D.A.R.E. Busted For Completely Fake Anti-Pot Propaganda

Anyone who grew up in the 1990s will remember those infamous “this is your brain on drugs” commercials starring attractive, straightedge teens (because we all know Johnny Depp never did drugs growing up); but perhaps there should be a widespread campaign to “just say no” to propaganda instead?

In an hysterical turn of events, D.A.R.E. was caught posting a bogus article about the perils of edible marijuana on their website, but quickly removed it after TruthVoice exposed them. The fake story was titled,“Edible Marijuana Candies Kill 9 in Colorado, 12 at Coachella” and tried to convince readers that the candies were sweeping the nation by storm, killing people left and right. According to the now deleted story:

Each candy is an emulsification of sweetened Jello, vodka and minced marijuana. Huffington Post reports that within a week, 9 college students have died from these marijuana candies.”

The anti-drug organization was trying to promote the story in order to scare impressionable youths away from “reefer madness.”

After some digging, TruthVoice discovered that Haywood Bynum III, whose motto is “leading the charge of faith at Bible Fellowship Church,” authored the piece. Furthermore, the website that hosted the story seems to be a satirical publication akin to The Onion. Amusingly, their tagline is “American Values for an Unsaved World.”

The anti-cannabis article promoted by D.A.R.E. includes a hilarious number of comedic lines:

“It is sad that in a country as developed as America, such third world drugs such as marijuana are allowed to exist.”

As well as this golden nugget:

“Marijuana.  It is one of the most dangerous drugs on Earth.  We are only seeing the tip of the iceberg here, my friends.”

Last, but not least:

“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 story magically disappeared from D.A.R.E.’s website within 24 hours after they were called out, but no regrets or amendments have been made thus far. Escalating matters, a reader decided to contact the D.A.R.E. Scientific Advisory Board and launch a formal complaint against promulgating hearsay. It has gotten so bad that board member, Chris Ringwalt, went so far as to deny being on the board:

Though TruthVoice initially reported Ringwalt was listed on their advisory board, it appears that the DARE Scientific Advisory Board has now been deleted from the official DARE site. When TruthVoice tried to reach out to the DARE board members, most of the numbers listed were out of service. However, they were able to reach Sue Rusche, who is the President and CEO of National Families in Action.

Rusche told them that the DARE Scientific Board is no longer active and the list of board members was “misleading” to the general public. When questioned about the satirical article posted as a factual story, she called the move “foolish” and added that it’s not constructive to the anti-drug message of DARE.

In the span of 24 hours, DARE was brought down for publishing a fake piece about marijuana, removing it when exposed, refusing to acknowledging their faux pas, and then denying the existence of their scientific advisory board.

To be fair, drug abuse is a major problem among minors and should not be encouraged. According to medical experts, growing bodies operate differently from adult bodies and illegal drugs can damage important organs like the brain and heart. For example, cocaine has been proven to sometimes cause heart attacks in minors. Even a seemingly innocuous drug like cannabis can be harmful to developing brains and can result in memory loss.

In a report by the Washington Post, 100 Americans die of drug overdoses every day and many of us know someone whose life has been changed due to substance abuse. Still, there has never been any deaths as a result of marijuana overdose.

There’s nothing wrong with the spirit of D.A.R.E.’s message, it’s just the execution that needs to evolve.


Do you agree or disagree with how DARE handed the debacle? Was DARE a part of your childhood?




Zara Zhi
Zara Zhi
Zara is a freelance writer and filmmaker who has worked for numerous magazines and news sites. When not coming up with puns or writing screenplays, she enjoys having blind children read to her and donating plasma TVs. Follow her on Twitter: @zarazhi