The city of Denver has decided to take a new approach to childhood cannabis education. The city has developed a new game show they hope will be more effective than the scare tactics of yore.
The show, titled 'Weeded Out' aims to educate young people about marijuana use in an engaging manner. Ashely Kilroy - the program's director - felt previous efforts to educate kids about responsible drug use have failed, so it's time to change course.
"We feel like that whole D.A.R.E. campaign, and the 'Just Say No' campaign used scare tactics that didn’t work. We saw that that sort of negative messaging and fear tactics do not work for this group. Youth want to be talked to like adults—they don’t want to be lectured," Kilroy told Denverite.
Increased legality and normalization of cannabis consumption across the US has meant that educators have had to re-evaluate how they speak to students about marijuana. Preaching abstinence is no longer the norm, with focus now on responsible and adult use instead. Programs like this can do a lot to move public opinions on cannabis, too. They have the potential of creating an informed public, and help destigmatize consumption. But, the facts have to be right in order for it to do so. Kilroy says she hopes Weeded Out encourages views to check out the facts for themselves, and challenge the aspects they don't agree with.
"The facts that we’re giving them have been vetted," she told Denverite. "Kids can go look at that data. We want to drive them to the research. Getting them to take that responsibility for their health will have a much longer lasting impact."