Growing up in the 1980’s and 1990’s, I was a D.A.R.E. graduate. I vividly remember listening to the presentations and thinking at the time that I was being lied to. I did not do drugs, but I did have family members that consumed and/or grew and/or sold cannabis. I also had older kids in my neighborhood that consumed cannabis at the time, and so I knew that at least the cannabis section of the presentations were false.
The local D.A.R.E. officer would show up to my grade school with a tricked out car, armed with stickers and reefer madness facts. I by no means felt that we shouldn’t learn about drugs, because it’s an important topic. But it made me long for real information. I was about to go into middle school, and drugs were prevalent in my neighborhood, and I wanted a real world view on what to expect and how to deal with it, which I did not get from the D.A.R.E. program.
Kids are smart, and in many ways are getting smarter. The internet, which was not widely available when I was growing up, puts information at kids’ fingertips. If we lie to them, and stick to using scare tactics, we set a lot of them up for failure. Kids deserve to have honest conversations about drugs, and deserve to be provided information that is based on fact and science, and not on the political views of a handful of people. So with all of that being said, I think it’s a terrible idea for Jeff Sessions to be speaking at an upcoming D.A.R.E. event today in North Texas. Per CBS:
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is bringing the war on opioids to North Texas on Tuesday, as people gather at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in Grapevine to talk about drug abuse prevention. Sessions will be speaking at the conference for DARE, a group that is focused on drug prevention programs in schools.
Sessions has made it clear that fighting drugs will be a top priority for his office, and addiction to opioids in particular. For the last 10 years, scientists have been aware of the growing problem of opioid abuse — not only heroin, but prescription painkiller pills like OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin.
Opioid abuse is a real problem in America, and is certainly something that kids should learn about. However, what do you think the odds are that Jeff Sessions shows up and rails against cannabis? What do you think the odds are that Jeff Sessions breaks out the ‘gateway drug’ argument, which has been debunked so many times I lost track? What credible, valid information are kids likely to get out of Jeff Sessions at this conference?
Jeff Sessions clearly uses every opportunity he can to bash on cannabis. Not that it’s OK any time, but at this event, he will be doing so at possible expense of the children in attendances’ future. I am not sure if any press is allowed at the event, so we may never know what he says, or we may only get rhetorical spin from drug warriors that are there. If organizers really wanted to educate kids, they would bring in scientists and present multiple views on drug policy – not avid drug warrior Jeff Sessions.