Pubdate: Fri, 03 May 2002
Source: Times, The (LA)
Copyright: 2002 The Times
Author: Stan White, Robert Sharpe


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.

Robert Sharpe

Program officer

Drug Policy Alliance

Washington, D.C.

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.

Stan White

Dillon, Co
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