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Does the D.A.R.E. Program Really Work?

What about drugs? Crystal, crack, cocaine, marijuana, ecstasy, dust, heroin. Drug use is promoted through music, magazines, Hollywood, the streets, schools, jails, and the list goes on and on...

About 10 years ago, the television program 20/20 aired a review on the transportation of drugs to America. When the reporter spotted a man who was very angry, he asked the man what he was so angry about. The man replied, “You do not know how you get your drugs to America.” He then spouted off things about the American government, and said, “You kill our children! You empty out their body cavities, stuff them full of drugs, put them in a coffin and then send them to America so your people can get high!” These drug traffickers are called, “Cocaine Cowboys.”

About 10 years ago while in Las Vegas, Nevada, I asked a cab driver what would happen if I were to get caught with a small amount of drugs on the strip (where all the casinos are). He said to me, “If you get caught with drugs here, no questions asked, you go straight to jail.” No drug problem on the Las Vegas strip. “Why is that?” I asked. He said, “They do not want to scare off the tourists who are spending billions of dollars at the casinos.” I see, where the laws are enforced, they have no crime!

CNN reported that John P. Walters, President Bush’s top drug advisor, stated on May 15th, 2002, “The government’s anti-drug ads are largely being ignored by teens and find no evidence that the multi-billion dollar campaign is discouraging drug use.” Since when did money stop crime? Regardless of its lack of effectiveness, Walters still wants Congress to maintain the current funding of $180,000,000 while the government spends $18 billion on anti-drug efforts each year.

What about the D.A.R.E. program (the word “dare” means “to provoke”)? You know the motto, “Dare To Say No To Drugs.” Glenn Levant, former D.A.R.E. executive director, states that D.A.R.E. consumes a lot of money…$750,000,000 a year. The program is currently being offered to 80 percent of the school districts in this country. In 2002, the University of Michigan found that marijuana use actually tripled amongst eighth graders who had been through the D.A.R.E. program.

When on vacation in Florida in the fall of 2002, I went to Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum. Inside they had a button on a wall that said, “Do Not Push!” Guess what all the kids did when they saw that sign? They ran up and wanted to be the first to push the button.

D.A.R.E.’s message to children is muffled and confusing. It does not tell kids that they must say “no” to drug use; it tells them they have a right to say “no,” implying that they also have a right to say “yes.” Despite the term in its name, “D.A.R.E.” doesn’t teach kids what drug abuse actually is or how it can be identified.

Dr. William Hansen, who helped design the original D.A.R.E. program said, “I think the program should be entirely scrapped and redeveloped anew.” Even after all of these ineffective findings and studies with the D.A.R.E. program, program supporters said, “Cutback is not needed, but an expansion.” Common sense tells you not to put gas inside a car that doesn’t work.

If you go to the D.A.R.E. program website (, you can click on any drug and find out its street name, where it comes from, what it looks like, and how to use it. Why would you show your kids how to use these drugs? The D.A.R.E. program is like a man leading a horse to water.

Drugs are illegal, but what message is being sent to the youth when Iowa state laws mandate that, “It is a violation of the law to sell or distribute drugs or narcotics without having first obtained the appropriate Iowa drug tax stamp”?

While doing an assembly event, I asked the kids, “What do you think the D.A.R.E. program is aimed at?” They shouted back, “To get us hooked on drugs!” At the beginning of every assembly I do I ask the question, “No matter how many times I tell you not to do something, what do you want to do?” They shout back, “Do what you told us not to do!”

If that doesn't speak for itself, I don't know what does!

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