Pubdate: Tue, 17 Sep 2002
Source: Hub, The (CN NT)
Page 4
Copyright: 2002 The Hub
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (D.A.R.E.)
Bookmark: (Youth)


To the editor:

re: Dare program to benefit from Oldtimers Hockey program (Sept. 4 Hub)

Good intentions are no substitute for effective drug prevention.

While Canadian schools are just beginning to implement the Drug Abuse 
Resistance Education program, schools in the U.S. are dropping it.

Every independent methodologically sound 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've been lied to about marijuana often make the mistake of assuming 
that harder drugs like heroin are relatively harmless as well.  This is a 
recipe for disaster.  Drug education programs must be reality-based or they 
may backfire when kids are inevitably exposed to drug use among their peers.

The importance of parental involvement in reducing adolescent drug use 
cannot be overstated.  School-based extracurricular activities have also 
been shown to reduce drug use by keeping kids busy during the hours they're 
most prone to getting into trouble.

In order for drug education to be effective it has to be credible.

The most popular recreational drug and the one mos closely associated with 
violent behaviour is often overlooked by parents.  That drug is alcohol, 
and it takes far more lives every year than all illegal drugs combined.

Alcohol may be legal, but it's still the number one drug problem.

Robert Sharpe, Drug Policy Alliance, Washington, DC
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