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News (Media Awareness Project) - US CO: PUB LTE: D.A.R.E.'s Scare Tactics The Wrong Message
Title:US CO: PUB LTE: D.A.R.E.'s Scare Tactics The Wrong Message
Published On:2011-12-20
Source:Summit Daily News (CO)
Fetched On:2011-12-22 06:00:54

The importance of parental involvement in reducing adolescent drug
use cannot be overstated. School-based extracurricular activities
also have been shown to reduce drug use. They keep kids busy during
the hours they're most likely to get into trouble. In order for drug
prevention efforts to effectively reduce harm, they must be
reality-based. The most popular drug and the one most closely
associated with violent behavior is often overlooked by parents. 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.

For decades, school-based drug prevention efforts have been dominated
by sensationalist programs like Drug Abuse Resistance Education. Good
intentions are no substitute for effective drug education.
Independent evaluations of DARE have found the program to be
ineffective or counterproductive. DARE's scare tactics 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.

Robert Sharpe, MPA, Policy Analyst Common Sense for Drug Policy, Arlington, Va.
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