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Public Papers - 1990 - February

Remarks Announcing the Publication of ``Growing Up Drug Free: A Parent's Guide to Prevention''

1990-02-26

The President. Thank you, all of you. And welcome, all of you, and welcome to the White House. We are here, as Secretary Cavazos, our outstanding Secretary of Education, said, to unveil this little book. And I must say I cheated -- I saw it ahead of time. [Laughter] I saw it when we were walking over, and I think it's going to do a lot of good. It's titled ``Growing Up Drug Free: A Parent's Guide to Prevention,'' published by the Secretary's Department. And it's written for parents who are concerned about their kids and illustrated by a number of promising young artists who are with us today. And this guidebook is being released because we all care about kids, about keeping their futures bright with promise and keeping them free of the enslavement of drugs.

And you, like all Americans, understand that our children are our best and brightest hope. But you don't get a prep course before becoming a parent, and kids don't come with owner's manuals. They have minds and problems of their own. So, the best thing parents can do is talk to them; just as important, listen to them; and know the facts about drugs and the warning signs that a kid's in trouble. And above all, we parents can make sure that our actions are as good as our words. Where illegal drugs and alcohol abuse are concerned, for too long we have condoned what we should have condemned. And that's what this book is about -- knowing when and how to talk to your kids, when to listen, where to draw the line, and when to get help.

This guidebook sets forth simple steps that parents can take for their kids from preschool to high school. It talks about how to make your values and your high expectations known to your kids, how to remind the children that drugs kill dreams and destroy lives, how to make rules and then stick with them. And it emphasizes the importance of telling your kids when they're doing right, because every time you do, every time you help to cultivate character, you're providing another reason not to do drugs.

Schools, churches, synagogues, community groups, law enforcement -- all can help us turn the tide on drug and alcohol abuse, but none can take a parent's place. Drug education must begin at home and in the neighborhood long before the classroom.

I want to thank the young people here today, those up here and some that I see scattered out there, and thank those who did the artwork that they've done for this book -- and for the example that you all are setting for other kids all across the country. And I want to urge parents everywhere to read -- hold this for me, would you? -- [laughter] -- to read ``Growing Up Drug Free.'' With open minds and listening hearts, parents need to hear what their kids have to say. So, show your kids how ready you are just to listen. And it's often surprising how much they want to do the right thing.

And now I'd like to take this one, and one of the first copies of this parent's handbook to Ann Lynch, the president of the National PTA. Ann, it's good to see you. And that one is for you, you lucky duck.

Ms. Lynch. Thank you. I am so pleased. Thank you. On behalf of the parents, I thank you. Now I have to figure out what to do with it.

The President. Thank you all very much.

Note: The President spoke at 3:05 p.m. in Room 450 of the Old Executive Office Building.

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