9 Comically Counterproductive Things D.A.R.E. Actually Taught Us


Drugs Are Really Expensive

If you give a kid an acronym, they will find a way to make it subversive, fun fuckery in which everyone can take part: drugs, they’re expensive! After this revelation, none of us really cared about what the acronym itself meant.

You can totally walk a straight line with drunk goggles on, with enough practice — and it’s fun as hell

In my D.A.R.E. class, we heard that other schools got to put on special goggles that blurred your vision…and drive golf carts afterwards. It sounded fucking awesome — why were we so disadvantaged as to not receive golf carts? Likely a rumor, sure, but it made the day we did get the drunk goggles the best day of our lives. The teachers watched in horror as we competed with each other to be the best drunk, making walking a straight line in the disorienting lab gear into the most fun sport. I still think about how the kid who was the winner of the competition ended up narrowly escaping a DUI our senior year — the circle of life, it rules us all.

Cartoon characters don’t recommend drug use


It was always cartoon characters telling you about how they hated drugs. But what of humans, D.A.R.E.? We never really got a hot take from a teenager who didn’t seem like a dweeb paid to act like they weren’t into it for a cheesy commercial.

“No thanks, I’m allergic to ______”

This was a tactic popularized by D.A.R.E., encouraging us to tell people we were allergic to beer, weed, and everything else. It always worked in our skits, but in real life? It makes shitty people hype that the substance could just affect you more, it incenses them to tell you that there’s some other (even more dangerous and/or potent) method you can use to absorb the shit into your system: “just use the vape volcano, it’s way less harsh on your lungs” or “you can takes shot through your eye and shit, though.” Fake allergies = real ass hospitalizations, nine times out of ten. Trust.

“Just Say No”

Real life scenario: “Want a hit?”
“You sure?”

Maybe we should’ve gone with like, “just say no, but then have a plan b though?” Or “just say no to pills and powders.” Or “never agree to look at someone’s Soundcloud.”

“…and that’s how people die.”

This is very subjective, of course, but many of our instructors were teachers who felt like the easy way out of really educating kids about drug use and abuse was just to link it to impending doom: smoke weed and die. Drink and die. All of these things will lead you to an untimely end, don’t do them. This, of course, works on the principle that no one wants to test death. Have you ever seen kids on a playground? They don’t give a fuck, man. You can’t just give them a challenge.

*ridiculous movie plot that hinges on the main character smoking one joint and descending into total and complete disarray*

An offshoot of linking drugs to certain death, teachers loved to pop in a hot VHS, always the essentially plotless film that leads you from a character’s first sip to their almost-end and then a conspicuously short montage of redemption at the end. I remember one movie where the main character analogizes his alcoholic dad to the way you’d rather have some food than no food at all: “I’ll take the one damn meatball!”

Made total sense, yeah. Meatballs. Alcoholism. Got it.

This good-intentioned, but ultimately completely useless, anthem:


I’m gonna beat the odds. I won’t do drugs. I won’t give in
I’m gonna call the shots in my life. And I’m going to win.
Don’t push me. Don’t press me. Don’t call me friend when
All you wanna do is drag me down. It’s time for this to end!
Check your attitude at the door! I do not want to score!
I only want to win in this drug war!

The drug war agenda was prettttttty misguided, and the D.A.R.E. song is a classic overzealous war anthem. “I do not want to score” is subject to multiple interpretations and therefore implicated the singer of this cornball line as a total nerd, thereby reducing the efficacy of the song as an anti-drug to zero. I think the older kids had a version of this that was a drinking game?

Spiders are bad at drugs

Because they couldn’t just show us straight up drunk human beings, they went with insects instead…which just made mind-altering substances look kind of tight, honestly? Like that spider is being mad original compared to all the boring ass webs. What a tangled web we weave, when we practice to tell kids drugs are bad.

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