Smoke a Joint in Honor of National DARE Day

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President Bush has declared today National DARE Day, in recognition of the "law enforcement officers, volunteers, parents, and teachers" who "are helping to send the right message to our Nation's youth about illegal drugs and violence through the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) Program." It's debatable whether DARE actually sends the "right message," or whether kids take it to heart. But one thing is clear after two decades of research: DARE fails to achieve its avowed goal of discouraging drug use.

"Despite all the millions of dollars we've poured into D.A.R.E., it hasn't worked," says the Drug Policy Alliance's Marsha Rosenbaum. If the president is not inclined to believe a sociologist on George Soros's payroll, perhaps he'll listen to the Surgeon General's Office, which in 2001 classified DARE as an "ineffective program." Or the Government Accountability Office (then the General Accounting Office), which in 2003 found "no significant differences in illicit drug use between students who received D.A.R.E. and students who did not." Or one of his favorite think tanks, the American Enterprise Institute, which last month issued a report that noted "Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE), the only widely adopted prevention program, has been repeatedly demonstrated to be ineffective."

Back in 1995, Jeff Elliott explained what's wrong with DARE in a Reason cover story. More recently, in the January 2004 issue, Renee Moilanen showed that the supposedly new and improved programs that are vying to replace DARE are not much of an improvement.

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  1. Way ahead of you on that joint thing

  2. Damn you, Jacob…can’t you think of the children just once?

  3. >Smoke a Joint in Honor of National DARE Day

  4. >Smoke a Joint in Honor of National DARE Day

    I’ll smoke that joint with my DARE t-shirt on.

  5. When I was in school way back in the late 50’s/early 60’s, the most horrible thing they could tell us about the Soviet Union was that — they even got kids to rat out their parents to the government! Oh, the horror!! (and quite rightly so, of course)
    And now we’ve seen years of kids being taught by DARE to — rat out their parents. And get all kinds of praise and admiration for it. Oh, the horror indeed!
    sigh.
    Shirley Knott

  6. Shirely,

    When I was a kid, the most horrible things they told us about the Soviets were that they put people in prison without trials, that their security forces employed torture, and that a lot of the people condemned to these fates hadn’t even done anything.

  7. I’ll take a rip off of my DARE bong.

    The funny thing is in 7th grade I was in a DARE production about the dangers of drug use at my junior high. I have since gotten high with just about every other kid who was in that production.

    I actually do have a DARE bong. A friend of mine made it from a DARE coffee mug.

    Gotta love stoner ingenuity.

  8. The Cops I knew readily admit the DARE program does nothing in the “War on Drugs”(tm).

    They thought the only useful thing DARE did for them was to increase contact between kids and police. Trying to ‘humanize’ cops to kids (and undoubtedly some vice versa).

    And the DARE swag was great. 🙂

  9. Some thoughts as I roll a number:

    1. It’s a nice, safe jobs program for cops,

    2. It’s safer than midnight basketball,

    3. It’s a great place to meet sanctimonious, tweerpy girls,

    Ah, done. (DARE t-shirt on) wwfffft….

  10. I have a bumper sticker that says “DARE to think for yourself.” The other one says “Pigs shouldn’t rule.” Needless to say, I *always* go the speed limit.

  11. Pack a bowl for DARE/And let the Cheetos beware!

    – Jim Anchower

  12. He should have waited six more days. National D.A.R.E. day should be 4/20, dammit.

  13. Here in MA we already have a welfare program for cops werein sworn police have to be present at any road construction or building project. The OT is paid by the entity having the work done. Needless to say, it’s much more expensive than hiring the private security used in every other state. Just for good measure, there are people who go out and look for jobs being done without the posted officer so they can report them and get free work for their freinds and family.
    Since we have this law here, can we opt out of DARE?

  14. Don’t forget to bring a towel!

  15. “Researchers found that DARE raises children’s self-esteem, polishes their social skills, and improves their attitudes toward police.” (From the 1995 cover story)

    Funny. My attitude toward police after DARE in the 5th grade seemed to be that they were all inefficient, overweight men who exuded seven types of smarmy. Or maybe that had something to do with the fact that Deputy P. got busted several years later for an ongoing sexual relationship with his 14-year-old babysitter.

