Pubdate: Tue, 27 Jan 2009
Source: Garden Island (Lihue, HI)
Copyright: 2009 Kauai Publishing Co.
Author: Robert Sharpe


The importance of parental involvement in reducing adolescent drug use
cannot be overstated. ("Team fights substance abuse," The Garden
Island, Jan. 25)

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

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 crystal 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.

Robert Sharpe Policy Analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C.
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