Got a new box of Scruples

Very exciting.

The Little Man and I enjoy walking around the neighbourhood on weekends looking for garage sales and today I struck gold with a mint 2nd edition copy of A Question of Scruples, still with the original 1986 Wool-co price tag on it, $19.99 reduced to $12.50. A real garage sale bargain at $3, let me tell you. Mint be damned, this was opened as soon as I got it home. The Man and I spent many an hour pondering how to answer the questions posed in the 3rd edition. It was nice to find another box of what ifs.

I think the bulk of the writing I’ll do for this blog will, quite frankly, focus on answering questions out of this box as if this were an “Ask an Atheist” Q&A. Saves me doing a lot of extra reading to get a post ready, and anything that will speed me up and get me back in the swing will be the “easy” stuff.

Other topics and ideas may crop up again in time. Until then, feel free to post your own answers to the questions posed, should the mood suit.

A heavy first:

Your teenage son tells you in strict confidence about a friend who is taking cocaine. You know the parents are not aware. Do you warn them?

My first instinct is to promote Kids Help Phone. I remember the ads from my youth and all they promised in terms of a compassionate ear and anonymity.

In terms of what I would personally do, hell if I know. I guess it would depend on a few factors.

How well do I know the parents and the kid in question? If it’s a case where I don’t know these people and only my son’s close with the family, I would feel strange taking this to the parents. If I were friends with the family, I’d still feel weird bringing it up.

Is it “just” cocaine or has this kid been getting deep into the crack, as it were? What sort of addiction fears would we be looking at? An article out of the Guardian from 2009 reported on a study regarding cocaine and how it was never published in the States because it:

descended into outright heresy. “Occasional cocaine use does not typically lead to severe or even minor physical or social problems … a minority of people … use casually for a short or long period, and suffer little or no negative consequences.”

And finally: “Use of coca leaves appears to have no negative health effects and has positive, therapeutic, sacred and social functions for indigenous Andean populations.”

At the point where mild cocaine use was described in positive tones the Americans presumably blew some kind of outrage fuse.

Not to say I’m saying to this hypothetical kid, go nuts, science is on your side…

I mentioned to the Man this first not so easy question and read it out to him. He wondered immediately about level of use, as in, was this friend confessing his/her first ever use of coke to our kid, or admitting to a problem spanning several months? Good point. And, he also said he’d definitely tell the other parents whether he was close to the family or not. Vital information about their kid and his/her possible downward spiral, after all. And, he mentioned, he’d hate to be put into a position where the family (if we knew them well or not) later asked us how and when we knew their child had a problem. It’d hardly make us look good to say we’d known for half a year or something. Too true.

I still like the anonymity route, myself. Encourage our kid to help his friend find help, through some kind of crisis service program or intervention. Get the parents involved, obviously, but maybe try to make the friend be the one admitting help is needed? Having the parents run ripshod over this kid’s life might be part of why he or she turned to drugs in the first place.

Well, that’s the best answer to the question I can come up with at the moment. Thoughts?

EDIT July 6: I see why journalists record all their conversations before writing things. I goofed the paraphrasing of my Sweetie’s thoughts on the matter. He’d definitely want to tell the parents if we knew them well, but it would depend a bit on where the kid’s at in terms of use. If it’s just been a couple times and the kid can be encouraged to seek out better alternatives to drug use for problem solving then maybe the parents wouldn’t necessarily need to be made aware of the usage.

One of the reasons I like writing posts based around Scruples questions is because I’m a fan of thought experiments. I also like to use them to fight the fallacy that atheists are moral vacuums because we don’t have a god pointing out what’s right and wrong.

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2 Responses to Got a new box of Scruples

  1. N. E. White says:

    I wouldn’t tell them.

    As you said, I’d encourage my son to be supportive and help his friend get help (if he needs it, and damn well make sure my kid isn’t having a problem with it either), but the friend’s parents are on their own.

    Unless I saw their kid do something damaging to himself or others, I just wouldn’t mention it. Seems like gossip or hearsay. Who’s to say my son is tell me the truth? Maybe he’s just saying it’s his friend when it is really him that he’s talking about?

  2. 1minionsopinion says:

    Yeah, that’s also a possibility we didn’t think of at the time. The hope always is to be the parent a kid would want to look up to and trust with the big issues but who knows unless it’s actually happening to you..

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