“Everything around us is changing… laws, society, personal idiosyncrasies, as well as the realm that cannabis resides. Sometimes it is time to sit down the bowl and really focus on the issues… well then pick it back up because politics are stressful…”
Back in late 2010 we wrote an article on a young child who turned in their parents for smoking pot under the instruction of the D.A.R.E program. In that situation, the officers replied to the incident by saying “That’s what they’re told to do, to make us aware.” In some of the most recent scholarship by David J. Hanson, Ph.D., he notes that D.A.R.E has been used in up to 80% of the continental United States as well as within other countries to teach over 36 million children across the world “to just say no.” He declares D.A.R.E. to be a “counterproductive, program” that chews up over a billion dollars in US funds, even when such authorities as the U.S. General Accounting Office, the U.S. Surgeon General, the National Academy of Sciences, and the U.S. Department of Education have discovered the program to be an ineffective abomination of the political-legal system against drug abuse. In fact, Tana Dineen, a local Houston columnist, found that the D.A.R.E program had raised drug usage by 29% during its occupation instead of lowering it, and this is the state of affairs across the whole continental United States.
Pot is inter tangled within this discussion, as D.A.R.E. propagates an agenda which designates any drug as harmful, hazardous, and life-ending, when in fact cannabis has been proven to be one of the safest substances a person can consume. For this reason among others, Ayelet Waldman, author of the book Bad Mother, has made it her responsibility to reveal the blemishes related to the D.A.R.E. program in order to derive a new approach to teaching children about drug use. On June 16th at Books Inc. in San Francisco California, she gave a speech on what she named the Harm-Reduction Approach. This idea proposes teaching kids about the world, a landscape littered with drug use, in a way that distinguishes between what is truly harmful and what is not on a physiological basis. For Waldman, this means drawing a difference between drugs such as weed and methamphetamine or heroin, substances that deteriorate the human body over time and frequency of use. I applaud Waldman for attempting to restructure the pedagogical framework of drug education among youth as their perspective has a profound influence on drug laws as well as the social construction of stigmas related to certain drugs. Below I have posted an excerpt from the aforementioned speech she gave, so take a look and see if it is something you support, I know I do.