D.A.R.E America, a national organization that educates teenagers and kids about drug abuse, will no longer include marijuana in its curriculum for 5th and 6th graders.
Talking to kids about marijuana does not deter them from trying marijuana, and may actually foster an interest in using the substance, according to statement published on D.A.R.E.’s website Monday.
“Research has found that teaching children about drugs with which they have never heard of or have no real life understanding may stimulate their interest or curiosity about the substance,” the statement reads.
Instead, keepin’ it REAL — D.A.R.E.’s name for its new elementary school curriculum — will focus on the two substances that 5th and 6th graders are most likely to encounter: alcohol and tobacco.
“These are the substances, across all segments of the population, with the highest use levels at this age group,” the statement continued. “The experience or knowledge of alcohol and tobacco creates an environment in which it is appropriate to talk with young students about these drugs.”
D.A.R.E. officers will talk to kids about marijuana if the kids themselves raise the issue, however.
The policy change follows years of bad press for D.A.R.E., which was criticized in several major studies as not only ineffective, but actively detrimental toward the goal of reducing drug abuse among children and teenagers.
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