We tried telling kids in our most serious voice that drugs are bad. It didn’t work. Now Drug Policy Alliance, whose mission is to end the War on Drugs, has “Safety First,” a brand-new curriculum for high school kids.
Instead of scolding, it teaches them practical skills, like how to avoid accidental overdoses that kill nearly 70,000 people a year. Public health educator Sasha Simon, who helped develop this program, described her novel approach to editorial writer Julie O’Connor. Below is an edited transcript.
Q. Where did Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E) go wrong?
A. It was short sighted and very moralistic. It didn’t really offer kids any skills. The original concept was that in 4th or 5th grade, a police officer came to your