Drugs: Dare to be Honest 

Drugs: Dare to be Honest 
Posted by FoM on February 29, 2000 at 07:24:58 PT
Editorial & Opinions
Source: Detroit News
A two-part series by The Detroit News reported that DARE, the multibillion-dollar, nationwide drug prevention program, is making no difference in lowering teenage drug or alcohol use in Metro Detroit . It may even be making matters worse. These findings confirm at least a dozen previous national studies.
  It may be time for schools to return responsibility for the matter to families — where it properly belongs.  The News’ investigation, based on surveys by Western Michigan University of eighth, 10th and 12th graders in Metro Detroit every two years, found that kids who have undergone the program are just as likely to use drugs as those who have not. Although some schools in recent years have dropped DARE, which stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education, the program is still offered in 70 of the 88 area districts. Yet, according to The News, 60 percent of Detroit area seniors admit to trying drugs, compared with 55 percent nationally.  Despite mounting evidence about DARE’s ineffectiveness, the program, in which uniformed police officers teach fifth and sixth graders how to resist peer pressure, remains hugely popular. Indeed, the federal government alone spends $2 billion annually on the program — with local grants, local fund raisers and donations pouring in millions more. More than $2 million is spent on the program in Metro Detroit.  Although DARE has used this money to preach drug abstinence for a quarter of a century, drug use in America has gone up in recent years: A University of Michigan study two years ago found that marijuana use among eighth graders tripled between 1991 to 1996. Similarly, other studies have found a slight increase in drug use among suburban kids who have taken DARE.  It is difficult to definitively link this increase with DARE. But the program relies on scare scenarios and blanket proscription to drive home the danger of drug use. Yet, researchers speculate, when children discover these exaggerations, they abandon all caution, creating a “boomerang” effect.  Whatever the cause of the observed increase, it is clear that the program does not provide a life-time inoculation against drug abuse. Some of DARE’s critics suggest replacing the program with its message of zero tolerance with others that emphasize how to deal with the consequences of drug use, such as an overdose. This sounds realistic, but may have the perverse effect of encouraging drug use by discussing ways to make it safe.   Drug and alcohol use is a complicated matter that simply is not amenable to a full and nuanced exploration in the classroom. It may be time to bring parents and families back into the equation and encourage them to design their own specific message for their own kids: Lulling them into a false sense of security with feel-good programs is a disservice to all.Our view:Mounting evidence that DARE, the drug-abuse prevention program, is ineffective ought to cause area schools to rethink their commitment to it.Opposing view:DARE is widely popular anti-drug school program that ought to be continued. E-mail us at letters Published: February 29, 2000 Copyright 2000, The Detroit News Related Articles:DARE’s Clout Smothers Other Drug Programs Thrive as Teen Drug Havens
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Comment #7 posted by Lehder on February 07, 2001 at 07:15:58 PT
More on drug education for children
from Drug Warriors & Their Prey , Richard Miller:American educators seldom allow students to hear alternatives to drug squad views. An exception was a high school teacher who invited a DEA representative and me to make a joint presentation. The teacher told me that not only did the DEA spokesman refuse to face me, but four different DEA detectives contacted the instructor and urged him to withdraw his invitation to me. The teacher said the DEA told him he was wrong to expose high school students to a felony drug abuser seeking to recruit young people into the drug culture. THe DEA's claims about me were fabrication, of course, and the instructor refused to withdraw his invitation, but I wonder how many public high school teachers resist such pressure. The DEA promised to send someone to the class the day after I came. I suggested that class members ask the DEA peerson why he rejected an opportunity to refute me on the spot. The kids responded instantly: "He's afraid." "He knows you have facts." "He just wants to scare us, and knows he can't succeed if you're in the room with him." Several students stated forthrightly that I had not advocated drug use at all; I had simply explained alternative ways of viewing the drug situation and presented ways of influencing drug-taking behavior without putting people in jail. Such is the information that the DEA wants to prevent teenagers from knowing.------------------------
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Comment #6 posted by Lehder on February 07, 2001 at 06:58:40 PT
government drug "education"
from Drug Warriors & Their Prey , Richard Miller:Even schools participate in the destruction of families.... The DARE program includes a "suggestion box" where students can deposit reports of persons using drugs. In front of a class a DARE officer read aloud one such note: "Someone in my famly is doing drugs and I'm worried that if I say anything it will make it worse." He then asked the class what can happen if an illegal drug is consumed. "You could die," replied one student. Noting that family members who use drugs risk death, the officer then declared, "It's probably OK to get them in trouble, if that's going to happen."...When a student mentioned her parents' marijuana use to a teacher, the teacher informed police, who then removed the child from class and interrogated her without the parents' knowledge. After getting the child to sign a statement that large quantities of marijuana and other drugs were in the house, a drug squad ransacked the residence and uncovered less than an ounce of marijuana and no other controlled substances at all. Legal expenses, on top of medical expenses from the father's cancer treatment, forced the family into bankruptcy. when a junior high school student turned in her parents after hearing an anti-drug user talk in 1986, Nancy Reagan delcared, "She must have loved her parents a great deal." ...Teaching children to hate ordinary persons targeted by government and confusing children by telling them that family love and national patriotism require them to turn in parents to authorities were keystones of public school education in the Nazi regime.