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FCD Workshops Warn Against Drug Abuse

Pot. Speed. Acid. Andover students discussed all those and more over the past week as representatives from Freedom from Chemical Dependency, a program that recruits former drug users to speak about their experiences, visited campus. The 46 FCD course offerings included classics such as “Heavy Hitters” and “Acid and ‘Shrooms,” as well as several new classes. Associate Dean of Students ‘Cilla Bonney-Smith, who organized FCD week, said that this year’s classes differed from those of previous years by stressing the relationship between drugs and the law. Ms. Bonney-Smith believes that Phillips Academy students do not fully comprehend the implications of drug experimentation. According to Ms. Bonney-Smith, drugs abuse has become a part of culture, especially in college. In the FCD workshops “How to Build a Criminal Record” and “Alcohol is No Excuse,” Boston prosecutor Brian Cullen detailed the legal consequences of illegal drug use. He emphasized the fact that a criminal record cannot be erased. Whenever a person applies for a job, potential employers examine their criminal records alongside their resumes. While Mr. Cullen focused largely on alcohol, Will Slotnik, who gave a presentation called “Marijuana and the Law,” discussed not only the legal consequences of pot use, but also how legalization or decriminalization of marijuana would affect teenagers in general and in the Phillips Academy community in particular. Ms. Bonney-Smith said that this year, Andover faculty members were more involved in the FCD workshops. Instructor in Math and Varsity Baseball Coach Andrew Cline taught the workshop “Dip and Chew,” which focused on the dangers of chewing tobacco. Teaching fellows Kate Anderson and Jesse Marcum taught “Recipe for Trouble,” a workshop exploring the relationship between alcohol and date rape in college life. Several successful workshops that were new last year were brought back for this year’s FCD week. They included “Intercontinental Highs” and “Alcohol and Depression.” In “Intercontinental Highs,” a panel of international students led by teaching fellow in physics Kate Anderson and organized by Daniel Hoyos ’05, a Colombian native, discussed the uses of cigarettes and alcohol in various parts of the world. When Phillips Academy first offered “Alcohol and Depression” last year, Ms. Bonney-Smith feared that few students would come to the class because of the serious and deeply personal subject matter. The workshop was, however, extremely popular. The organizers of FCD week decide to continue a workshop based on the evaluations submitted by participating students. Ms. Bonney-Smith was especially interested to see how students responded to the Philomathean Society debate about the contentious issue of using breathalyzer tests on campus. Some contend that a breathalyzer test would help to clear the name of a student falsely accused of alcohol abuse. Others claim that the test would be an intrusive invasion of students’ privacy. Ms. Bonney-Smith believes that the use of breathalyzers might “stop the lying” about alcohol abuse on campus. She noted that Andover and Exeter are the only two boarding schools in the country not to administer breathalyzer tests.