Countless Americans have passed through D.A.R.E. class during their educational careers, to questionable results. The police-driven Drug Abuse Resistance Education program has been built on demonizing marijuana in an effort to scare kids into sobriety, but the misguided effort may be reeling back their reefer stance finally.
The D.A.R.E. program no longer refers to marijuana as a “gateway drug” and they claim to have shifted the focus of their curriculum from drug-use to a model based on developing good decision-making skills.
“We want students to think about every decision they make and everything they put in their body,” said Mike Wheeler, the D.A.R.E. officer representative for the Santa Maria Police Department in California. “Even if it is ‘legal,’ [consuming]tobacco, alcohol and now, marijuana, for kids under 21 is still a bad, unsafe choice.”
Less than a year ago, the organization was publishing blog posts with some questionable “facts.”
In an article titled “4 Things You and Your Teen May Not Know About Marijuana — But Should,” readers are told:
Marijuana is harmful to adolescents.
Anyone can overdose on marijuana.
Marijuana is addictive.
Marijuana is not necessarily safer than alcohol.
While consuming marijuana is absolutely not recommended for healthy adolescents, there are a tremendous number of minors experiencing life-changing results from the use of medical cannabis treatments.
Our own Dr. Bonni Goldstein, one of the foremost authorities in the medical field on marijuana, explains the plant very rarely causes addiction.
According to a 2011 study of recreational users of drugs, the probability of becoming dependent on cannabis is 8.9%. Other substances are reported to have much higher risks of dependency: 67.5% for nicotine users, 22.7% for alcohol users, 20.9% for cocaine users. (1) Recent media reports have stated that the numbers of those seeking drug treatment for cannabis dependence are rising. But according to a recent study, 70% of Americans in drug treatment for cannabis were court-ordered to do so as part of a plea agreement, not because they are dependent on the drug. (2) Due to continued prosecution of cannabis users, the numbers of those considered “cannabis dependent” are falsely elevated — most will choose rehab over jail time. However, it’s clear that the majority of cannabis users, both medical and recreational, do not develop addiction issues.
According to a Procon.org study on drug-related deaths over an 8-year period, marijuana killed 2,254 fewer people than Viagra — and Viagra killed 2,254 people.
There’s only one thing to say about the questionable information D.A.R.E. continues to leave on their somehow-still-influential website:
This article was originally published on Marijuana.com.
About Duke London: Used to write about music for XXL, Elevator, Complex, Genius, and a few other outlets. Follow @LongLiveTheDuke on Twitter if you'd like to read way fewer words by me.