Pubdate: Sat, 15 Dec 2007
Source: Newsday (NY)
Copyright: 2007 Newsday Inc.
Author: Robert Sharpe


Not only does Drug Abuse Resistance Education not work, but it could 
be putting students at greater risk for drug use ["Dare to end the 
DARE program," Editorial, Dec. 6].

Independent evaluations of DARE have found the program to be either 
ineffective or counterproductive. The scare tactics used do more harm 
than good. Students who realize they've been lied to about marijuana 
may make the mistake of assuming that harder drugs like cocaine and 
heroin are relatively harmless as well.

This is a recipe for disaster. Drug education programs 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 also have been 
shown to reduce drug use. They keep kids busy during the hours 
they're most likely to get into trouble. 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 behavior 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 No. 1 drug problem.

Robert Sharpe

Editor's note: The writer is policy analyst for Common Sense for Drug Policy.

Washington, D.C.
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