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Wednesday, March 02, 2005

DARE to Fail 

Along last week's take-down of Narconon, the real biggie of the stupid anti-drug propaganda machine also took a big hit: a University of Florida study indicates that Nancy Reagan's "Just Say 'No'" approach is not very effective for kids resisting peer pressure. The study only had a modest (by no means miniscule) 129 participants, but looks pretty robust.

The whole peer pressure mythos has always been at the forefront of things about the War on Drugs that piss me off: my friends certainly never needed to pressure me into trying things, for starters. I also never saw (even amongst my friends at Wilson and Lincoln) the kind of active pressuring you see in DARE ads...it was always subtler, and more often self-inflicted. Kids tell themselves they won't be liked if they don't get high. That insecurity, like the desire to try taboo things, is part of being a kid. Our policies need to address these, among other - like the one where most of the drug laws are stupid and should be repealed - realities to have any positive effect.

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