(AP/Ted S. Warren)

"Just Say No" to the War on Drugs? D.A.R.E. accidentally publishes pro-legalization op-ed

Sadly, the publication was an error and quickly corrected -- three days later


Scott Eric Kaufman
July 31, 2015 6:36PM (UTC)

For the past three days, there has been an editorial from former deputy sheriff Carlis McDerment on the official website of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) organization advocating for the legalization of marijuana.

According to the Leaf's Jeremy Daw, the apparent announcement that the group responsible for the ubiquitous "Just Say No" campaign in the 1980s "was almost the best gift legalization advocates received all year" -- but alas, the dream was not to be realized, as it turned out that someone at D.A.R.E. had simply pulled the editorial off the wires without having actually read it.

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The editorial, which has since been pulled from D.A.R.E.'s website, was a response to an anti-legalization letter written to the Columbus Dispatch by Dr. Johana Said, in which she argued that legalizing marijuana would just add yet another item to the long list of substances children could accidentally ingest and die.

Former deputy sheriff -- and current member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) -- McDerment found that line of logic absurd, writing that "[a]nyone who suggests we outlaw everything dangerous to children would also have to ban stairs, Tylenol, bleach, forks and outlet sockets and definitely alcohol."

"Those things harm children every day," he added, "but anyone championing that we ban them would be laughed at." McDerment also argued that he supported legalization "precisely because I want to reduce youths' drug use," claiming that while legal vendors won't sell to minors, "[d]rug dealers don't care about a customer's age."

When the letter that they'd published was brought to the organization's attention by the Washington Post's Christopher Ingraham, a representative blamed the publication on a news service for having written a deceptive headline. "We do not support legalization nor do we advocate for legalization of marijuana," the spokesperson added.


Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at skaufman@salon.com.

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D.a.r.e. Just Say No Legalization War On Drugs




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