Your Lying Eyes

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17 May 2006

Most School Anti-Drug Programs Don't Work

Science-based research to date has found that most anti-drug education programs don't reduce the rate at which kids abuse drugs and alcohol.
There's a shocker, eh? But the big news in this LA Times article is that this is now being recognized by many school administrators and educators.
Increasingly, many academic scholars and government researchers agree...One-size-fits-all lessons do little to prepare kids for the real drug choices they're likely to face...By condemning all drugs as bad — not distinguishing between legitimate medications and, in moderation, alcohol — such programs can confuse kids and ultimately cheapen their own messages.
One of the more popular programs - DARE - is also particularly ineffective. This program is usually run out of the local police department. Even though the federal government de-certified DARE several years ago, many schools pay for it out of their own budget. The reason seems obvious, though not discussed in the article: local police departments tend to be very powerful in the community, and tend to get their way when it comes to budget decisions. If you cut out DARE, you cut out at least one policeman's job. Not to mention the legitimacy the program's extreme message gives to police in justifying their anti-narcotics budget and activities.

The article is also a broader lesson in the ubiquity of unsupported social prescriptions. Statements such as "we need to take a preventive approach and help kids as early as possible to stay away from drugs and alcohol," and "it's never too early to tell kids what's healthy and what isn't to put in their bodies" are made without any facts to actually back them up - they just sound good, kind of like "Diversity strengthens us all." It's good to see some people in this field trying to figure out if any of these programs actually work.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps it's just me but over the years I've noticed something funny.Some of the biggest drug users I have encountered have been known to wear the ubiquitous D.A.R.E. t-shirts.If you're into wearing casual t-shirts it actually has a cool design what with the red letters on black fabric.I just can't help but imagine what is going through a cop's head when he busts somone wearing this shirt. Real life is so absurd sometimes that it seems to be scripted by an ace satirist.Keep up the good work. Brian

May 18, 2006 1:34 PM  
Blogger ziel said...

My daughter affirms your comment. Druggies love the red-on-black DARE t-shirt look. Non-druggies prefer polo shirts. As for the cops, I'm sure their reactions are varied. Those who actually promoted the DARE program probably take it personally, while the others probably react with a knowing smirk.

May 18, 2006 6:39 PM  
Anonymous nameless said...


Interesting article, but to be honest, its the "diversity strengthens" link you provided thats really got me ticked off.

So the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce is offering -for free, I assume- "language interpretation and translation, job site and work force orientations, drivers' education, job referrals, and even business startup assistance" to Bosnian and Hispanic immigrants to help "strengthen the work force". How selfless of them.

I love the way the lying corporate shills of the Chamber of Commerce, under the feel good guise of "diversity", are going out of their way to help local bottom feeding employers have a steady supply of "trainable" wage deflaters. And I'll bet you anything that young, native Kentuckians don't get that kind of help to make the always challenging transition to gainful adult employment.

Maybe this sounds like demagoguery, but seriously, why do we allow imported unskilled workers to enjoy these perks that our own people from economically humble backgrounds never get?!

May 18, 2006 7:35 PM  
Blogger agnostic said...

The one red flag I saw was a quote toward the end that the best deterrent is having the parents not do stupid things themselves -- obviously, that's something they give their kids via genes, not modeling, so it's not a campaign you can launch.

In any event, the average teenager faces greater health problems from diet, exercise, not washing their hands at appropriate times, not using mouthwash, etc. If health class were directed toward curbing these problems, the results would be like those in post-Semmelweiss hospitals.

May 18, 2006 8:19 PM  
Blogger ziel said...

why do we allow imported unskilled workers to enjoy these perks that our own people from economically humble backgrounds never get?!

I bet the Romans offerred their Greek slaves free Latin lessons and chariot driving lessons, too. Illegal immigrants are great deals -they work like dogs for nothing and live 5 families to an apartment - there's no amount of training that wouldn't be worth underwriting for that kind of deal.

May 18, 2006 8:22 PM  
Blogger ziel said...

Agnostic - here you go - in my own daughter's school, no less (and a big D.A.R.E. promoter, of course).

May 18, 2006 8:34 PM  
Anonymous Smoke said...

Drugs are just bad, you should try to use Herbal Alternatives as a temporary replacement to loose the dependance!

July 23, 2006 6:32 PM  
Anonymous Willa said...

I believe one and all must look at it.

September 14, 2012 1:57 PM  

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