Drug education and prevention programs in Colorado schools will not see any changes addressing recent changes in marijuana laws.
D.A.R.E., or Drug Abuse Resistance Education, is a program taught in many elementary and middle schools that emphasizes the dangers of drugs.
Mike Lien, D.A.R.E. regional director for Colorado, said the program will not be making any changes to the education plan for the state, even after the passage of Amendment 64 legalized the use of recreational marijuana and retail sales for adults over 21.
“At this point, we are not looking to make any changes,” he said. “We feel our position has been a long-standing good one for kids.”
However, Lien said individual officers are free to address the issue if a student brings up a question.
“Any discussion, other than if the topic is broached by a child, may be more harmful than efficient,” he said.
Lien said he is hearing from Colorado officers that students are asking questions about marijuana, but it is up to each officer, in each classroom, to decide how to answer those questions.
“What we’re always concerned about in D.A.R.E. is age appropriateness,” he said. “Our studies show, for instance, talking about marijuana is not appropriate in elementary schools, but is OK in middle schools.”
Lien said while there are no current plans to change education about marijuana in Colorado, he can’t predict what future studies and research might suggest.
“No door is closed, but no door is immediately open,” he said.