D.A.R.E. program quietly removes marijuana from list of ‘gateway drugs’?

Emily Gray Brosious

Update: Content originally published on the D.A.R.E. webpage that we’ve linked to in the first paragraph of this story is no longer available. Here’s a link to the cached page view from Feb. 9, 2016.
DARE takes marijuana off its list of gateway drugs(Photo credit: Inventorchris/Compfight cc)

The Drug Abuse Resistance Education program (D.A.R.E.), one of the largest anti-drug groups in the world, no longer lists marijuana as a so-called “gateway drug” on its website*, as one Redditor recently pointed out.

The gateway theory basically claims that people who start using “soft” substances, such as marijuana, then go on to use “hard” drugs like heroin or cocaine.

It’s a fairly common argument made to support marijuana prohibition.

As many will recall, Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz recently took some heat for electing to describe pot as a dangerous gateway drug during a recent interview.

D.A.R.E. has been teaching this theory to grade-school children across the world for years. It’s also been putting out a steady stream of exaggerated scary weed stories.

Here’s one passage from an Oct. 2014 article posted to D.A.R.E.’s website:

While the drug [marijuana] is being legalized in some states for medicinal and, in some cases, recreational purposes, there are many experts who still consider it the path to a life of ruin.

Numerous studies that disprove the marijuana-gateway theory have been published in recent years, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that “most people who use marijuana do not go on to use other, ‘harder’ substances.”

Now in 2016, even D.A.R.E. seems to have removed marijuana from its list of gateway drugs. The program’s website specifically mentions only tobacco and alcohol as gateway drugs now.

Whether or not alcohol and tobacco qualify as gateway drugs is another area of debate. But if D.A.R.E. is taking small steps to reduce the amount of marijuana propaganda it puts out, that would represent a significant change for the organization.

*Editor’s noteLeafly dug up cached versions of D.A.R.E.’s website that appear to show cannabis wasn’t listed as a gateway drug since as early as 2013. A question mark has been added to this post headline to underscore the lack of clarity as to when cannabis may have been removed from D.A.R.E.’s gateway drug list.

[h/t Beabout, R/Trees]


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