Celebrity panelists (Erik Estrada, Nadia Comaneci, Bart Connor, Steven Seagal) on stage during a rally for the proclamation of National D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) Day April 11, 2002 in North Hollywood, California. (Robert Mora, Getty Images)

Just say no to D.A.R.E. — starting a better conversation about youth drug prevention

The Hill op-ed: Former Colorado director of marijuana coordination Andrew Freedman writes about growing up in the D.A.R.E. era

Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently called for the return of Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.), the 1980s anti-drug campaign aimed at helping prevent and combat youth drug use.

However, to truly prevent kids from using drugs, our country needs programs that are proven to work. In particular, marijuana, since it is becoming increasingly legalized.

What we do not need is a reboot of the uninformed, unsuccessful D.A.R.E. model.

A number of academic studies have shown how D.A.R.E. was at best ineffectual and, at worst, more likely to convince kids to try drugs. The program failed to tap into youth culture and truly change kids’ views on drugs. I should know. As a middle-school student in 1996, I was part of the era.

Read the full op-ed at TheHill.com

Andrew Freedman is the former director of Marijuana Coordination for the State of Colorado. He is the Co-Founder of Freedman & Koski, a Colorado-based consultancy. Freedman is also leading the Youth Marijuana Prevention Council.

This story was first published on TheHill.com