Thank you all for responding with so much wisdom.
I too feel DARE has not lived up to its hype. I'm sure there are people that it has helped but drug use has escalated. Maybe some of the strategies were worthwhile but we need to look at outcomes and results not on just a feel good effort.
A reality is there are some kids no matter how much education an anti-drug tactics you show them they will become addicted. Type A personality, daredevil, something missing in their life, DNA or who knows what else drives some to try drugs and suffer addiction and with others the same strategies work to keep them away from this danger. This is something I have come to believe. Takes someone smarter than I to figure this one out.
A bunch of police officers, parents, teachers and other adults standing in front of kids telling them the horrors and danger of using drugs is only marginally effective at best. This does not mean I think that strategy should be abandoned. We just need to understand OUR limitations as adults relating to a young adult and child's world. Despite at times feeling helpless because our words seem to fall on deaf ears we can never give up talking. If we aren't standing up with this information it will be the same as delivering our children to the drug dealers on a silver platter.
Several people mentioned what I would call "peer counseling", getting someone close to their age in to counsel kids on their personal experience with using drugs and addiction. Myself, from personal experience I think this should be the next frontier. From personal experience speaking to students I could look at them when I was explaining our family experience and see the look in some kids faces that my words were drifting into space. But the one time that Alex went with me to speak to kids at a high school those very same kids were all eyes on him and intent. When Alex was talking I don't think I have ever felt so useless in a presentation, that was a good feeling for me about this subject. Truth is when he pulled his sleeves up and showed them his scars on his arms from surgery and needles I think I felt the room shiver.
I don't now how to get the peer counseling going on a larger scale but I think this is a strategy that needs to be worked. For myself, I have sent letters to school superintendents and high school principals in 5 neighboring school districts offering for Alex and I to speak with classes or even just troubled students. Not a single response, not even a no thank you. Anyone have any suggestions for us?
Everyone keep thinking; what we are doing with drug education today is not good enough. Sure wish I could turn all of this pain the last 7 years into wisdom that keeps another child and parent from experiencing what we all have experienced.
ps.: I'm not leaving out an age, 9-10 years old is not too young to begin talking seriously to kids about drugs or any other facts and dangers of life.