Pubdate: Wed, 28 Apr 2010
Source: Valley Echo, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2010 The Valley Echo
Author: Russell Barth


As a Federally Licensed Medical Marijuana User who is also married to 
one, I consider DARE nothing less than a government-sponsored hate-crime.

Sending military cops in to teach kids about drugs is like sending in 
a priest to teach them about sex: "Just don't, or you will be in trouble."

Also, the fact that taxpayers' dollars are used for this fear and 
fealty campaign is sick and reprehensible in the extreme. It should 
be illegal to go into schools and deliberately frighten and mislead 
kids, but no, we use taxpayers' dollars and send cops in to do it! It 
isn't just irresponsible, it is obscene!

Indoctrinations, certificates, slogans, promises and vows - all of it 
has proven to be of little help and at least some harm. Don't believe 
me? Since DARE first started in the 1980s, drug use among Canadian 
teens has quadrupled!

DARE has repeatedly proven to be outrageously counterproductive. 
Maybe because it exaggerates the so-called "dangers" of marijuana, 
while ignoring - or even decrying - its many proven medical 
applications. When kids are lied to about one thing, they are less 
likely to believe you when you actually do tell the truth about drugs 
like meth and heroin.

And who can blame them? We live in a culture that glamourizes sex, 
fun, danger, thrills, law-scoffing, risk-taking, rule-breaking, 
power, wealth-acquisition and authority-resisting. We advertise 
booze, fast cars, fast food, violent movies and video games and drugs 
of all kinds right on TV! Then we tell kids that "drugs are 
bad."  Does anyone still believe that kids don't notice this wild 
hypocrisy? A ruse by any other name... ?

There is also a misconception in our society that suggests that only 
drug abstinence is to be encouraged and admired. Humans have used 
drugs longer than we have been using language, and drug use is 
implicated in the creation of all of the world's major religions. We 
should not be trying to "prevent" drug use, we should be trying to 
maximize the benefits while mitigating the dangers, and bamboozling 
kids with fear-mongering, misinformation, and balderdash is not going to help.

Telling kids to "never" use certain drugs is like telling them to 
never see a certain genre of movie, never go to an amusement park or 
exotic country, or never do anything at all that may be both risky 
and fun. It teaches them to be afraid of new things, instead of 
curious, and as history has shown, fortune favours the adventurous. 
Sensible, moderate, well-informed drug use is no more harmful, 
dangerous, or immoral than any one of dozens of other activities 
humans participate in every day. And if you think "drugs" have 
nothing good to offer society, then throw away every CD you own.

For those keen on teaching kids about drugs without all the 
hyperbole, spin, sloganeering, and bald-faced lies of the standard 
"education" programs, I recommend the Canadian Students For Sensible 
Drug Policy website at , the Educators For Sensible 
Drug Policy website at , or the Law Enforcement Against 
Prohibition website at .

Russell Barth,

Nepean, Ontario
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