Drug Prevention Education in School

My son is 8 years old. Last night he came home with a pledge card he had signed, swearing to never take drugs, smoke or drink alcohol. The day before he came home with his shirt on backwards. “We’re turning our backs on drugs, mom”. Last week he berated me for drinking a beer after work. On Sunday he refused to eat the beef bourguignon I had made after I confessed it had wine in it.

He also told me that he would never smoke weed because it makes kids turn green. What??!

Now I told him that there are lots of things grownups do that kids have to wait to do. How I can go see a scary movie, or drive a car…and that the list of activities that he can do will grow bigger as he grows. However, he still thinks any form of alcohol is evil.

Why are these kids being indoctrinated like this? Has this type of education been shown to work? Why is my son turning into a totalitarian freak?

IIRC, the GAO came out and said that DARE was a self-promoting scam for gov funds.

Happening all over the place. The Puritans have taken over the “Be safe, be sober” programs and turned them into “You’ll turn green if you smoke dope” programs.

Unfortunately, this kind of extreme indoctrination only works until the kids find out that smoking dope won’t turn you green. Then they figure it was all lies and completely throw off the whole thing…

Here’re some links

GAO-03-172R Youth Illicit Drug Use Prevention: DARE Long-Term (.pdf)

Same Thing Google hmtl
Google GAO and DARE

It’s a shame that our tax money’s being waste to teach kids fantastic, non-factual bullshit.

I’m sorry that you’ll have to un-indoctrinate your kid. He’ll prob’ly never trust the “establishment” again. That’s a good side effect I suppose. :wink:

[Fixed link. – MEB]

Just wait until he decides to turn his back on sex.

Watch as he promises never to kiss a girl- and says that any girl that would kiss is a skanky ho! Marvel as he condemns his friends who were born out of wedlock! Thrill as he says gay people are abnormal and inappropriate! Thats right, a lifetime of ackward, bad, way-too-trumped=up sex can be yours.

We are no longer teaching our kids to make responsible choices. Schools are presenting children with a very black and white view of the world. As a result, kids either realize it’s all lies and lose control, or they are never able to make reasoned and responsible decisions.

One of my friends took our schools anti-drug messeges a little too strongly to heart. He would go up to people he saw smoking on the street and tell them to stop. He refused to go to parties with alcohol in them (nobody expected him to drink- but he’d start condemning people if he saw a single beer). One time he saw someone he respected smoking pot. He stayed up all night contemplatig if he could still respect this person. He couldn’t make sense of it. As a result of his complete intolerance of people who use any substance and refusal to be around any substances, he had a pretty tough social life in college.

I, fortunately, was just old enough to escape DARE. MY brother, three years younger, did not. I’ll never forget him saying to me “Oh, why don’t you just go DO YOUR DRUGS!” and meaning it as the gravest of insults.
DARE is full of crap. I have seen interviews with kids in foster care because they turned their parents in after going through DARE. Older and wiser, they all regretted it. Every one of them said that DARE caused them to blow the situation out of proportion. Most of them were living in much worse situations than they were before.
My brother remained a poorly adjusted person socially until his early twenties. He was as dogmatic about alcohol and drugs as GW is about god. It took several years for him to get over the alcohol thing, and it was pure social pressure. I think deep down, he is still a DARE kid.

As far as kids who smoke weed turning green, maybe they mean politically???

Most smart kids will realize at some point that DARE is a bunch of crap. It’s very unfortunate that they can’t just have programs to help kids make informed, rational decisions. If they aren’t going to do that, they shouldn’t have any sorts of these programs to begin with, especially when it is the job of the parent.

Why is DARE a bunch of crap? Because they do things like equate marijuana and alcohol with heroin or meth. Any intelligent person will question that equation given enough information about various drugs, and once you start questioning one thing they taught you about all drugs, how can you just go on believing everything else they said?

I remember when my oldest was in fourth grade, in public school. One evening, I was mixing myself a rum and coke, and she said to me, “You know, mom, even one drink can be dangerous”. I asked her where she had heard this, and she said at school. I told her that one drink can be dangerous if drinking is a problem for you (like alcoholism), if you’re pregnant, if you’re going to be driving very soon, or if you’re very young, and your body is not yet mature. Otherwise, I explained, not only is one drink not harmful, but there’s some evidence it might even be beneficial. Next time I had occasion to be at the school, I asked the teacher about them telling the kids this. She said, “well, if we teach them this early, we can head off problems when they’re older”. I told her I didn’t think there was ever a good reason for disseminating intentionally wrong information. Then I told my daughter that sometimes people say things that are wrong, for reasons that they think are justified, but that I hoped my daughter would always investigate the truth, and reach her own conclusions.

Something that has always bugged me about these things is that it seems to me that they ultimately do more harm than good. I was lucky enough to miss the whole DARE thing, but was firmly in the middle of the whole Regan era war on drugs, as well as the whole first generation of the anti-drug PSAs (this is your brain…this is your brain on drugs and so on).