----------------------------One of the speakers (Nathan Edelman?) of last year's Shadow Convention discussed the "drug education" that is shoved down the throats of children today by the government and the police. What kinds of "educators" are permited to speak to children about drugs? Police officers from DARE and "recovering" drug addicts, nobody else. It's as if, he explained, Stanford Business School were to announce a new policy for business education. Namely, from now on, the only lecturers allowed here will be 1) SEC agents and trust busters from the Justice department, and 2) businessmen who have gone bankrupt. No functioning or successful businesses will be represented. I'm not sure I recall the name of this convention speaker correctly, but I urge him to participate in any public debate, however fanciful a notion that may be. You can hear it all again at:
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Comment #5 posted by Ethan Russo, MD on February 07, 2001 at 03:40:23 PT:
Scientific Data
Steff, science can tell us whether a program like DARE works for a large group of people. It does not. Please see the proof:
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Comment #4 posted by Steffanie Barger on February 06, 2001 at 23:01:29 PT:
DARE/You'll Never Know.. But Its Needed
Why does everyone have to give DARE such a hard time? If you think about it there is really no way to judge it. How do you know which kids decided not to do drugs because of DARE? You dont know. The kids may not even know thats what it is. Its like a police department that had a lot of arrests prior to implementing plans on community policing and solutions to drugs problems. How do you know just how many people DIDNT get arrested because of a plan? - because of a seminar, a city council meeting, because of DARE? How will you ever know WHO didnt take drugs because of an officer that instilled some self esteem into a little boy? How can you ever prove that 6 kids decided NOT to go into their parents medicine cabinet or cleaning products to get high because of an officer they met in DARE? You will never know. DARE could be doing things for kids that they cant even see. Being more informed about drugs may not even be the whole picture. Yes, that is what DARE officers do, teach about drugs, but look at what else you have. Kids who see officers as people, human beings, kids who can talk to an officer as a person, not as a lights and sirens flashing vehicle going after the bad guys, but a real person with feelings who can be there when needed. You have to look at the whole picture. 
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Comment #3 posted by CongressmanSuet on February 29, 2000 at 23:51:58 PT
I agree.....
 Kap, lets not forget all the police officers who genuinely get off on being a big teacher, a big leader. You know they arent trained for dealing with children in a classroom setting properly. They come in the classroom and are automatic authority figures that garner instant respect among kids that young. Wow, all of a sudden Im a teacher and not a street cop giving out tickets, hey Im the man! Im sure the human-factor comes in to play in an incredible number of school DARE programs.
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Comment #2 posted by StoneWolf on February 29, 2000 at 16:49:11 PT:
This is exactly why the military services are shying away rapidly from the DARE program. It's just not working, never has never will. Another one of those massive multi-million dollar endeavors by our leaders in Washington and their brother-in-law type money scams! I worked with DARE and Kaptinemo is right. Stop sending a ton of tax payer money to the police departments only to see them make a trip to the schools a couple of times a year, and use the funds for other things in the department. What a bunch of book jugglers! They need to be audited, all the government grants that go for the drug one ever checks back to really see whats going on in the cities, counties and states. The only cities that are ever watched are the large ones. All the thousands of small grants that are given are wasted on a lot of useless, untrained people.
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Comment #1 posted by kaptinemo on February 29, 2000 at 07:55:04 PT
Fool me once, shame on you
Fool me twice... and I won't believe a bloody thing you say from now on.Of course, that's not how the old saying usually ends. But it describes the dynamic that DARE unthinkingly sets into motion. Because right from the git-go DARE operates from a false premise: that children are 'tabula rasa' (blank slates) whose minds can be uncritically filled with whatever information you want to. And now they are finding out just how wrong they are.Being told by policeman that cannabis is in the same league as heroin is an old ploy. (Many DARE officers are still calling cannabis a 'narcotic', by the way. They also say that MDMA is a 'narcotic' when actually it is a stimulant. They can't even get their facts straight, and they claim to be experts?) So when the kids' interest is peaked enough and the kid actually tries it, the obvious connundrum takes place and the kid has to re-evaluate all the information received. But instead of a discriminating rejection of the specific information, what usually happens is a *blanket* rejection of *all* similar information. We all know that it happens; surely the DARE officer does too. But the DARE officer is a cop and is used to having people do what he tells them to do (or else!) and takes that mindset into the classroom, assuming correctly that a uniform and a gun is an implied threat. But all too often the cop thinks, as do teachers, that once you 'program' the students, they will not stray beyond the boundaries of the programming. And that's where it all comes apart. By lying to kids, the DARE officer sets them on a path quite different from the intended one. And because of that, DARE is a big reason why little kids are trying drugs. Another example of unintended consequences.
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