Pubdate: Thu, 12 Jul 2007
Source: Thousand Oaks Acorn (CA)
Copyright: 2007 J.Bee NP Publishing, Ltd.
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (D.A.R.E.)


The city of Thousand Oaks is better off without the Drug Abuse 
Resistance Education (DARE) program.  Good intentions are no 
substitute for effective drug education. 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 methamphetamine 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 have also 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, policy analyst Common Sense for Drug Policy Washington, D.C.
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