Sex education in schools works




On Dec. 6, the Medford Mail Tribune ran an Associated Press story, "Rate of births to teens rises for first time in 15 years." According to the CDC, teen births rose — percent from 2005 to 2006. Corresponding to that time frame, in the last decade we have spent more than $1 billion on abstinence-only programs. Now we have another piece of evidence that illustrates abstinence-only education doesn't work.




Other recent studies have shown that abstinence-only programs don't reduce the number of teen pregnancies or sexually transmitted infections. Even worse, they deny teens medically accurate information about their own bodies and how to keep themselves safe and healthy.




We have a preventable public health problem in this country &

at last count an estimated 750,000 American teens will become pregnant this year and nearly four million will contract a sexually transmitted infection.




Preventing unwanted pregnancies is an important part of helping young women to enhance their futures. Now, more than ever, we have mounting evidence that shows which methods work, and which don't. I urge you to support comprehensive sex education in our schools and to request that




your federal legislators cut funding to dangerous and costly abstinence-only programs.




Erin Wolford-Keller









Bush, Chavez seek dictatorial powers




Despite the recently released intelligence report, Mr. Bush and others continue to express fear that Iran might build nuclear weapons in the future. Fine. Every major nation has a similar potential, sooner or later. And yes, that's a disturbing idea.




But, I also find it disturbing that the rhetoric from Mssrs. Bush and Chavez, rather than diverging over time, seems to be converging. They both ignore the stated desires of the people they were elected to represent.




Mr. Chavez ignores election results; Mr. Bush ignores own administration's intelligence reports. Mr. Chavez blatantly seeks further executive power; Mr. Bush covertly tries to hold onto the power he's been taking, most recently by smartly wording his dismissal of the intelligence report.




Diana Morley









An analysis of our drug culture




As a recovering alcoholic and drug abuser, I'd like to comment on our society's treatment of similar people. It is a sad fact that America, the land of the free, has a higher percentage of its citizens behind bars than any nation except China. Most of these prisoners are convicted of crimes in one way or another connected to substance use or distribution.




However, a person falling into the downward spiral of addiction may have to wait half-a-year for entrance into a free rehab. Once there, he is likely to be brainwashed with superstitious 12-step nonsense. The addict needs to learn new habits and attitudes. When tempted, he should seek help from other humans, not a God that doesn't exist.




The rise of other sinister drugs such as crack, heroin and meth is a sign of decay in American civilization. Another indicator of this is he glorification of heavy drinking on TV, in movie, etc. Alcohol is a dangerous and addictive drug. Once identified, alcoholics should be treated as minors and giving them booze should be criminal.




I don't deny that substances, even dangerous ones like peyote and LSD, have positive uses. But even benign ones like coffee and beer can be over-used. Those who can responsibly alter their minds should be allowed to do so without police persecution. And those who develop substance problems should be provided resources other than bars and a wristband.




Sean Lawlor Nelson