Children Heed Few Drug-Use Messages

Article excerpt

Most children decide on their own whether to use drugs with little concern for strong anti-drug messages they get from health teachers or others at school, a study of California youngsters suggests.

In fact, the programs may breed confusion and mistrust in youngsters who hear the message condemning alcohol, illegal drugs and tobacco yet see their parents or others use those substances, the research says.

The study, published last week in the journal Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, adds to research already critical of programs such as D.A.R.E., or Drug Abuse Resistance Education, that have received billions of dollars in federal help. Last month, the Education Department released a study showing the failure of most programs to halt the rise in drug use. Still, the department says workable programs can be developed and wants to spend $620 million next year on drug education, up from $558 million this year and $438 million in 1996. The newly published research dealt with a California program called Drug, Alcohol and Tobacco Education, or DATE, that California officials say was abandoned in 1994. But the article said that DATE resembled programs being used across the nation. …