D.A.R.E. recently posted an article on their site entitled, “Edible Marijuana Candies Kill 9 in Colorado, 12 at Coachella.” Having been shared by one of the top anti-drug organizations in America, this article caused an uproar of confusion for those who understand that a lethal overdose from cannabis simply cannot occur, and poisoned the minds of those less informed. Unfortunately for D.A.R.E’s credibility, they relied on the satirical website topekasnews.com for the source for information.
The D.A.R.E. article was quickly removed after the organization was called out by Christopher Ingram of the Washington Post.
Topekasnews.com posts a variety of comical stories every day. In fact, this particular article’s author has written numerous satires including, “Are Women Even People, Really,” and “German Soccer Team Uses Nazi Super Soldier Serum To Beat Brazil 7-1, Risks Start of World War III.”
Fake and satirical news sites are all over the Internet today, and D.A.R.E. is not the first organization to be deceived by one. The problem is that D.A.R.E. is an organization whose mission is to educate the public on drug awareness. Posting false content eliminates the credibility of their message.
The false content was removed from D.A.R.E.’s site. However, you can still view it on the Internet Archive. In the false article, the author made some fairly outrageous claims like the one below:
“Children are being addicted to marijuana. I knew this day would come, when a liberal president allowed a state to legally sell Marijuana Flintstone Vitamins to children.”
During the 1980s and 1990s, D.A.R.E. was a very popular organization which spent much of its time in schools discouraging kids from using drugs and inflating the War on Drugs. The Scientific America stated that their efforts did “little or nothing to combat drug use.” In fact, the researchers revealed that students of the program have the same chance of using drugs as people who are not enrolled.
Photo Credit: Hodgkinspg.org, web.archive.org
The war on drugs has failed in the United States, just as the “Just Say No” campaign has failed to prevent young people from experimenting with marijuana. The Drug Policy Alliance points out that providing young people with realistic, honest education is a better, healthier method of preventing substance abuse. Still, many parents have questions, themselves, about cannabis, and struggle to find the best way to talk to their kids about it. This is why The Drug Policy Alliance is offering help on this issue in two big ways.
In 1999, Marsha Rosenbaum, PhD, authored a tool for parents to use in this matter called, Safety First: A Reality-Based Approach to Teens and Drugs. This week, an updated version has been released in seven different languages. According to the Drug Policy Alliance, topics covered in this literature include:
- Is it true that marijuana is significantly more potent and dangerous today than in the past?
- Is marijuana really a gateway to “harder” drugs?
- What about the impact of marijuana on the adolescent brain?
- How will legalization of marijuana affect teens?
In a recent press release, Rosenbaum explained the importance of using this tactic, “Drug education motivated by fear rather than facts weakens young people’s trust in law enforcement, educators, parents and other adults. Whether at home or at school, we need reality-based approaches to drug education that foster open, honest dialogue about the risks and consequences of drug use. Teens need drug education that respects their intelligence and gives them the tools to stay safe and healthy.”
In case parents would prefer a dialogue to supplement the reading material, the Drug Policy Alliance is, also, hosting a teleconference today for parents to call in and listen.
Thursday, December 4th at 1pm EST/10am PST
How to be included:
Dial 1-800-311-9402, and use the passcode, SAFETY to be linked into the call.
Who will be speaking during the teleconference:
- Marsha Rosenbaum, PhD, Director Emerita of DPA’s San Francisco office and author of Safety First: A Reality-Based Approach to Teens and Drugs
- Jerry Otero, MA, DPA’s Youth Policy Manager and former Assistant Director of Helpline and Family Services for the Partnership at Drugfree Kids
- Kassandra Frederique, MSW, Policy Manager, Drug Policy Alliance
- Amanda Reiman, PhD, Marijuana Law and Policy Manager, Drug Policy Alliance
- (Moderator) Stephen Gutwillig, Deputy Executive Director, Programs, Drug Policy Alliance
photo credit: Time