Pubdate: Sun, 24 Sep 2006
Source: Republican, The (Springfield, MA)
Copyright: 2006 The Republican
Author: Stephen Heath
Bookmark: (D.A.R.E.)


This is in response to the article "Wilbraham's DARE under board
scrutiny." (The Republican, Sept. 19.)

It's smart business to educate our kids about the risks of using
drugs. But that message is best delivered by qualified health care
professionals and counselors, not by uniformed police officers and
DARE.  Ten- and 11-year-old kids will pretty much do whatever a cop
tells them, including the recitation of anti-drug mantras. Such
cooperation makes parents smile, but ignores that most kids of that
age are not able to ask the tough questions to a police officer.

Questions like, "Why do you view marijuana as dangerous as alcohol?"
"Why should my parents go to jail for a joint, when my friends parents
can drink alcohol daily?" "Why do I see other police officers smoking
tobacco and using alcohol on their off-hours if being drug-free is so
cool?" "Why do a lot of my friends get dosed with Ritalin et al., if
being drug-free is the best for them?"

Most lacking with DARE is that no allowance is made for what kids
should do if they turn out to be one of the 50 percent who at some
point elect to experiment with drugs between the ages of 14-18.
They're sure not likely to talk to the police. Combine this flawed
message with ill advised 'zero-tolerance' attitudes in many school
systems, and vital, honest communication is sure to be thwarted.

Wilbraham would be wise to seek out smarter alternatives to the
ill-fated DARE curriculum.


Public Relations Director

Drug Policy Forum of Florida

Clearwater FL
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MAP posted-by: Steve Heath