What is the Truth?

	Well, obviously we don't purport to have all the answers, but we 
think the truth will never be found unless we - parents, citizens, 
educators, whatever - find the courage to ask some difficult questions of 
drug education today.  (If we don't, you can be sure that political 
leaders and government authorities never will.)  Since DARE is the most 
visible and prominent example of drug education in public schools today, 
it is fitting and proper that these questions be directed to DARE.

	Here are a few questions we'd ask DARE if we had a chance.

		1. Recent statistics indicate that as 
DARE spreads throughout the nation, drug use among young people is way 
up.  Does DARE accept the recent statistics as truthful? If so, what 
responsibility is DARE accepting for this failure of drug education? What 
changes is DARE making to its program? Is DARE prepared to admit its 
inefficacy, or does it employ a meagre measure of success?

		2. Is lifetime abstinence from all drugs truly a 
realistic goal of drug education? Why can't DARE acknowledge the painful 
truth that most adults who use drugs - legal or illegal - do so 
responsibly, without discernible injury to themselves or others? Staying 
out the minority - those who do injure themselves or others - is what drug 
education should be all about, it seems to us. Why does DARE maintain 
this fantasy of lifetime abstinence, and  selective blindness ? 

	(By the way, we note that  DARE expects students to take a "no 
drug use" pledge. Are officers required to take the same pledge?)

		3. Why does your video, "The Land of Choices and 
Decisions," treat adults so contemptuously? Every adult character - with 
the exception of the DARE officer and the teacher - is either a drug 
abuser, a drug dealer, or senile. What are you trying to teach them about 
other adults? Why is this portrait so disdainful of the truth?

		4. Here's an easy one: Where's the hard scientific 
evidence that says that (1) "self-esteem" can be "taught" (as DARE so 
attempts), and (2) once it is "learned," a kid won't try drugs?
Isn't all this "self-esteem" stuff basically a lot of seventies 
psychobabble? Does any serious scientist accept it today? Don't kids have 
to earn self-esteem by hard work and accomplishment, not learn it by 
reciting a state-sponsored catechism?

		5. And finally, a softball: The fact that police officers 
have stepped in to provide drug education  in public schools underlines 
DARE's mission of  reinforcing prohibitionist doctrine (i.e., keeping the 
drug laws as they are). What is the basis for DARE's faith in 
prohibition?  How long will you give it to work?  How many more people must 
be arrested before we can declare victory? What is victory in the drug 

	Well, we hope these questions will provoke some dialogue.  Please 
let us hear from you. (Maybe you can tell us the truth! :-))

	Don't forget to check out the many other DARE-related links on 
this site. Thank you for reading this.


Footnote: Statistics

(Reported by researcher Lloyd Johnson at the University of Michigan, who conducts, with government sponsorship, the nationwide "Monitoring the Future" Survey.) A third of eighth-graders, mostly 13-year olds, report using illegal drugs. Marijuana use more than doubled among eighth-graders between 1991 and 1994. Two-thirds of eighth-graders have tried alcohol. A quarter say they still drink. Twenty-eight percent say they have been drunk at least once. Smoking among eighth-graders rose 30% between 1991 and 1994.



Back to the dare.org index page.

This URL: http://www.pdxnorml.org/dare_truth.html