  16. “Or maybe that had something to do with the fact that Deputy P. got busted several years later for an ongoing sexual relationship with his 14-year-old babysitter.”

    Yeah, a couple years after DARE, I found out that my officer had been kicked off the police force for bigamy.

  17. My city’s cops take DARE money, and use it to further their community-policing strategy, as Doc says above.

    Overall, the community policing model was worked remarkably well, the cops are much more trusted in, and knowledgeable about, the neighborhoods than they used to be, and we’re often singled out in the national press for having “the largest drop in the crime rate of any city in America” during the 1990s.

  18. It’s so obvious that DARE doesn’t work that even the English Comp I students I tutored in the late 90s — English Comp I students who came out of public schools, no less, which are hotbeds for DARE — were able to write argumentative papers calling for its downfall.

    The government sees that and takes the next logical step:

    “Pour more money into it.”

    The only time throwing money at a problem solves it is when people give me money to make my mortgage payment.

  19. 3. It’s a great place to meet sanctimonious, tweerpy girls,

    Eh. I could never get the sanctimonious twerpy ones to put out.

  20. Today’s headline on CNN.com says “Dragnet grabs 10,000 Fugitives” … http://www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/04/14/fugitive.arrests/index.html

    The article goes on to state that “among the 10,340 people captured between April 4 and April 10 are 162 accused or convicted of murder, 638 wanted for armed robbery, 553 wanted for rape or sexual assault, 154 gang members and 106 unregistered sex offenders.”

    By my count, that’s 1,613 of the more than 10,000 nabbed. Who reckons that the majority of the remainder were nonviolent drug offenders?

    The article goes on to state that the dragnet involved several federal agencies, including the ATF and DEA.

  21. My reaction to the DARE program was to smoke a joint and see what all the fuss was about.

  22. DARE may not work, but at least they’re doing somethingfor the children!

    As for pouring more money into a failed program – that’s the government’s MO.

  23. When I was a kid, the most horrible things they told us about the Soviets were that they put people in prison without trials, that their security forces employed torture, and that a lot of the people condemned to these fates hadn’t even done anything.

    Don’t worry, Joe, we’ll be there soon, too. A new Gitmo-torture story hit the wires today. And since we’ve already trained kids to rat out their parents for a joint, they’ll probably be fine with this, too.

  24. Why do you guys hate freedom so much? Haven’t you heard the slogan? Freedom is drug free!

    joe-

    DARE may very well have positive effects for community policing. I’m all for having the police work with the community rather than treating the entire community as adversaries. But community policing efforts (and the costs of such efforts) should be proposed and defended on their own merits. If a program designed to stop drug abuse fails miserably at that stated goal, but it produces some positive side effects, then propose a stripped-down (i.e. cheaper and more focused) version that focuses on achieving those positive side effects.

  25. When I was a kid, the most horrible things they told us about the Soviets were that they put people in prison without trials, that their security forces employed torture, and that a lot of the people condemned to these fates hadn’t even done anything.

    Jeez, joe, you make it sound like the Soviets were just a bunch of fraternity pranksters!

    You must really hate freedom if you’d go around minimizing the Soviets’ crimes like that! Good thing that conservative pundits and blog commenters never try to minimize such crimes!

    Oh, wait, a minute….

  26. Since it’s not the government’s job to tell me whether or not to use drugs, and since I’m quite glad I decided on my own to use and often abuse them, I think DARE is great. I would be much angrier if my tax money was spent on an anti-drug program that actually works.

  27. I agree, thoreau, though I don’t blame the cops in my town for doing what they need to do with the lousy system they have.

  28. Seeing as April 15 is tomorrow; when I think about how much of my tax money is wasted on the War On Being An Adult, errrrr, the War On Drugs; I have to get high just to deal with the stress.

  29. The only thing I can remember from the DARE program (I think it was from DARE; Often the cops would just come in and give us a speech on being compliant citizens anyway) was this one lady cop insisting that the police would ALWAYS be able to search your car. Oh sure, they had to have some sort of justification for it, but she said basically, there is always some minor technicality they can find wrong with your car that will provide this justification. And her point was, that if the cops ask to search your car, you should always agree, whether or not you’re doing something wrong, with the implication that things would be easier that way.

