DrugSense FOCUS Alert # 162 March 1, 2000 

DrugSense FOCUS Alert # 162 March 1, 2000 
Posted by FoM on March 01, 2000 at 11:04:30 PT
Detroit News Shows How DARE Fails Kids 
Source: MapInc.
The Detroit News ran several articles on the DARE program this week. Like others who have attempted to take an objective look at the widely used "drug education" program, editorialists at the newspaper concluded that the DARE program doesn't have any measurable effect on drug use. The editorial also notes that DARE "may even be making matters worse." 
(See the editorial and links to other articles from the series below.) While the series of articles contains the standard apologies from DARE supporters who like the program because it makes them feel good, the scope of the series allows some critics of DARE to have their say without being contradicted. In particular, the article "Some Schools Opt Out Of Program" gives school administrators a chance to say why they dropped the program without having to respond to criticism from DARE supporters. Please write a letter to the Detroit News to thank for the series and to express support for the conclusion that DARE has failed kids. Thanks for your effort and support. WRITE A LETTER TODAYIt's not what others do it's what YOU do PLEASE SEND US A COPY OF YOUR LETTER OR TELL US WHAT YOU DID (Letter, Phone, fax etc.)Please post a copy your letter or report your action to the sent letter list (sentlet if you are subscribed, or by E-mailing a copy directly to MGreer Your letter will then be forwarded to the list with so others can learn from your efforts and be motivated to follow suit This is VERY IMPORTANT as it is the only way we have of gauging our impact and effectiveness.CONTACT INFO:Source: Detroit News (MI) Contact: letters ARTICLE:US MI: Editorial: Drugs: Dare to be Honest: URL: Newshawk: MAP - Making a Difference with Your Help Pubdate: Tue, 29 Feb 2000 Source: Detroit News (MI) Copyright: 2000, The Detroit News Contact: letters Feedback: Website: Index for the D.A.R.E. FAILING OUR KIDS series: Sun, 27 Feb 2000:D.A.R.E. Doesn't Work: DARE Wary Of Outside Reviews: Some Schools Opt Out Of Program: Officers Become School Favorites: Officers Hope To Make A Difference: Analysis Tracks Students' Drug Use: Mon, 28 Feb 2000:DARE's Clout Smothers Other Drug Programs: Raves Thrive As Teen Drug Havens: Parents Struggle When Discussing Drugs With Teens: Tips For Parents: Parents' Anti-Drug Resource Guide [many website links], 29 Feb 2000:Editorial: Drugs: Dare to be Honest Cops Key to DARE Success, Failure DARE TO BE HONESTA 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. SAMPLE LETTERTo the Editor of the Detroit News, Thank you for the series exploring the failure of DARE. The editorial "Drugs: DARE to be Honest," was particularly insightful when it discussed the "boomerang" effect of DARE. When young people realize that DARE officers and others have been exaggerating the dangers of marijuana, they naturally wonder whether warnings about more destructive drugs are exaggerated as well.Of course, this problem is not unique to DARE. It plagues the whole big, dumb, destructive war on drugs. Anti-drug crusaders don't want honesty. They are offended by objective analysis, like that offered by the Detroit News. These crusaders may be successful at fooling themselves, but they aren't fooling many of the kids they are supposedly trying to save. And in the process, these young people are learning troubling lessons, not only about drugs, but about the nature of authority. When I was young, I was taught that honesty is the best policy. Will the drug warriors who blindly support DARE ever learn that lesson for themselves?Stephen YoungIMPORTANT: Always include your address and telephone number Please note: If you choose to use this letter as a model please modify it at least somewhat so that the paper does not receive numerous copies of the same letter and so that the original author receives credit for his/her work. ADDITIONAL INFO to help you in your letter writing efforts:3 Tips for Letter Writers: Letter Writers Style Guide: TO SUBSCRIBE, DONATE, VOLUNTEER TO HELP, OR UPDATE YOUR EMAIL:TO SUBSCRIBE SEE: UNSUBSCRIBE SEE: Prepared by Stephen Young Focus Alert Specialist Related Articles From CannabisNews plus MapInc. & DARE Archives: Dare to be Honest’s Clout Smothers Other Drug Programs
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Post Comment

Name: Optional Password: 
Comment: [Please refrain from using profanity in your message]
Link URL: 
Link Title: