Just say `not working’

Editorial Board

Recent statistics show that the number of drug arrests in Iowa is on the rise, with more 10,000 offenses in 1999.

Despite the constant barrage of “just say no” campaigns and educational groups like DARE, the youth of today is still toking up and getting caught.

The numbers show that these educational projects of old do not work. Giving away T-shirts to fourth and fifth-graders isn’t going to win America’s “war on drugs.”

The tactics need to be right for these kinds of educational programs to work.

Ten-year-olds are not the ones programs like DARE should be directed at; it’s the eighth-graders and high school freshmen who are at that transition point in their lives. They need to know what illegal drugs can do to a person.

Instead of Officer Friendly from the neighborhood station coming in and giving everyone badges and bumper stickers, why not bring in a recovering crack addict to give those kids a first-hand account of what life is like when drugs are abused?

DARE doesn’t do the job and is a waste of money, time, and resources. If we can somehow convince kids in their early teens that drugs can ruin a life, then maybe educational programs can do better.

editorialboard: Michelle Kann, Tim Paluch, Jocelyn Marcus, Zach Calef, Ruth Hitchcock, Cavan Reagan