Pubdate: Sat, 20 Jan 2007
Source: Lufkin Daily News (TX)
Copyright: 2007 Cox Texas Newspapers, L.P. - The Lufkin Daily News
Author:  Stephen Heath
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (D.A.R.E.)


Re: 300-Plus Lufkin Fifth-Graders DARE To Stay Away From Drugs (Feb 12)

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?"

I would add that DARE makes no allowance for what kids should do if 
they turn out to be one of the 80 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.
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