Is it time to abolish the D.A.R.E. program?




Drugs Are Really Expensive!

“The D.A.R.E. program continues to provide opportunities for dedicated educators, police and community members to collaborate for the benefit of our children.”

MasterPlannedistan Mayor Sukhee Kang.

Drugs are bad in MasterPlannedistan..Mmm Kay?

“It’s happening more and more often: Crime, drugs, and gang violence invade our communities. The sources of this scourge are both home grown and imported from across the border. We must protect our communities…”

Assemblymember Don “Spanky” Wagner (70th AD-MasterPlannedistan)

Spanky Sez: "JUST SAY NO!!!"

We’ve seen propaganda like the above statements for the last 40 years ever since Yorba Linda’s favorite son, President Richard M. Nixon, decided to declare a “War on Drugs.”  Inane catchphrases and fear based campaigns like “Say Nope to Dope and Ugh to Drugs,”  “Just Say No,”  and the visually appetizing “This is Your Brain,  This is Brain on Drugs”  have been ingrained in the American consciousness in order to justify the financing of the longest continuous war in American history.  That war is the War on Drugs which is set to turn 40 years old this year.  According to politicians of all partisan stripes, it’s all about getting “tough on crime” and “protecting the children.”   You know, the children?  They are that under 18 demographic that get exploited quite often by liberals and conservatives alike for the purposes of advancing some real crappy public policy or government programs.

Just this week,  the Newport Beach police department had announced that they may cut the D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program from the elementary schools.

“The recent economic downturn has resulted in budget reductions for the Newport Beach Police Department,” states (Newport Beach Police Chief Jay R. Johnson) “To address these challenges, there is a possibility that a number of Police Officers in specialty positions (including the D.A.R.E. officer)…will be reassigned…”

While there is some hue and cry from members of both political parties in Newport Beach about the effect that the complete abolition of this “educational” program may have on “the children,”  the questions that I pose are three fold.

1) Has the D.A.R.E.  program been effective in decreasing drug use and abuse among youth?

2) Is it law enforcement’s responsibility to educate our children about the dangers of drug abuse?  An issue that is a health issue?

3) Are there better educational alternatives to the D.A.R.E. program that  are based on scientific facts?

Most of you that know me know what my answers to the three questions are.  Ever since the beginning of time,  we have never had a true “drug free” society.  The reason that people have used and experimented with drugs throughout the years, be they in the form of alcohol, cannabis or pharmaceutical medication, is because these drugs have some medicinal and therapeutic benefits.  Just because someone decides to use or consume a drug for these reasons does not mean that they necessarily abusing the drug.

D.A.R.E. officer in action keeping kids off of drugs

The D.A.R.E. program would have you and your kids believe the contrary.  With their zero tolerance attitude towards drugs and their use,  the message that schoolchildren are getting is that use of any drug equals abuse and that they are to utilize “the 3 R’s” (Recognize, Resist and Report) when the drugs that are spoken about in these classes are in their presence.   The D.A.R.E. officers are encouraged to put a D.A.R.E. box in the classrooms to let the kids know if they see drugs in their presence to let law enforcement know so they can go out and investigate their claims.   In other words,  never mind the rapes and murder.  We need to bust Joey’s parents for that bag of weed that they possess.

Upon their graduation,  kids going through the program are encouraged to sign a pledge stating that they will not use drugs or join gangs and are taught by a D.A.R.E officer about the dangers of drug use.   In this day and age,  that is easier than done.   In fact,  there have been many studies that show that the D.A.R.E. program has little or no effect on kids’ attitudes towards drugs or has prevented them from experimenting with drugs.

One of the studies was done in 1995 by our own state’s Department of Education which was written by Joel Brown, PhD.   This study showed that none of the drug education programs, including D.A.R.E., were effective when it came to changing kids’ attitudes towards drugs or gave them greater respect for law enforcement.

From the report:  “California’s drug education programs, D.A.R.E. being the largest of them, simply don’t work. More than 40 percent of the students told researchers they were ‘not at all’ influenced by drug educators or programs. Nearly 70 percent reported neutral to negative feelings about those delivering the antidrug (sic) message. While only 10 percent of elementary students responded to drug education negatively or indifferently, this figure grew to 33 percent of middle school students and topped 90 percent at the high school level.”

There was also a similar report done in 2001 by the US Surgeon General, David Sachter M.D. (a Clinton appointee who also served under George W. Bush) where he classified the D.A.R.E. program under the classification of “does not work” when it comes to effectiveness of keeping kids off drugs.  (  The US General Accountability Office also did a study in 2003 that showed that drug use increased among kids in some area where the D.A.R.E. program was taught.

So if the only thing our kids learned from the D.A.R.E. is that “Drugs are Bad…MmmKay,”  (and in the case of the Irvine PD,  Donut Star on Jeffrey and Alton has the best apple fritters)  why do our school boards, school administrators and city government officials continue to use and endorse a program that has been proven to be generally ineffective when there are many other science based drug education programs out there?  Programs like the Drug Policy Alliance’s “Safety First” program ( and various educational materials from Mothers Against Misuse and Abuse (MAMA) ( are a couple of examples of science based programs that come to mind.  Could it be that these programs don’t offer a cool tricked out Hummer (financed with your local tax dollars) and other cool disposable trinkets like the D.A.R.E. program?

MasterPlannedistan Police Dept's pimped out ride (courtesy of your tax dollars)

We as parents, who obviously want the best for our kids,  seem to be content with letting a police officer who most likely has no background in chemistry or pharmacology teach our kids about the potential dangers of drug abuse.  Wouldn’t it a more prudent of funds to let a health professional teach our kids about drugs, their benefits and their possible side effects and let the cops pursue real criminals?  You wouldn’t want a physicist or chemist to investigate a bank robbery, would you?  If your answer is no, then why do we let the cops teach our kids about drugs?

Despite my less than enthusiastic feelings about public education in general,  I believe that the most qualified people to teach my child about the dangers of drug abuse and the benefits of certain drugs are a health professional, my wife and I. Not Roscoe P. Coltrane or Ponch and Jon.  As much as I want my child to be safe,  I also want her to know about the benefits and consequences of drug use.  This is why I believe that it is high time (no pun intended) to let the D.A.R.E. program die and replace it with a program like the Drug Policy Alliance’s “Safety First.”   D.A.R.E. has not been effective for years and to continue to use this as a drug education program in the schools will eventually create more disrespect for law enforcement and increase the liklihood of drug abuse among youth.

Unfortunately,  there are very few people in public office who share that sentiment and are content with wasting billions of dollars on a war that cannot be won.   I believe that any effective legalization/tax and regulate cannabis initiative should include a plan to help fund a science based drug education programs in the public schools with the revenues collected.  Keeping all kids off drugs is next to impossible. If we can at least give them an honest education about the benefits and consequences of drug use we stand a better chance of possibly reducing the abuse of drugs among young people.   Using antiquated programs such as D.A.R.E. will continue to produce the same results and we all know what Einstein’s definition of insanity.  It’s shows itself everyday in our drug policy and the continued funding of the D.A.R.E. program.

For more information about you can help change our nation’s drug policy, please visit any of the following web sites:

Mothers Against Misuse and Abuse (MAMA):

Drug Policy Alliance:

Students for a Sensible Drug Policy:

Interfaith Drug Policy Initiative:

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (Judge Jim Gray is a member):


A very good documentary on the War on Drugs


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