Same old approach to drug ‘education’ undermined by its blatant hyprocrisy

To the Castlegar News editor, Re: ‘Police strike new charter with schools and community groups’ (June 30).

To the Castlegar News editor, Re: ‘Police strike new charter with schools and community groups’ (June 30).

Again with the D.A.R.E. nonsense? How many times does a program have to fail before it is abandoned?

The problem with most drug “education” aimed at young people is that it mostly consists of fear-mongering: “Don’t! Or you will get in medical, social, or legal trouble!” Indoctrinations, certificates, slogans, promises and vows — all of it has proven to be of little help and at least some harm. Don’t believe me? Since D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) first started in the mid-1980s, drug use among Canadian teens has quadrupled!

It could be because programs like D.A.R.E. exaggerate the so-called “dangers” of marijuana, while ignoring — or even decrying — it’s many proven medical applications. When kids are lied to about one thing, they are less likely to believe you when you actually do tell the truth about drugs like meth and heroin and OxyContin.

And who can blame them? We live in a culture that glamorizes sex, fun, danger, thrills, law-scoffing, risk-taking, rule-breaking, power, wealth-acquisition, and authority-resisting. We advertise booze, fast cars, fast food, violent movies and video games, and a kaleidoscope of drugs, right on TV! Then we tell kids that “drugs are bad.” Does anyone still believe that kids don’t notice this wild hypocrisy? A ruse by any other name…

There is also a misconception in our society that suggests that only drug-abstinence is to be encouraged and admired. Telling kids to “never” use certain drugs is like telling them to never see a certain genre of movie, never go to an amusement park or exotic country, or never do anything at all that may be both risky and fun. It teaches them to be afraid of new things, instead of curious, and, as history has shown, fortune favours the adventurous. Sensible, moderate, well-informed drug use is no more harmful, risky, dangerous, or immoral than any one of dozens of other activities humans participate in every day. And if you think drugs have nothing good to offer society, then throw away every CD you own.

For those keen on teaching kids about drugs without all the hyperbole, spin, sloganeering, and bald-faced lies of the standard “education” programs, I recommend the Canadian Students For Sensible Drug Policy website at www.cssdp.org, the Educators For Sensible Drug Policy website at www.efsdp.org, or the Law Enforcement Against Prohibition website at www.leap.cc.

 

Russell Barth

Educators For Sensible Drug Policy,

Federally licensed medical marijuana user,

Nepean, Ont.