Pubdate: Wed, 11 Dec 2002
Source: Sherwood Park News (CN AB)
Copyright: 2002 Sherwood Park News
Author: Robert Sharpe


Garnett Genuis's Dec. 4 column contained excellent advice on preventing 
adolescent drug use.

The importance of parental involvement in reducing drug use cannot be 
overstated. School-based extracurricular activities have also been shown to 
reduce drug use. They keep kids busy during the hours they're most prone to 
getting into trouble.

In order for drug education to be effective it has to be credible. 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 number one drug problem.

For decades drug, education has been dominated by sensationalist programs 
like Drug Abuse Resistance Education. While Canadian schools are just 
beginning to implement DARE, schools in the U.S. are dropping it.

Independent evaluations of DARE have found the program to be either 
ineffective or counterproductive. The scare tactics used do more harm than 

Students who realize they've been lied to about marijuana often make the 
mistake of assuming that harder drugs like heroin 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, Program officer

Drug Policy Alliance, Washington, D.C.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Beth