Sunday, April 13, 2014

D.A.R.E me.

I've mentioned this in a few places like Facebook.  And then Facebook again.  Maybe Twitter.  No Instagram though.

A few weeks ago, my son's essay was chosen as one of the two to be read at the fifth grade D.A.R.E. graduation.  Did I feel pride?  Well, of course I did.  He read that essay that I helped him write, (if you are reading this as faculty of our elementary, I only helped a little…) VERY well.  Like a true speech professional.

Bob and I went to watch the graduation, like we did for our seventh grader and our daughter (who, by the way, had an essay which was ALSO chosen to be read at the D.A.R.E. graduation ceremony.) So half of the DeGree kids, have written such great essays, they were chosen to be read to a whole audience of people. (The other two wrote great too. Smart kids, I create.)

Don't get me wrong, I am so proud that my kids get to have the experience to read in front of an auditorium of people.  But I felt like a total poser because D.A.R.E. SUCKS!!!  And I should have had the brains to tell the school that my kids aren't going to be apart of it.  But I didn't think about it, and the twins came to me at 9:30 PM the night before their essays were due, so I panicked to get them written. (I mean, they get them written)  I was so busy with my own school, I didn't even realize we had started D.A.R.E again.  Mom of the year shit.

I sat in that auditorium beaming with pride for my adorable kids, while the disease of addiction was shamed by the police officer (honestly, the NICEST woman), who teaches D.A.R.E.  She and the principal talked about choices.  And staying away from people who made bad choices. There is some truth to that. But, then I thought to myself, wait a second…they are talking about me!  I didn't choose to be an addict or an alcoholic.  I didn't know until it was too late.  I get drugs are illegal.  But I was far into my addiction to give a shit, and choices weren't always mine.  I was too sick.  This program shamed and stigmatized every parent in the school, who has a problem with drugs and alcohol IN FRONT of their children.  How awful.  I felt that way.  My kids felt that way.  They made us feel like we were bad guys.  

The WORST part is they treat a medical condition by bringing the POLICE in and having them teach about drugs and alcohol.  Why don't they bring in SOME ALCOHOL AND DRUG COUNSELORS AND PREVENTION SPECIALISTS??  Because the criminalization of addiction starts in 5th grade.  If you have a problem, you are a bad person.  They teach them young.  Since 80% of people in prison are there for drug offenses, AND addiction is a brain disease for which no one asks for, D.A.R.E. makes total sense to keep the bullshit running smooth.

I have learned that it is a federally funded program, and the schools get money to teach it.  How the hell do we make THAT stop?  There are prevention programs that work.  But we HAVE TO KILL D.A.R.E.  (I've used a LOT of caps in this post, RIGHT?)

My daughter was the winner of the D.A.R.E. essay contest, and she just celebrated SIXTY days of sobriety this week.  THAT is what they should teach. How to recognize if you might have a problem with drugs and alcohol, and then how to get help.  What can happen when you are able to stay in recovery.  And what can happen if you need more help.  So people don't feel ashamed to ask for help.

Of course, I sent a LONG email to the Superintendent of our school district.  And I encourage you all to to do the same thing if your district teaches D.A.R.E.  It isn't going to go away if we let them keep teaching it.  Google D.A.R.E. and see how it DOESN'T work. There are studies to prove it.  Shit, I have a D.A.R.E. winner in my house, fresh out of rehab.  It is a family, genetic, brain disease.   It only shames the addict for a disease for which they have no control.  If 'just say no' worked, we wouldn't have so many people incarcerated for drug offenses.  We need to teach about addiction and recovery by professionals in the field.  Not the cops.

Don't get me started about what the curriculum is for drugs in our high school health class.  More of the same.  Ugh.

Off soap box now.  


  1. Very interesting, I totally agree with you. You shared your daughter is 60 days sober and just out of rehab? Congrats to her and also to you. Do High Schools offer any kind of sober club/groups?

    1. We are lucky enough to have a sober school in our district, but the waiting list is long. Other than that, there are no clubs that I'm aware of. Of course I think my daughter and I should start one. But I haven't sold her on the idea. I'm working on it. She's sober, but still a teenager:).

  2. I never really thought of it from that perspective, but you are totally right! In fact, now that I think of it, I remember someone telling me that the real purpose behind D.A.R.E. is to get children to turn in their parents if their parents use drugs. When kids get older many of them mock DARE, especially if they do try drugs and don't immediately turn into zombies the way they were taught would happen. It would make a lot more sense to bring in addiction specialists, and maybe people who are in recovery, to help them really learn.

  3. I have no idea why they still teach DARE in schools - it was proven years ago to be ineffective. Why not teach something that actually works?

  4. youve posted about all you kids except gus i think! you should post something about him. so proud of you betsey!

    1. He isn't really too much for me writing about him. He is a very interesting kid, but doesn't like to be mentioned much. So I try and respect that:)

  5. Things are presented in black and white too much to the kids. There should be a middle ground. Drug addiction is a disease,absoluely but it's a disease that one causes themselves when they take that "curiosity" dose. Initially people do have the choice to not try drugs. It's only out of their hands when they become addictes. But then why do they try in the first place? There are many reasons some justifiable some not so much. Or the rhing about people to hang out with, yes recovered addicts should not be discriminated against but telling kids not to hang out with acgive drug addicts? I find that reasonable. As for the genetic component, yes children of addicts do have a higher chance to become addicts but then if you know you are genetically predisposed to be an alcoholic than you stay the hell away from alcohol no? No one has died/had a worse quality of life from not drinking but plenty havd died from addiction. Just my opinion.