    PS No one called bullshit because we were only in fourth grade or so. And certainly the teacher wasn’t going too…

  30. The thing is, mtc, the person may have actually been right. Given how many pretexts the cops have, and given how many exceptions have been found in the penumbra of the 4th amendment, it may in fact be that the cops have the right to search your car any time they want.

    Sad, but possibly true.

  31. It’s always going to be easier on you if you just tell them where the drugs are, even if there are no drugs. This point was stressed to me for a few hours one night.

  32. Hey now, go easy on the cops. They are not to be blamed as they are only following orders.

  33. Maybe they should line up all the crappy days in mid april. They can declare april 16th “national anti-gun day” any other nominees?

  34. Hey now, go easy on the cops. They are not to be blamed as they are only following orders.

    I’ll only blame the ones who enjoy it or those that have different standards for their own behavior.

  35. A great example of one of the ways DARE funds are actually being used can be found in today’s Winston-Salem Journal:

    “One of the last remaining symbols of former Sheriff Gerald Hege’s dynasty is about to be auctioned off alongside such common items as desks, chairs, gumball machines and trash cans.

    “Stripped of its roll bar, spider design and dark-tinted windows, the black 1995 Chevrolet Impala hardly looks like the intimidating “Spider Car” that became part of Hege’s image…

    “In 1995, Hege used money from the county’s DARE program to buy the car, which he said he needed for high-speed chases involving drug dealers.”

    To my knowledge (and I was a resident of Hege’s fiefdom while he was still in power) children did not accompany him on these “high-speed chases”.

  36. And her point was, that if the cops ask to search your car, you should always agree, whether or not you’re doing something wrong, with the implication that things would be easier that way.

    This is a typical cop lie.

    It is absolutely essential (it cannot be stressed enough) to refuse a police request to search your vehicle. While they most likely will be able to get a warrant it is still important that you make them get one.

    Although they will tell you otherwise things will not be easier if you allow a search. Do not do it. I have seen too many kids get screwed for believing “things would be easier”.

  37. I had the fortunate experience of being arrested for pot posession at a house party shortly after turning 18. Nothing was found on my person(strip searched), no warrants were produced and the public defender told me there was nothing I could do about it. Both the regular cops and the narcs were at the bust. A cop picked up a blue bong with a “DARE” sticker, turned to a narc and said,”So much for your DARE program!”

  38. I always figured the program was failing because of what everyone at my school thought the D.A.R.E. acronym meant: DRUGS ARE REALLY EXCELLENT. Gee, did I go to the only Highschool with where creative stoners that thought of this?

    A few weeks ago I was rudely stopped from leaving the grocery store by some lady trying to preach about DARE, she asked me to contribute to the DARE program or something annoying like that, so I rudely asked her “You mean the Drugs are really excellent program?” It worked, she left me alone!

  39. Freedom Joker,
    My little brother got arrested for possession as a passenger in his friend?s car. He was wearing a 4:20 shirt (breaking rule #1 of carrying) and the cop said that if my brother refused, he would still searched him. I told him to fight it because it was an illegal search. When he took it to court, the case was thrown out.

  40. “What’s wrong with DARE?” indeed. I’ll tell you what’s wrong with DARE (one of many things), with a true story of my own:

    When my kids were in elementary school, I was driving with them in the back of the mom-mobile. I heard them making sucking noises and snickering, then one said “I’m sooooo high!” and they all about fell off their seats laughing. “Where did you guys learn that?” I asked. You know the answer: “DARE!”

    And my favorite response ever to someone asking youngsters what they thought about drugs was my 7th-grade daughter’s: “Drugs are bad, but somebody’s gotta do’em.”

  41. D.A.R.E. works. I graduated from the program the year is was introduced and I don’t do drugs…at least I’m not doing them right now.

    Oh well, maybe they were still working out the kinks way back then.

  42. The biggest problem for me is that when I was a kid I always knew when adults were trying to get us to say what they wanted to hear.

