The people behind D.A.R.E. aren’t exactly known for their keen sense of humor. The whole program amounts to uniformed cops wagging their fingers at kids and telling them drugs will kill them and everyone they know.
So it shouldn’t be a huge surprise that D.A.R.E. officials fell for yet another in a long string of phony news articles that have duped credulous conservatives and others with a slim grasp of irony.
This time around, the culprit was topekanews.com, a satirical website out of Kansas. The article fooled the folks at D.A.R.E. into believing children are dropping dead from lethal cannabis candies sweeping the nation.
“Marijuana candies, sold on the street as ‘Uncle Tweety’s Chewy Flipper’ and ‘Gummy Satans’ are taking the world by storm,” the site claimed; D.A.R.E. reposted the entire article. “It is sad that in a country as developed as America, such third world drugs such as marijuana are allowed to exist. Children are being addicted to marijuana. I knew this day would come, when a liberal president allowed a state to legally sell Marijuana Flinstone Vitamins to children.”
D.A.R.E losing credibility
D.A.R.E. purports to be a non-partisan organization dedicated to keeping children off drugs, including marijuana. It has lost most of its credibility in recent years due to the fact that its method provably doesn’t work, but the group is still prominent enough that its mistake drew widespread attention.
“Marijuana. It is one of the most dangerous drugs on Earth,” the D.A.R.E. author claimed. “For every one joint of marijuana, four teenagers become burdened with pregnancy. And for every bag of marijuana candy sold, it seems 16 violent crimes in the 16 to 45-year-old cohort break down.”
The article was removed from the website after an inquiry from The Washington Post. D.A.R.E. officials declined to comment.
P.T. Barnum said there’s a sucker born every minute. Over in the anti-drug camp, the rate may be closer to a sucker every second. Anyone with a high school education could tell you marijuana is never deadly.
The topekasnews article was titled “Edible Marijuana Candies Kill 9 in Colorado, 12 at Coachella,” a popular music festival in California.
“Each candy is an emulsification of sweetened jello, vodka, and minced marijuana,” the site claimed. “Huffington Post reports that within a week, 9 college students have died from these marijuana candies.”
Marijuana described as ‘third world drug’
Of course, none of it is true, including D.A.R.E.’s offensive portrayal of cannabis as a “third world drug.” What, exactly, is that description based on – racist assumptions about who uses weed, maybe?
The good news is, D.A.R.E. has little to no credibility these days. The idea behind the program was to introduce schoolchildren to their local police officers and then encourage them to avoid drugs. Instead, the program amounted to cops lecturing bored kids who mostly just wanted to see the officers’ guns.
This is far from the first time a notable group has fallen for satircal news articles about weed – the likes of The Onion. But it couldn’t happen to D.A.R.E. at a worse time. The organization is trying to retool its approach and image, and this development probably won’t help.