Pubdate: Sat, 01 Apr 2006
Source: Antigua Sun (Antigua)
Copyright: 2006 SUN Printing & Publishing LTD
Author: Robert Sharpe


Dear Editor:

Good intentions are no substitute for effective drug education. 
Independent evaluations of Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) 
have found the programme to be either ineffective or counterproductive.

The scare tactics used do more harm than good. Students who realise 
they've been lied to about marijuana may make the mistake of assuming 
that harder drugs like cocaine are relatively harmless as well. This 
is a recipe for disaster.

Drug education programmes 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 drug use cannot be 
overstated. School-based extracurricular activities have also been 
shown to reduce drug use.  They keep kids busy during the hours 
they're most likely to get into trouble.

In order for drug education to effectively reduce harm, it has to be 
credible. The most popular recreational drug and the one most closely 
associated with violent behaviour is often overlooked. That drug is 
alcohol, and it takes far more lives each year than all illegal drugs 
combined. Alcohol may be legal, but it's still the number one drug problem.


Robert Sharpe, MPA 
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