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Archbishop's letter warns on reality TV drugs link

Archbishop Philip Wilson has written to all young people in Catholic schools in his Adelaide Archdiocese to warn them of the harsh reality of drug and alcohol abuse that is often glamourised by so-called reality TV programs.

"There is a fascination in watching people in different situations, often where their beliefs and moral behaviour are contrary to our beliefs," he wrote. "These programs often avoid reality itself."

"There is no glamour in being drunk, in vomiting, having anxiety attacks and heart failure or in trying to care for a friend in any of these situations," he said.

The letter was prompted by public discussion that followed an incident at Adelaide's Heaven Nightclub in which five young females and one male were taken to hospital with suspected drug overdoses.

With Heaven Nightclub and police both refusing to accept responsibility for controlling drug use, Archbishop Wilson is appealing to the young people themselves.

Archbishop Wilson urged the students to take responsibility for their own drug use.

"I ask you earnestly to reflect on these matters very carefully and discuss them with your parents and with your teachers, school counsellors and each other, I trust, along with these discussions and with their guidance, you will come to responsible decisions that will ensure your safety and that of your friends."

Meanwhile, Bishop Eugene Hurley of South Australia's Port Pirie Diocese yesterday opened BoysTown Fatima Youth Services. The project is a joint initiative of Boystown, Australia's largest youth charity, and the Diocese.

BoysTown has a history of working with marginalised young people, particularly in the areas of homelessness, family problems, disengagement from school, drug and alcohol issues and mental health.

A Special Letter to all Students in Catholic Secondary Schools in the Archdiocese of Adelaide (Archbishop Philip Wilson)
Port Pirie Help for youth (The Advertiser 25/2/04 - payment required)

Church writes to students on drugs (891 ABC Adelaide Mornings Reloaded - interview with Archbishop Philip Wilson, audio on demand) | Transcript
Drug controversy: Who will act? (The Advertiser 10/2/04)
School kids overdose on ecstasy ( 11/2/04)
Heaven Nightclub
Archdiocese of Adelaide

25 Feb 2004