Pubdate: Fri, 29 Nov 2002
Source: Poughkeepsie Journal (NY)
Copyright: 2002 Poughkeepsie Journal
Author: George Sutherland Jr.


This letter is in response to Officer Robert J. Benson's recent letter, 
"Anti-DARE column negative and wrong."

I am 19 and a graduate of the DARE program in the Valley Central School 
district, so I have seen all that DARE has to offer children. I'm 
disappointed to say the DARE program has not stopped me or my classmates 
from experimenting with drugs, alcohol or tobacco products.

Mr. Robinson brings facts like these into the spotlight so we can evaluate 
our system of drug education. Benson claims Mr. Robinson bashes the DARE 
program when really he is stating facts.

If the DARE program is so effective, then why are kids still trying drugs? 
It's not about being pro-marijuana, it's about being an anti-jail activist. 
Who is to decide whether personal use of drugs is a criminal and morally 
wrong act?

As a student in DARE I saw kids laugh at what we were taught. Why is that? 
Kids shouldn't think it's a joke. The way DARE should be taught is not the 
"DARE to say no!" idea but the "DARE to think for yourself!" idea. Base the 
program on more drug facts and useful information than just "It's illegal 
and bad for you."

In his letter, Benson states, "I, for one, won't ever quit teaching and 
trying to help these children." But most kids aren't looking for help, 
they're just fine. If I drink alcohol or smoke marijuana in moderation, do 
I need help? I don't think so. We need to dare the education system to come 
up with a better, more-effective way to teach children about drugs.

George Sutherland Jr.

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