Pubdate: Fri, 03 May 2002
Source: Times, The (LA)
Copyright: 2002 The Times
Authors: Stan White, Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (D.A.R.E.)


Stan White

Dillon, Co

Re: April 30 letter by Lt. Julie Harmon and Sgt. Debbie Haynes titled 
'Rally to return funding to D.A.R.E. program.'

The writer fails to mention that studies done on D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse 
Resistance Education), including government studies, show the program 
is a failure. Money used for D.A.R.E. should be applied toward 
programs that work. That includes any program that does not use the 
services of the police department, which allows police to attack real 
crime. Do the police want to help kids stay off drugs or create a job 
market and job security?

Through the dictates of police, district attorneys, etc., America has 
an unacceptable police state and prison complex, full of nonviolent 
drug and cannabis plant users, that arguably waste our money, with 
negligible results. This sequel to the original prohibition is an 
embarrassing part of American history that must end. And we must 
realize the police, through it's selfish addictions, want to continue 
and escalate this farce and proven failure.

Parents Are Best Tool Against Child Drug Use

Robert Sharpe

Program officer,
Drug Policy Alliance
Washington, D.C.

Lt. Julie Harmon and Sgt. Debbie Haynes (April 30 letter to the 
editor) ask if Louisiana Gov. Mike Foster's decision to eliminate 
funding for the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program is a step 
backward. Good intentions are no substitute for effective drug 
education. Every independent, methodologically sound evaluation of 
D.A.R.E. 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 harder drugs are relatively harmless as 
well. This is a recipe for disaster. Drug education programs must be 
reality-based or they may backfire.

The importance of parental involvement in reducing adolescent drug 
use cannot be overstated. School-based extracurricular activities 
also have 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 most often associated with 
violent behavior is often overlooked. That drug is alcohol, and it 
takes far more lives every year than all illegal drugs combined.
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