D.A.R.E. Accidentally Published a Surprising Op-Ed

July 31st 2015

Alex Mierjeski

On Monday, the drug abuse prevention outfit D.A.R.E., which stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education, appeared to have made a surprising admission when they published an online op-ed extolling the benefits of legalizing marijuana and regulating the drug.

The post, "Purchasing marijuana puts kids at risk," sounds sufficiently prohibitionist, but it's progressive bent unfolds in the first sentence: "As a former deputy sheriff, I know from enforcing senseless marijuana laws that children only are being put in more danger when marijuana is kept illegal."

The author, former deputy sheriff Carlis McDerent, who also works with the nonprofit Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, continues, arguing that criminalizing marijuana has only led to unfettered access to the drug for young people, not the other way around:

"Anyone 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, but anyone championing that we ban them would be laughed at...I support legalization precisely because I want to reduce youths' drug use. Drug dealers don't care about a customer's age. The answer isn't prohibition and incarceration; the answer is regulation and education."

The apparent revelation was picked up by New York Magazine, which called the piece a "breakthrough." But D.A.R.E. representatives were equally surprised when reporters reached out with questions, and promptly took the piece down. In an email written on Thursday to Washington Post reporter Christopher Ingraham, D.A.R.E. regional director John Lindsay confirmed the organization's opposition to legalization, and that the post was the likely outcome of an indiscriminate RSS feed. The original post was published earlier on Monday by the Columbus Dispatch in response to a letter opposing legalization earlier in July.

"We do not support legalization nor do we advocate for legalization of marijuana. We are in the process of taking this article down. We have a news service and the header "Purchasing Marijuana Puts Kids at Risk" may be why it was posted. A mistake on our part but one we are correcting," Lindsay wrote to the Post.

Another regional director for D.A.R.E., Ron Brogan, told the Huffington Post on Friday that "a service we use put this post up in error," and that "we have not changed our stance that we are opposed to marijuana legalization."

To learn more about the history of why marijuana is illegal, watch ATTN:'s video: 

The Real History of Drugs Episode 5: Marijuana

The disturbing history of why marijuana is illegal in the U.S...(ATTN: is excited to launch Episode 5 of our new series about the history of illegal drugs)

Posted by ATTN: on Sunday, July 19, 2015