Pubdate: Tue, 31 Dec 2013
Source: Columbian, The (WA)
Copyright: 2013 Robert Sharpe
Author: Robert Sharpe


As a policy analyst for Common Sense for Drug Policy, I am responding
to the Dec. 27 editorial, "Marijuana and minors." Attitudes toward
marijuana are changing because Americans have come to realize that our
government has been lying about marijuana for decades. The original
reefer madness myths have all been thoroughly discredited. This new
reality-based perception is not necessarily a bad thing. 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 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 or
prescription narcotics are relatively harmless, too. 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
following U.S. Government Accounting Office report confirms my claims
regarding DARE:

Robert Sharpe

Washington, D.C. 
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