“Just Say No was not enough”

Since 1983 the D.A.R.E program has helped teach school-age children about the dangers of drugs. You’ve seen the shirts and heard the slogan, “Just Say No to Drugs.” However, the organization’s message is changing, and one mother believes it could have saved her son’s life.

“My son passed away on Sept. 16, 2020, from fentanyl poisoning. He was 40 when he passed away, and he had been dealing with addiction and mental health for a number of years since he was a teenager,” Venina Smith told Fox News. “It was outdated. ‘Just Say No’ was not [enough], ‘Just say no, but say no to what?”

Smith told the news organization her son’s drug addiction started during his teenage years, even though he received D.A.R.E’s federally funded drug resistance education. 

With fentanyl becoming more prevalent nationwide, it has also transformed reporting and tracking of overdose deaths. The CDC reported monthly overdose deaths involving fentanyl for people ages 10 to 19 increased over 180% from 2019 to 2021.

To read or watch the entire Fox News report click here.