Just say No to DARE
by Mike Cann
Parents wishing to protect their kids from drugs should seek to protect them from DARE.
Case in point, DARE, the zero tolerance drug education program recently embarrassingly posted a satirical article to their website entitled, “Edible Marijuana Candies Kill 9 in Colorado, 12 at Coachella”. One of the funnier bits of fiction from that story, “For every one joint of marijuana, four teenagers become burdened with pregnancy.” None of it is true. The article was not only published on the DARE website but left there for over a month with no retraction or explanation after it was scrubbed from the DARE domain.
Upon discovery of the satire posted on DARE’s website, I spoke to a DARE Regional Director, Ron Brogan who stated that it was a “simple error of a story that got picked up through a filter”. Brogan refused comment on follow-up questions such as how the story remained on the DARE website for the entire month of April. He also had no comment when asked if parents should trust DARE to educate their kids when the program couldn’t differentiate real news from a satirical piece.
A little background for those not familiar with the organization, DARE is the program that brings cops without State teaching certificates into school to indoctrinate students. The DARE drug prevention curriculum foolishly makes no distinctions between the use of cannabis and heroin. “Big brother”ly DARE encourages children to snitch out their parents for drug use.
DARE has a long history of embarrassment.
In 1992, researchers at Indiana University, discovered that graduates of the D.A.R.E. program later had higher rates of hallucinogenic drug use than those never enrolled in the program.
In 2001, The US Surgeon General, Dr. David Satcher, added the program to it’s list of “Ineffective Primary Prevention Programs".
In 2003, the GAO (General Accounting Office) found that DARE had no statistically significant long-term effect on preventing youth illicit drug use and that some populations of students were more likely to use illicit drugs after being exposed to the program.
In 2009, DARE admitted their last fifteen years had been a dismal failure with a “Keepin’ it Real” curriculum re-write that touts DARE’s new love of science based curriculum but there’s little to indicate that anything has really changed beyond the way they deliver the hyperbole.
In March of this year, medical marijuana mom with Crohn’s disease, Shona Banda was raided in Kansas after her 11 year old son, spoke his truth about his mom’s use in his DARE class. He was punished for it, being removed from the custody of his mom, teaching many of the students perhaps an important lesson in that DARE class, that cops are not your friends.
It’s amazing that this dysfunctional program continues to receive federal and major corporate funding when at least one new drug education curriculum is now available, created because DARE is ineffective, useless, worse than no drug education at all.
For school systems and parents, Marsha Rosenbaum, Drug Policy Alliance, published “Safety First: A Reality-Based Approach to Teens and Drugs” in 2014. More than 300,000 copies have been downloaded. “Safety First” is offered in English, Spanish, Chinese, Hebrew, Russian, Russian and Czech versions.