As I’ve said many times, I’m a pragmatist. If there is hard evidence that something works, then I’m for it, ideology be damned. I like single-payer health insurance because it works in so many countries around the world, giving better health results for far less money spent.
Conversely, if something doesn’t work, like trickle down economics, then I’m against it. Cutting taxes might personally benefit me quite a bit, but would make my country worse off by hurting the economy and leading to more economic bubbles and crashes, and I love my country too much to want that.
Unfortunately, reality doesn’t seem to matter much any more, which is the only explanation for why Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants to bring back the D.A.R.E. program. The Drug Abuse Resistance Education program was the pet project of First Lady Nancy Reagan, and generally involved uniformed police officers speaking to students about the dangers of drugs and trying to scare them.
In 1998, a comprehensive report to Congress concluded that the program did not reduce drug abuse at all, because it did not focus on the root causes of drug use.
There is even less reason to believe that D.A.R.E. would work any better today. Twenty six states (a majority) and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana use in some form, and eight have legalized it entirely for recreational use. And the results have been generally positive. Fewer people are going to jail for smoking weed, and more tax revenue has been raised, which can be used for drug treatment programs.
Note that I’m not promoting drug use, I’m just pointing out that prohibition didn’t work to prevent alcohol abuse, and it won’t work to prevent drug abuse. There are even countries (like Portugal) that have decriminalized all drug use, and the results have been generally positive. For example, deaths from overdoses have dropped dramatically.
But Sessions not only wants to bring back the D.A.R.E. program, he also wants the federal government to overrule state laws legalizing marijuana. It doesn’t work, and will be a complete waste of money.
Laws should be based on evidence and facts, not ideology and misguided wishful thinking.
Also published on Medium.