DARE FAIL?

If you were a child growing up anywhere near my generation (I’m 27), then it is very likely that you were subjected to a bunch of high school students visiting to put you through the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program.  I’m not sure who came up with the DARE acronym, but if they really thought that “daring” kids to stay off drugs would work, then they obviously don’t know the power of the  triple-dog-dare.

I think it was part of the war on drugs, which America might consider reentering, because it’s slipping.

Since 1975, the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research has conducted a national survey meant to gauge the prevalence of drug use in 8th, 10th and 12th graders and this year’s results are in. The good news for the DARE folks is that they’re still kicking most of the illicit drug’s asses. But the bad news is that the efforts are slowly being eroded away.

For the third year in a row, the percentage of high-schoolers reporting the use of any illicit drug rose. This year, it went up to 16 percent, which is three more percentage points than 2007. What’s more, nearly half of the seniors in high school reported having tried an illegal drug at some point. The good news – at least in my eyes – is that most of that is attributable to marijuana use.

Though the use of the wacky weed rose again for the third straight year, the percentage of students having tried any of the other remaining illicit drugs stayed the same at 25 percent after a three year drop.

Now back to the troubling news; ecstasy use is on the rise. That’s one that I’ve never had the remotest interest in trying. In the mid-2000’s, the perceived danger of the drug dropped considerably, leading to the current rise in use. Similarly, the perceived dangers of marijuana have been dropping for some time, and in return, more kids are hitting the bong than ever in the past decade.

But on the brighter side, alcohol use is at an all-time low and other drugs already at relatively low usage rates saw small drops including cocaine (below 3 percent), amphetamines (below 7 percent) and sedatives (below 5 percent). All in all, the number of illicit drugs used remained relatively unchanged in 2010, but it’s still less than 10 or15 years ago.

Anyways, there are tons of numbers in the report and it’s all a bit hard to keep track of, but keep these things in mind:

  • Marijuana use is rising, but do we really care?
  • Ecstacy use is rising, and we really should care.
  • Drinking is at an all time low, but who really cares?
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About bigkingken

A science writer dedicated to proving that the Big Ten - or the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, if you will - is more than athletics.
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