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D.A.R.E. still thinks marijuana is a dangerous drug for kids

Back in 1983, a substance abuse prevention education program was born in Los Angeles. It was called D.A.R.E. — Drug Abuse Resistance Education — and its lessons were led by police officers who visited classrooms to teach kids how to resist drugs and violence. Perhaps you were visited by such an officer or the program’s Daren the Lion mascot.

May 24 Facebook post has reimagined Daren just saying yes to drugs. Above a photo of the lion with a joint in his mouth are these words: “D.A.R.E. removed cannabis from its list of gateway drugs.”

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) We called D.A.R.E. to ask about it.

Richard Mahan, the organization’s chief operating officer, told us that years ago, D.A.R.E. listed substances that “youth might experiment with,” including nicotine and marijuana. But he said D.A.R.E. has never listed so-called “gateway drugs,” nor removed cannabis from such a list.

But back in 2016, some news outlets reported that D.A.R.E. had delisted cannabis as a gateway drug. The headline on a February 2016 Teen Vogue story, for example, said, “It’s official: marijuana is no longer a gateway drug.”

The story says that a Reddit user “noticed that mysteriously, marijuana was no longer listed among D.A.R.E’s other, arguably more harmful counterparts of tobacco and alcohol.” The Reddit post links to a dead page, but the url says: dare.org/keeping-kids-drug-free/.

Using the Wayback Machine, which takes snapshots of web pages over time, we were able to find archived versions of when the web address worked. The earliest is from Aug. 14, 2013.

To Read The Rest Of This Article By Ciara O’Rourke on PolitiFact

Published: May 30, 2019

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