Editorial: DARE's Downfall  

Editorial: DARE's Downfall  
Posted by FoM on February 20, 2001 at 06:58:32 PT
Source: Providence Journal
DARE, the most widely used drug prevention program in the nation, has been less than successful, its leaders now reluctantly admit. But unwilling to cede failure, they are retooling the program, with hopes of making it more effective. It took a string of studies to convince DARE of what many Americans long sensed. Not infrequently, the ubiquitous DARE T-shirts are seen on teenagers in an unusual mood. 
Research concluded that DARE's power to deter drug use tends to evaporate by the senior year of high school. Some even suggested that the DARE program actually encouraged drug use, by making it seem more common than it was. The fault with the 18-year-old program appears to have been its simplistic message. Aimed at younger children, it employed police officers to preach against drug use, while ignoring the complex factors that may induce youngsters to experiment. Millions of federal, state and local dollars later, DARE now plans to target children in the seventh grade rather than the fifth. Instead of lecturing on the evils of drugs, police officers will act more as coaches, encouraging students to question their own assumptions about what it takes to fit in, and helping them to handle peer pressure. Students in the ninth grade will get a booster program. Most Americans know that at least some youngsters are bound to experiment with drugs. But they long for some tool or sea change that will reduce the numbers. What families teach their children especially by example remains the most crucial factor in whether children take up drugs. But youngsters should also be taught what role they unwittingly play in the scourge we have come to call "the drug wars." In nations such as Colombia, the price for our recreational appetite is widespread lawlessness, terror and death. And that will remain the case so long as narcotics are illegal. This is not something fifth-graders are likely to understand. But we ought to challenge our teenagers to understand it. The DARE program has been used in 75 percent of the nation's school dstricts. But its days of easy money are over. Last year, the U.S. Education Department announced it would no longer permit its dollars to go to DARE, since there was no scientific proof that the program worked. DARE's revamped program, supported by a $13.7 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, will be under much greater pressure to deliver results. That is a welcome step forward from the days of "just say no." Source: Providence Journal, The (RI) Published: February 20, 2001Copyright: 2001 The Providence Journal Company Address: 75 Fountain St., Providence RI 02902 Contact: letters Website: Articles:School Anti-Drug Effort Tries New Approach Say No To DARE DARE Archives 
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Comment #1 posted by Kevin Hebert on February 20, 2001 at 11:33:29 PT:
The Logical Fallacies Are Amazing
"In nations such as Colombia, the price for our recreational appetite is widespread lawlessness, terror and death. And that will remain the case so long as narcotics are illegal."Hmm. So, why not legalize them then? Or, is it better to BLAME KIDS for this?"Hey, Sondra, stop doing coke -- you're killing kids in Columbia."Ridiculous.
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