An ongoing trend in internet research is for websites to allow comments, replies and shares which allow the reader to create a discussion about the subject matter. Unfortunately, in the field of drug education, comments translate into inaccurate information that is later passed on as factual science and news. Lately, we’ve seen an increase in the volume of “online” opinions being reported back to us in the classroom. It is a high tech telephone game of misinformation. Referencing comments about articles is not factual or scientific; nor is it a consensus – it is simply the echo of opinion.
Over the course of a year we review thousands of articles, news reports, science journals and case studies which have comments attached. People who comment on drugs articles represent a wide range of roles and careers such as doctors, nurses, family members of addicts, teachers, and counselors who all have real life experience and something to add to the conversation. Unfortunately, not everyone has something helpful to say; some are terribly misinformed know-it-alls. Others are teenagers who have so little life experience that they’ve never seen any damage from drugs, so they assume there are no dangers involved. Pro-drug advocates often seem to have the loudest voice and will comment on anything and everything.
For years, we’ve warned teachers, librarians and parents about using the internet for research due to the proliferation of pro-drug websites. Today, we want to warn you about using comments. They are usually nothing more than a finger on the pulse of one group of people who are interested in the subject at hand. People who portray replies to an article as factual perpetuate rumors and ignorance. We all need to work together to watch where our students get their information for debates, classroom discussions and reports.