I made a trip to the local Wally World this evening. I saw an off duty police officer in a suit (I assume he was, based upon the look, the haircut, and the program he represented) handing out propaganda about the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program.
From the several sources I have read over the years, D.A.R.E. has been a colossal waste of time and money, with statistically little or no success. I have heard police officers admit that very thing, as well.
I seem to annoy the officers who teach this program each time they set up a propaganda table outside the local supermarket or show up at a local festival. Each time they want to pitch to me, they usually ask if I want to "check out something new going on" and then ask me if I am familiar with the D.A.R.E. program. I usually answer something like I did this evening, "Yeah, it is one of the most ineffective and useless programs ever created".
When I give that answer, I NEVER get any argument. I actually have gotten agreement that the program was a colossal failure, but am told that it has since been restructured and is more effective now than it used to be. I don't know about that, though.
I am rather libertarian in my views on drug use. I really could not care less if my neighbor smokes a joint, puts a straw up his nose, or a needle in his veins. However, once his habit starts to affect me, cost me money, attracts riff raff in my neighborhood because he is dealing, or he gets behind the wheel of a car, then I have a serious problem with his drug habit.
As much as I hated growing up with an alcoholic for a father who was also a chain smoker, I never payed much attention to the anti-alcohol campaigns. I have never tried smoking because I thought it was a disgusting habit. I never tried drugs because I thought it was a stupid thing to do. I did drink quite a bit in my teens and early twenties. I have never been an alcoholic, though. I never allowed it to control my life.
I still have a good cold one now and then, but usually only one and they are few and far between. I have had associates who believe it sinful or evil to consume any beverage containing alcohol, but I really don't care, nor do I have any theological problems with such. From what I have read and wholeheartedly believe, it is a matter of moderation, not total abstinence. Hey, they called the Lord a "wine bibber". At my age, I have long since decided that if I am going to have a beer or any other adult beverage, it is going to be a quality one, and I can afford to be picky. When I was in college, I was far less picky, but still had my favorites.
My point is that people are going to do or not do what they have a mind to do or not do. A cop standing in a classroom imploring kids to never do drugs may seem like a good thing to do, but I sure wonder about its worth or efficacy. I have heard stories of old cops who taught D.A.R.E. 20 years ago getting kind words from former elementary school kids thanking them for their efforts and praising the effectiveness thereof.
Still, I have not read any favorable statistics over the years and wonder if it is really worth it. Google the phrase "D.A.R.E. effectiveness" for yourself. One interesting page in the search results is this one.