Pubdate: Fri, 30 May 2003
Source: Charleston Daily Mail (WV)
Copyright: 2003 Charleston Daily Mail
Author: Clifford Schaffer
Note: Schaffer is director of the Drug Reform Coordination Network's Online 
Library of Drug Policy. The network "supports legalization, 
decriminalization, harm reduction, sentencing reform, forfeiture reform and 
honest, realistic attitudes towards drugs and drug abuse."


Monica Spriggs is to be congratulated for her devotion to kids. It is 
obvious that she cares deeply about them and sincerely wants to help. Her 
attitude and efforts deserve a round of applause.

Having said that, it is also important to note that good intentions are not 
an acceptable substitute for programs that actually work.

The evidence is quite clear that DARE simply does not work to reduce drug 
abuse in kids. That's why the federal government has stopped funding for DARE.

It is wonderful that her time in the classroom has allowed her to build 
relationships with kids, but the name of the program is "Drug Abuse 
Resistance Education." If it doesn't work to reduce drug abuse, then it 
doesn't work for its intended purpose.

That is not an "unproved comment," as Staff Sgt. Spriggs referred to it. 
That is the overwhelming weight of all the research to date.

Some research shows that, by the senior year in high school, 95 percent of 
students regard DARE as having no credibility at all. Other research has 
indicated that DARE students may be even more likely to use drugs than 
their non-DARE-educated peers.

That is just not good enough. There are school anti-drug programs that work 
far better than DARE.

Is the point to support DARE or to keep kids from using drugs? If the real 
point is to keep kids from using drugs, then investigate and support other 
programs that really do work.

Clifford Schaffer

Agua Dulce, Calif.
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