Pubdate: Thu, 02 Oct 2008
Source: Amherst Citizen, The (CN NS)
Copyright: 2008 Transcontinental Media
Author: Robert Sharpe


Dear Editor,

Regarding Paul Calder's Sept.. 26 column, good intentions are no
substitute for effective drug education. Independent evaluations of
Drug Abuse Resistance Education (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 may make the mistake of assuming that harder drugs like
methamphetamine 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. 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 likely to get into trouble.

In order for drug education to effectively reduce harm, it has to be
credible. The most popular recreational drug and the one most closely
associated with violent behavior is often overlooked. 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

The following U.S. Government Accounting Office report confirms my
claims regarding DARE:

Sincerely, Robert Sharpe, MPA Policy Analyst Common Sense for Drug

Washington, DC United States of America
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