Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who should be more accurately known as the War on Drugs Czar, is firmly stuck in the 80’s. His approval of the old, outdated, and ineffective DARE program proves that he’s out of touch with current realities.
Sessions has embarrassed himself when it comes to drugs; especially cannabis since becoming the Attorney General of the United States. He’s such an embarrassment, that some even suggest he smoke some marijuana and relax a little. But the longer he’s in office, the more humiliating it is to watch him flop around like goldfish in the sand.
He’s now gone out of his way to praise the old DARE program from the 80’s. Some might remember it, DARE: Drug Abuse Resistance Education. It was a government-funded program enacted in 75% of American schools to try to keep kids off drugs, but based on the opioid epidemic we are facing, it has epically failed.
That hasn’t stopped Sessions from declaring his undying love for the failed program. Speaking at a DARE conference, Sessions said, “DARE is, I think, the best remembered anti-drug program today. In recent years, people have not paid much attention to that message, but they are ready to hear it again. …We know it worked before, and we can make it work again.” However, the statistics aren’t exactly in Sessions’ favor.
Students who went through DARE weren’t any less likely to do drugs than the students who didn’t. In fact, there’s some well-regarded research that some groups of students were actually more likely to do drugs if they went through DARE. Scientists knew DARE was ineffective relatively early on, but the program grew anyways. The program’s eventual reform was the result of a long and hard battle between evidence-based research, and popular opinion. –SOURCE
The DARE program cost taxpayers millions of dollars, and it’s “cool” 90’s trendy mascot “Daren the Lion” has all but been forgotten. But Sessions just can’t give up on DARE and it’s failures. Just like he can’t give up on his fight to ensure marijuana remains illegal.
Sessions’ inability to focus on the problem of government interference in the “war on drugs” has been a disaster. He doesn’t seem to really be interested in the facts or the causes of drug use, nor is he willing to listen to possible solutions outside of government punishments. A 2000 study by the American Psychological Association and a report to Congress from the National Criminal Justice Reference Service in 1998 both came to the same conclusion: kids who went through the DARE program were just as likely to use drugs as those who did not.
Many have claimed that the problem wasn’t the education of the effects of drug use, but the fact that police were teaching these classes, not doctors or nurses. It undermined the effectiveness of the program even though some assumed that the police would have more “authority” when it comes to “criminal behavior” than a doctor.
Dr. Ruth Rich was tasked with selecting the first curriculum for the DARE program. Research on drug prevention education was already underway at USC, under the title “SMART.” But there was a catch, DARE’s founder desired the program be taught by police officers themselves, not doctors or teachers. Rich agreed with him, on the grounds that cops are more familiar with the “criminal culture.” As she told the LA Times, “There’s a gap between the street and the classroom. Police officers are believable on this subject. When it comes to drugs, they’re more credible than a teacher.”
The idea of police officers in the classroom turned off some of SMART’s original authors, including the head of the research team, Andy Johnson. Reason Magazine reported, “Though sympathetic to Rich’s dilemma, Johnson had serious objections to handing an experimental educational program over to the local police.”
Government punishments for drug use haven’t worked, and neither has handing over the task of education on drugs to the police. Major changes in how the government handles drug use and freeing up the industry which treats addiction is what would work the best, but is also the one thing the government refuses to try – because we can’t’ have freedom. It’s just way too scary.
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Contributed by Dawn Luger of The Daily Sheeple.