"Drugs? No that couldn't happen in our house. We would know about it instantly. Thus spake a lawyer to a friend. His wife, subdued, rang the friend the following day to say that she had found drugs paraphernalia under her own son's bed on returning home.
Drug abuse is a problem that can affect any family. A few months after withdrawing our son from a distinguished public school for non-performance, my wife and I discovered that he had been using drugs for much of his time there. Only now, two years on, has he by a superhuman effort conquered his abuse of drugs – predominantly cannabis but also LSD, amphetamines and ecstasy.
People may say it's only cannabis, forget the legislation. But apart from the damage to the individual, these drugs destroy families.
There is no stigma in admitting to a problem which can only be addressed by families working with schools and others, to at least delay children's temptation to take drugs until they have had the chance to grow up. I urge you to attend a conference which will be held in the House of Commons on 4 November at 6.30pm.
George Howarth, Home Office Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, will open the conference and Trevor Grice, an eminent New Zealand counsellor, will introduce his book, The Great Brain Robbery. Leading psycho-pharmacologist Heather Ashton, will present scientific evidence while Patrick Tobin, chairman of the Headmaster's Conference, will give the independent schools' perspective. I shall end with a parent's viewpoint.
Tickets are £35 per head (which includes a light supper) and may be obtained from Mrs Caroline Noortman, 48 Chipstead Street, London SW6 3SS, Tel 0171 736 5105.
Cameron Mackie, Homeloan Management, North Yorkshire.