critical mass."
"And we all know how critical Mass is," laughed fellow Catholic Governor Cuomo, slipping the waitress his private phone number.