Pubdate: Fri, 13 Jul 2001
Source: Waukesha Freeman (WI)
Copyright: 2001 The Waukesha Freeman
Contact: (262) 542-8259
Author: Robert Sharpe


The fact that a Waukesha County task force charged with evaluating the 
popular but controversial Drug Abuse Resistance Education program has 
already expressed support for the program is cause for alarm. Objective 
evaluators typically wait until after an evaluation is completed before 
voicing approval for a particular program.

County residents have good reason to question the DARE program. There is 
far more at stake than money. Every methodologically sound, independent 
evaluation of DARE has found the program to be either ineffective or 
counterproductive. The scare tactics used do more harm than good. Students 
who realize they are being lied to about marijuana often make the mistake 
of assuming the harder drugs are relatively harmless as well. This is a 
recipe for disaster.

Anti-drug programs need to be reality-based or they will backfire when kids 
are inevitably exposed to drug use among their peers. After almost two 
decades of DARE, heroin use among high school seniors has reached record 
levels. Minimizing drug use requires strategies based on proven 
effectiveness, not "feel-good" programs that please parents, educators and 
police. Good intentions are no substitute for effective anti-drug education.

To verify record levels of heroin use, visit the Monitoring the Future site 

Robert Sharpe, program officer the Lindesmith Center-Drug Policy Foundation
- ---
MAP posted-by: Larry Stevens