    I mean, back then I bought all the stuff about how wicked drugs were, and I believed that drug prohibition was very, very important. But I also wondered what the point of anti-drug programs was. They’d told us how horrible and dangerous these things were, they’d told us all of the bad things that would happen to us. Beyond that, what could they do? If somebody was going to ignore those warnings, what good would it do to have a “just say no” exercise? We’d already gotten that crucial info, and anybody who ignored it surely wouldn’t have his mind changed by an exercise on resisting “peer pressure.”

    And being the brainwashed type I sort of had an idea which kids in the class might use drugs (the bad ones, duh!), and I knew that they were telling the adults what they wanted to hear during the exercises. So I figured it was all pretty dumb.

    If even a thoroughly brainwashed kid (as I was back then) had no respect for “Just Say No!” or any of its eerily similar successors, how in the world can such programs hope to command respect?

    Incidentally, the thing that undid the brainwashing was a healthy dose of microeconomics. If anybody wants some high grade neoclassical micro stuff, I can hook you up. Personally, I prefer the really mathematical stuff, but I know some people get off on the more philosophical writings. Whatever gets you going, man.

  43. DARE to eat a pound of raw cookie dough.

  44. Jesus, Jennifer! That’s dangerous!

  45. The funny thing is in 7th grade I was in a DARE production about the dangers of drug use at my junior high. I have since gotten high with just about every other kid who was in that production.

    I can top that. I’ve actually gotten high on the front porch of my former D.A.R.E. officer. It’s possible that others have more thoroughly disrespected the programme than that but I can’t quite imagine how. (He’s actually a pretty good guy…I saw him in a bar a few months back and almost walked up to him and said, “Hey Officer ___, back in 6th grade you taught us that one bottle of beer = one shot = one glass of wine, so I’ll buy you one of your choice.” But I’m kind of a chicken….

  46. Also, didn’t they schedule this six days early?

  47. DARE to eat a pound of raw cookie dough.

    Yum! I’ll wash it down with a glass of hot fudge.

    Anybody remember Daren the anti-drug lion mascot?

  48. Hey, guys! I have an idea. Let’s get all the like-minded people together, move to a low population state, say New Hampshire, and then change the laws to legalize marijuana among other things.

    Huh, what? It’s already been tried, you say. So how’d it work out?

  49. “I actually do have a DARE bong. A friend of mine made it from a DARE coffee mug.”

    You mean they’re actually enouraging people to consume caffeine…a DRUG?!? Oh, the humanity…

  50. Wow, I thought growing up in the late 70s/early 80s in NYC was bad because everything was dirty and you could get mugged, but at least we could party in the last car of the subway!

    For all that you say about how corrupt city cops are, they seemed to have more important things to do than busting anyone I know for pot.

  51. Free Form–

    The cookie dough is more dangerous than you think. If you go on the dough JUST ONCE you immediately become addicted, and you lose all self-control since all you can think about is getting more, and after you sell off all your possessions to pay for your habit you become a ‘dough whore’ giving blow jobs in back alleys for tubes of Pillsbury Chocolate Chip.

    Or so I glean from DARE literature. Something like that.

  52. By my count, that’s 1,613 of the more than 10,000 nabbed. Who reckons that the majority of the remainder were nonviolent drug offenders?

    The CNN article also says that more than 70% of those arrested had prior arrests for violent crimes. And it doesn’t specify how many of the rapist were also wanted for murder, robbery, or vice versa. But I agree: they do seem to be “forgetting” to tell us about quite a few people. And what exactly are crimes against the elderly? Does Death With Dignity qualify?

  53. When I was in DARE I always figured you know if drugs were really as bad as these guys are saying why the heck do so many people use them. Even in grade school I was curious about what I was missing out on. Of course I also had a generally untrusting attitude towards adults as well after the whole easter bunny, santa clause, and tooth fairy thing. Although I didn’t try any illegal drugs until I was 18 I did start drinking fairly young. A couple of my old partners in underage drinking are now police officers or sheriffs in the area where I grew up…

  54. the only reson pot is in “prohibition” is becaues when alcahol was legallized the big bissnessess in the USA that were now selling booze again, wanted to make more money by baning weed so people used there money for booze not pot.

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