This sermon is part of the sermon series "Fruit: It Does a Body Good". See series.
Back in the 1980's, when drug use became epidemic among young people, and teen pregnancy and AIDS were on the rise, and gangs were turning urban neighborhoods into war zones, someone came up with a simple solution to these risky behaviors: Just Say No. If we could just teach young people to say "No" to drugs and sex and violence, we could save many lives and perhaps reshape youth culture in America.
The idea caught on, and with some help from 1st Lady Nancy Regan and the cooperation of the mass media, the Just Say No campaign blanketed America with school curriculum, TV advertisements, and celebrity endorsements. Police Departments joined the effort and developed the DARE program that schoolchildren and parents all across the country are familiar with: Drug Abuse Resistance Education. It's a simple strategy: teach young people the dangers of these risky behaviors, and then train them how to respond to temptation and peer pressure.
When you're at a party, and someone tries to put a drink or a pill in your hands, just say "No." When you're alone with your boyfriend or girlfriend, and they're pressuring you to do something you don't want to do, just say "No." When someone taunts you and you're tempted to strike back, just say "No."
20 years later the DARE program is a well-funded and award-winning program. It can be found in almost every school system in the country and in 50-some other nations around the world. There's only one problem: it doesn't work. Surveys and studies over the past 15 years have revealed again and again that educational programs not only fail to reduce risky behaviors, but in some cases they actually increase them. In 2001, the U.S. Surgeon General officially placed the DARE program in the "Does ...
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