D.A.R.E. to Create a Program That Works

Why are these people so happy?

Are they celebrating their anniversary, 40 years and counting? Or did they just ask their doctor about Levitra? Actually, they're smiling about the good news, that "Teen drug use continues to decline in America, and use of Ecstasy is down by 25 percent in two years." I'd be happy about that too and everything, but is it really arranging flowers (sniffle-free!) and windsurfing through fields of ragweed, Allegra good news? I didn't think so.

Silly pictures aside, there is an actual post I want to do here. If you went to school when I went to school you remember the D.A.R.E. program. And if you're from my age group you know that the results of the program are hardly something to smile about. Drug use actually increased in the group of kids receiving the original D.A.R.E. program. Why? Probably the same reason many parents objected to it in the first place: too much information about the specific drugs and their use.

Back in the day the officer came into your classroom and would tell you all this information, "This drug increases your heart rate and blood pressure, and if you do it long enough you can get cancer. This drug plays with your emotions and can psychologically scar you for life. This drug is addictive after only one use." For me, as someone who was not liable to use drugs very early on anyway, the drug education approach was effective. If someone offered me a drug then I would know all about it and therefore all the reasons I didn't want to do it. But you have to be incredibly naive to not know that in the majority of kids, all this is going to do is feed their curiosity and produce the opposite effect you want.

Except for that one major flaw, D.A.R.E. is a really good idea. That's why I'm happy the program has revised its mission statement:
D.A.R.E. gives children the skills needed to recognize and resist the subtle and overt pressures that cause them to experiment with drugs or become involved in gangs or violent activities.

I read through most of the basic information on the site, and from what I gather the new D.A.R.E program forgets about drug education and instead emphasizes learning to resist peer pressures (not the singular,"peer pressure," which was always kind of a dumb concept).

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