As I have probably stated before, I babysit. My most long-term family consists of a 5-year-old red-headed little boy, a seven-year old girl that can slip into a 15-year-old mindset, and two wonderfully quirky and accepting parents. I love this family, and their kids I sometimes talk about as if they were my own. I fit in here because there is no judgment being made and whether or not I get drunk on the weekends is never a concern, as long as the little rascals are taken care of.
It was a typical Friday after-school routine: get kids off bus, walk kids up driveway, feed snack, talk about school, and so on. During the "talk about school" portion of the day, Lily pulls out a pretty red ribbon that flaps so beautifully in her hand. She shines it over my way and it reads "Drug free 24/7 365." Lily holds it proudly, then her pride-filled face transfers to a bit of confusion.
"I don't even know what drugs are," She states as she seemingly regrets being so prideful about something she didn't really understand. Then from the background I hear, "They are making you promise not to do drugs when you don't even know what they are?" This statement is coming from the bedroom of the most understanding and accepting mother out there. (Read her blog, and find out for yourself why I think so highly of her... chagrinandbearitall.blogspot.com)
This little exchange of words made me think even more about the drug education system in our schools. Being a future teacher, it bothers me that schools are letting children make these promises that they don't even realize they are making. A drug, according to the true definition is, "any substance that, when absorbed into the body of a living organism, alters normal bodily function." I am wondering what kind of promise the DARE program hopes to get out of 2nd grade children; that they will never drink coffee? eat too much sugar? take the medications their doctors prescribed them? What is it that DARE is looking for?
It is proven that the DARE program is not working and has no affect on whether or not a child is going to use drugs in the future, so why not present the facts? I am not saying that there are not drugs out there that are definitely scary and life-threatening, but instead of using scare tactics, why don't we have a little faith in the children of our nation and tell them the truth. "Just Say No" is not realistic and has proven this throughout the years. Good try Nancy, but the truth is, people are curious, and by not telling them the whole truth it makes them want to experience it and find out for themselves.
Students for Sensible Drug Policy (ssdp.org), takes a "Just Say Know" approach. Why don't we teach about the actual drug, what it does to your body, how much is too much, the addiction level, and so on and so forth. Why don't we get rid of what doesn't work and try something new. Worst case scenario, it'll turn out just like our current DARE program, unsuccessful.
Vice President Kent State SSDP