Drugs Are Evil

I can say no - coverI Can Say No
A child’s book about drug abuse

There I am, casually wandering through the catalog and this book rings a bell.  I am sure I have heard of the author and illustrator.  I take a closer look at the book and get a creepy vibe from the illustrations. Then it dawns on me. This book is by the same author and illustrator as the  Satan for Kids book  we posted on our site way back.  (The follow up post can be found here.) Same author and same illustrator. The basic story is about our young protagonist who notices his brother is donning leather jackets and sunglasses and by logical extension, doing drugs. (I guess after you are satanically abused, you light one up and start disobeying your parents.) Protagonist finally shares with Mom and Dad.  Crying and wailing follow.  Parents ground brother for a whole month and then tell him drugs won’t make him happy.

Story is weak and I am a bit biased against these kinds of “message” heavy books.  I just can’t see how reading a book will make you stop doing drugs (or start doing them for that matter). Perhaps for counseling professionals, there is a therapeutic benefit to these types of “story” books but in my opinion, they don’t work as children’s literature.  However, I will keep an open mind and I am willing to entertain suggestions of books that might be beneficial to kids growing up in a family with substance abuse issues.


Of course I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our most popular anti drug book, Latawnya the Naughty Horse in our list of past favorites. Clearly, one of the most “awful” ever featured on ALB.

I can say n o


  1. Grounding Craig for a month with no phone is a surefire method of getting him off drugs. Most kids that the book was aimed at would even find this lame.

  2. The drug using brother looks like he has, not only a leather jacket, but leather sweatpants. I guess tough guys always wear leather. That trip back to memory lane and the satanic rituals was fun!

  3. “Craig! You are grounded for leaving the door open and letting all the heat out and for tracking in those lovely colored Autumn leaves!”
    Why does the Dad look like he’s 80 years old?

  4. i like the second image: i guess doing drugs makes you seduce your grandpa. john stamos is gettin’ grounded

  5. “I just can’t see how reading a book will make you stop doing drugs”

    Then obviously you never read GO ASK ALICE during your formative years!

    Getting back to today’s featured book: I like how Mom goes for the “pelt him with cliches” cure.

    1. I stand corrected! I forgot about Go Ask Alice. You are right! That book might do it! Mary

  6. If their son is that old and a rebellious (assumed) drug abuser, do you really think telling him “you’re grounded” is going to result in anything more than him just ignoring that and leaving anyway? Most likely he’d go stay with his druggy friends for the month (if not longer).

    Things like this that take the “Reefer Madness” approach (overhyping the dangers of drugs with loads of misinformation) tend to have the opposite affect of what was intended.

  7. So, if your (apparently 34-year-old) kid starts dressing and acting like a 50’s greaser, he’s on drugs?

  8. Ah yes. “Just Say No.” Every bit as successful as telling the suicidally depressed to “Turn that frown upside down!”

    Guess what, kids? Drugs are… a vacation. If you start wanting a vacation every day, or even every week, then it’s time to check yourself.

  9. Somehow I missed _Go Ask Alice_ back in the early 70s. But I did have to sit through hours and hours of anti-drug classes. Knowing what I know about my generation I’d say the school system wasted their money.

  10. “By the time a child enters junior high school he will be forced to say yes or no to drugs.”

    I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but that seems a tad overdramatic. I’m 21 and no one’s ever offered me drugs. I’ve never had to use any of that “just say no” stuff they taught us.

    Although I did always find it kind of funny that even though they kept saying “just say no,” what they ACTUALLY taught us to do was to make up some lame excuse that in no way outright stated you didn’t want to do drugs, just that you had a reason not to. I always figured if I were the sort of person to try to convince someone to do drugs, I’d be less likely to argue against “Sorry, I’m not into that sort of thing” than “Sorry, man, I have homework to do tonight.” Like they care about your homework.

    Anyway, back to the book…grounding? Really? For one month? That’s…I have nothing to say to that. Ridiculous.

  11. I read Jami’s link and I feel like my seventeen year old self was hoaxed back in high school when I read Go Ask Alice. Oddly enough, I never thought it was the best work of fiction if you wanted something that has a see what happens when you do drugs vibe. That honor still goes to a book called Crosses that I read two years before Alice. Unfortunately, that book is pretty hard to find. My high school library had it and I must have read it several times because I had a friend who experimented with lsd and other drugs when we were in high school.

  12. @Kaete: LOL!!!! I didn’t see the A-ha referance until after I read your comment. But oh, so true! (And I’m even Norwegian and had a teenage crush on Morten Harket…)

    But Junior High? Hmm, that might be… (mentally converting us school system to Norwegian) kids age 12-15, more or less?

    Wow, I wasn’t introduced to weed until I was at library school at the age of 24! Maybe I’m retarded ;-> or at last, a late bloomer?

  13. wow! Just wow! I totally agree that a book is not going to make someone start doing drugs or stop. And what’s with the “By the time a child reaches Junior High he will be forced to say yes or no to drugs” That’s overkill. I was never asked at that age. Hell, I’m 25 and still haven’t! I’ve known people that do it, but not in junior high. High school and college age are more likely to do drugs. Also, what’s with the assuming the child is a he? I know they did that back then, but in today’s society it makes it sound like only boys do drugs.

  14. I’m 34, and I’ve never been offered drugs either! Could have got them easily enough if I wanted (certainly at uni, probably at school), but no-one ever offered me any.

  15. Grew up with a brother who was a certified (and certifiable) pot-head and yet I absolutely NEVER got asked if I ever wanted any drugs. Not from him, his friends, MY friends, you name it. (Not that I was even remotely interested. Booze, on the other hand…oh yeah! THAT, I always hoped someone would offer me but, again, I was denied. It was a sad adolescence…)

    I have to agree that these hellfire-and-brimstone type anti-drug tomes are useless and, for most teens, would have the exact opposite effect.

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