At the Drug Policy Alliance, we believe accurate, honest, compassionate drug education is a right for all young people.
Most schools in the United States provide drug education programs that are based in abstinence-only logic despite its weaknesses. Programs like D.A.R.E. don’t give students the tools they need to make safe decisions or to get help if problems with alcohol and other drugs do occur.
Furthermore, abstinence-only education too often has the effect of making teenagers cynical about any drug information coming from adults.
We know that some young people do use drugs. So any approach to drug education that focuses on keeping kids safe must not only encourage young people to avoid drugs, but must also provide information on how young people can reduce risk if they or their friends do use drugs.
DPA champions the following drug education principles:
The Drug Policy Alliance has a series of resources for educators and parents, including a drug education curriculum and tips for talking to teens about drugs. Check out our drug education resources — called Safety First.