The thing is, using pot as an example; the inherent dishonesty probably helped me to do a lot harder drugs than I would have if the messages were truthful. By placing every mind-altering substance on the same plane, I think that we are creating a far more dangerous situation.

Great response, norinew!,

It is so important that parents arm their kids with real facts concerning drugs, and sex as well, rather than let them be swayed by hyperbole, like “Pot will make you turn green”. At least then, the trust isn’t broken down.

I think South Park said it best:

Personally, I saw right through DARE and the not-quite-DARE propaganda that came back in middle school. I was the only kid in 6th grade to fail DARE - the essay I was supposed to write (“What I Learned From DARE”) ended up as a rambling rant about how un-American it was to make laws against putting substances in one’s own body.

If smoking marijuana makes you unable to learn new things, why am I so good at video games?

Is there any way parents can opt out of having their kids indoctrinated like this?

DARE definitely stuck with me (not that I was likely to do drugs to begin with), and we were not told that if you smoked pot you’d turn green. Officer Bill (who kicks ass) was friggin honest with us.

DARE isn’t scary enough, though, IMHO. Forget this “don’t take drugs, drugs are bad mmkay” garbage. Show the little darlings a heroin addict going though detox. Or let a bunch of crack addicts loose in the room while the kids are out at recess and let 'em come back to their desks to find everything of value missing, so they’ll learn that drug addicts will steal ANYTHING from anyone.

DARE didn’t work on about 80% of my class, but maybe if they SAW what drugs do, it would stick with them more than just hearing about it.

My wife (an epidemiologist) worked on a study that pretty conclusively demonstrated that these indoctrination programs don’t work and are a waste of money. I don’t remember if it was DARE specifically or something similar (gun violence, maybe?).

As others have suggested, the problem is that they equate all banned substances. By terrorizing the kids about marijuana, they’re setting themselves up for failure when the kids figure out it’s all bullshit. Then the kids will assume the rest of it is bullshit too, and may get into really nasty, destructive stuff like heroin or crack cocaine. Those are worth the hype. Alcohol and pot are not.

But that’s what you get when a moralizing prig like Ashcroft is in charge of the enforcement division. And I’m not suggesting that he’s a new type of creature, either; for whatever reason, Americans love our drugs and porn in private, but we can’t help electing finger-wagging puritans to make us feel guilty about it. It’s totally screwed up.

This kinda is the point. You didn’t do drugs, but you weren’t “likely to do drugs to begin with.” So it’s not really much of an example of how DARE works now is it? Someone who wasn’t likely to do drugs went through DARE and still wasn’t likely to do drugs. The way that these things are measured for effectiveness is to have samples of kids who undergo the DARE indoctrination and similar samples of kids who don’t. Then down the road, the rates of illicit drug use are measured. Think about that for a minute.

How is the behavior of crack addicts related to the behavior of Joe Sixpack? Why lump all of th edrugs into the same category? Eating a sauce made with wine is so obviously, (IMHO), different from becoming addicted to crack cocaine. Do you disagree?

I got the feeling that she wasn’t so much equating all drugs, but sending the message, “This is what really happens to real people when they start hitting the hard drugs.” Isn’t that what everyone in the thread is calling for?

I don’t really have a problem with a school dropping the DARE program, if they don’t think it is effective, or don’t want to run it for some other reason.

On the other hand, I am sort of bemused watching people getting all hot and bothered about how “studies” prove that DARE isn’t effective and students don’t retain information from the class.

All of which may well be true, but can’t the same be said of a lot of stuff going on in the public schools? Where are the studies proving the efficacy of “diversity training”, “values education”, “whole language reading instruction”, “open classrooms”, “teachers as facilitators”, etc.

My experience with drug use prevention began in 1969, when I was in the 7th grade. I don’t remember being told anything so outlandish as mentioned by the OP. Nor were we asked to sign pledges. Incidentally, that sort of thing used to be a very common feature of the temperance movements of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

But I do remember saying to myself that I would never touch alcohol after the lesson on that, and as for illegal drugs, I imagined that they would precipitate me into a nightmare psychedelic world in which nothing would make any sense. But somehow I felt no urge to apply this moral code to anyone else. And, in the end, I drink alcohol, and, in the past, have used various illicit substances. I’m fairly libertarian about these things with respect to adults, but think it’s a good idea to prevent minors from using drugs. To the extent that I was scared away from it until I got to college, the prevention education I got was a good thing. If you must use a drug, the older you are, the better you’re able to understand the potential consequences of doing so, and judging accordingly.

Sex is addictive and has caused way more misery, disease and death than marijuana ever has. Marriage is even worse, leading to beatings, psychological abuse, domestic slavery and murder.

Parents who allow their kids to go to public school get what they deserve, I suppose. If you don’t want to practice child abuse, wait until you can home-school or afford private schooling before you have kids.

Kids are not people, nor are they the wards of their parents. They are nowadays property of the state and we sure treat them like it!