Pubdate: Thu, 28 Apr 2005
Source: Pipestone Flyer (CN AB)
Copyright: 2005, Pipestone Publishing, Millet, Alberta
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (D.A.R.E.)
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)
Note: Title abstracted from letter by MAP Editor


Dear Editor,

Please consider publishing the following brief letter:

Your Apr. 20th editorial offered excellent advice on preventing adolescent 
drug use. The importance of parental involvement in reducing drug use 
cannot be overstated. School-based extracurricular activities also have 
been shown to reduce 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 either ineffective or 
counterproductive. The scare tactics used do more harm than good.

Students who realize they've been lied to about marijuana often make the 
mistake of assuming that harder drugs like meth-amphetamines 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 amongst their peers.

Robert Sharpe

Washington, DC 
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MAP posted-by: Beth