At school, the Free-Ride offspring have been celebrating Red Ribbon Week. For the lower grades, this mostly amounts to wearing sunglasses or crazy socks or whatever that day’s Red Ribbon “theme” calls for. But there is also a wee bit of discussion in the classroom about drugs. The Free-Ride parents decided to see what the sprogs had learned:
Dr. Free-Ride’s better half: So what did you guys learn from Red Ribbon Week?
Younger offspring: We shouldn’t take drugs.
Dr. Free-Ride’s better half: What’s a drug?
Elder offspring: Tobacco’s a drug.
Younger offspring: Yeah, tobacco can hurt your lungs and your heart.
Dr. Free-Ride: Sure, tobacco is one example of a drug. But are all drugs like tobacco?
Elder offspring: Is our toothpaste a drug?
Younger offspring: Huh?
Elder offspring: There’s a label on the toothpaste tube that says “Drug Facts”.
Dr. Free-Ride: I guess that means they’re counting the fluoride in the toothpaste as a drug. What about when one of you gets sick with a fever?
Elder offspring: The fever medicine is a drug.
Dr. Free-Ride’s better half: Saying no to drugs doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the medicine we or the doctor give you when you’re sick, does it?
Elder offspring: No.
Dr. Free-Ride: So does “drug” mean something like a chemical that will have some kind of effect on your body?
Dr. Free-Ride’s better half: Hmmm….
Dr. Free-Ride: Because some of those effects can be good — like reducing a fever — and other effects can be bad — like hurting your lungs.
Elder offspring: Lice shampoo also has a “Drug Facts” label.
Dr. Free-Ride’s better half: Should that really count as a drug? You’re not ingesting it, you’re using it to poison the lice — so it’s not affecting your physiology, but the louse’s.
Dr. Free-Ride: Dude, I didn’t make the labeling rules.
Elder offspring: Coffee!
Dr. Free-Ride: That’s right, coffee has caffeine, and caffeine is a drug.
Elder offspring: Chocolate also contains caffeine.
Younger offspring: (Horrified) You mean when I eat chocolate I’m eating drugs?!
Dr. Free-Ride: Yes, but we make sure you don’t eat so much that it would hurt you.
Dr. Free-Ride’s better half: If it would make you feel better, you can say no to chocolate.
Younger offspring: No. As long as you say I can have chocolate, that’s alright.