Pubdate: Tue, 13 Aug 2002
Source: Waukesha Freeman (WI)
Copyright: 2002 The Waukesha Freeman
Contact: (262) 542-8259
Bookmark: (D.A.R.E.)


I agree with Waukesha Alderman Joseph La Porte when he recently asserted 
that his council should be looking out for the best interests of the young 
people in Waukesha. And because I care so deeply about the young people in 
Waukesha, throughout our state, and in our country, I stand in firm 
opposition to his council's recent decision to approve further financing 
for DARE.

The Drug Abuse Resistance Education logo - "D.A.R.E. To Keep Kids Off 
Drugs" - is on bumper stickers, T-shirts, even Kentucky Fried Chicken 
boxes. Police, taxpayers and business give $700 million a year. It's also a 
favorite of dozens of members of Congress.

Scientific polls and studies dating back to 1993 indicate that DARE doesn't 
achieve its main long-term goal: stopping kids from smoking pot, drinking 
booze, and engaging in other illegal drug use. The Wall Street Journal, in 
a front page article on April 20, 1992, reported the case of Crystal 
Grendell, a fifth-grader who was asked if she knew anyone who used drugs. 
Crystal was taking DARE classes taught by Searsport, Maine Police Chief 
James Gillway in the spring of 1991. She was worried because her parents 
grew and smoked marijuana.

She didn't say anything at the time, but later went to Gillway and reported 
her parents. Six cops raided the family home, seized Crystal and 49 
one-foot-high marijuana plants and arrested the parents. The mother lost 
her job and the father got one year's probation. Crystal's straight As 
turned into Cs; she ended up fearing the police and having nightmare epidemics.

There is nothing wrong with teaching anybody of any age to assert 
themselves and think for themselves. Breaking the back of peer pressure is 
hard to do. And this can also help reject pressure to engage in unwanted 
sex and other temptations.

But wakeup, folks! The "War on Drugs" is now using our children as its eyes 
and ears, having failed with drug screenings and inaccurate propaganda. 
It's not enough that they demand to analyze samples of our hair and urine, 
not enough to fly helicopters over houses with heat detectors to find 
hidden grow rooms in attics, not enough that they seize utility records to 
see how much electricity we use. Now they deputize our kids to be their spies.

- - Aaron Biterman, Brookfield
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