We—the co-Editors-in-Chief—remember our time in D.A.R.E. like it was yesterday. A time in fifth grade where we and our peers were introduced to how to “say no,” resist peer pressure and live a drug-free lifestyle. Our 10-year-old selves probably had no idea what drugs even looked like; all we knew is that they meant trouble.
By the time we reached high school, however, it seemed that these ideals resonated less and less with students. During freshman year, we first heard of people drinking alcohol. Then, there was talk of people smoking cigarettes or marijuana. Gradually we heard of people getting into hard drugs—acid, cocaine and heroin to name a few. This begs the question: how effective is D.A.R.E. in preventing drug and substance-use in teenagers?
This Arlingtonian issue, writers Hannah Benson and Molly Quinn attempt to answer these questions in their story “Truth or D.A.R.E.?” on pages 16-19. They explore the theory that doing “soft drugs” as a middle school student could lead to doing harder drugs as a high school student or later in life. Benson and Quinn explore this theory by addressing rumors about students at Hastings and Jones using drugs and drinking alcohol, and then touch on hard drug-use at UAHS. They also touch on cocaine-use at the high school, and how this may or may not correlate to an ineffective D.A.R.E. program.
While the execution of the D.A.R.E. program may not be perfect, the main theme and ideas provided should be respected. While many students grow up to ignore the message of D.A.R.E., what is learned about the problem of drugs in our middle school years should not be overlooked. Doing hard drugs can have long term consequences that affect someone’s life forever. Because of these consequences, there is a definite need for the D.A.R.E. program in our schools. Students should know of all the possible effects of abusing drugs throughout their lives. Even if the curriculum does not resonate with everyone, in America’s drug culture, it’s better than nothing.
Jane Eskildsen and Ella Koscher