Updated: Dec 15, 2019

I was introduced to drugs by The D.A.R.E. Program.

Drug Abuse Resistance Education Program. D.A.R.E. Why are we daring kids to do anything? D.A.R.E. taught us to “just say no" "don't do drugs” – all I heard was do drugs.

I come from a drug free home with no intention to do drugs until D.A.R.E.

5th grade.

10 Years Old.

Is this really age appropriate?

The only thing on my mind at the time was collecting TY™ Beanie Babies.

In the beginning, all I knew about was alcohol and cigarettes. Marlboro cowboys and cute Bud-wei-ser frogs from Tv. In the end, I had an education in heroin, meth, PCP, crack cocaine, and marijuana. D.A.R.E. got me interested in drugs I knew nothing about in the first place.

Once a week, an officer would come to our school in a badass Dodge Charger with a German Shepherd. There was a box in the back of the classroom where we could ask “anonymous” questions. The only kid placing questions in that box was Tony. Every week, we’d learn about drugs and abuse, and how we to resist! I’d absorb all the drug information, and burn out for the resistance.

I placed a question in the box: “Have you ever tried drugs?” The officer opened my note and read it aloud. “Have you ever tried drugs?” He said in a contemplative voice. The class buzzed. “No. I have not.” The next week, I placed another question in the box. “If drugs are different for everyone, why should we all just say no?” The Officer laughed.

“Trust me.” He said.

Trust you? I don’t even know you. The D.A.R.E. Program was supposed to a "safe" space to talk. Safe it was not. No one was talking. Everyone listened just enough to answer for a piece of candy.

Halfway through the program, the D.A.R.E. Officer played a cartoon about Hallucinogens that made me want to do mushrooms. It showed a young boy eating mushrooms (who I thought was hot). His eyes turned into swirls and he saw a colorful world with a pink bunny hopping across. The lesson taught us that hallucinogens are different for everyone, and to just say no. As a girl of imagination who likes to spin in circles during recess, I couldn't help but wonder: What would I see if I did mushrooms?

We had an event called Red Ribbon Week. For 1 week, straight. Every kid in school wore a red wristband to symbolize a “pledge no to drugs”. If I wore my wristband every day for a week and “pledged no to drugs” I’d get a piece of licorice.

I said, “no to drugs”, but I did it for the Red Vines.

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