Article written by Richard Cowan, former NORML National Director and author of Can You Use CBD For High Blood Pressure?
One of my funniest memories from my days as the National Director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML 1992-1995) was a report from an 18 year old fellow Texan explaining why he loved DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education): “Without DARE, I would not have known about marijuana.” And, of course, he did not mean that in the way that DARE had intended.
Wikipedia’s excellent article on DARE details the numerous studies that have found DARE to be counterproductive and actually encouraged drug use by its graduates.
It ends with this; “Following the passing of Washington Initiative 502 (in 2012) that legalized cannabis consumption in Washington state, the D.A.R.E. program was changed in the state to remove cannabis messages from their year 5 curriculum, arguing "research has found that teaching children about drugs with which they have never heard of or have no real life understanding may stimulate their interest or curiosity about the substance."
Yep. That was about twenty years after the report from my fellow Texan.
DARE continues today after numerous “facelifts”, as do other prohibitionist propaganda organizations, having wasted millions of dollars in taxpayer money and having led millions of innocent American children into drug addiction, etc., etc.
Seriously. Their website’s section on Marijuana still has the usual prohibitionist propaganda, including “Surgeon General Sounds Alarm On Risk Of Marijuana Addiction And Harm”.
In fact, DARE is still just one more arm of the Prohibitionist deep state’s vast propaganda operation, but its connection to the police is more direct.
However, some good has come from it. (Other than having led so many young Americans to cannabis.)
When Students for Sensible Drug Policy was founded in 1998 they actually called themselves “The DARE Generation.”
Their website begins with this statement:
“We are replacing the disastrous war on drugs with policies rooted in evidence, compassion and human rights. Our 5,000 active members, made up of young people and students, mobilize from 300 schools around the globe to make change from the campus to the UN because the war on drugs is a war on us.”
It would be difficult to overstate the importance of SSDP, not just because real “drug education” is literally a matter of life and death. SSDP is speaking truth to power and teaching students to think for themselves in a very “real world” situation.
This is not a drill. The Drug War is at the heart of the crisis in American democracy and only after the success of so many marijuana legalization initiatives are the politicians finally taking notice. Think of the children. Maybe they can save us from ourselves.