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Those crazy kids

A little more on sex ed, and reasons why it might not work.  Do you believe that drug education reduces drug use?  If you're reading this web site, I bet you don't, and you're right--the most famous program, D.A.R.E., has consistently failed to show any positive effects, something which is disguised by the program producers by constantly changing the curriculum so that whatever program just flunked a reality check isn't the same as the awesome new program they're using now.

Do you think that driver's education reduces risky driving?  If you do, it's because you were home schooled and never met any teenagers.  Teen fatalities have declined thanks to other laws, but not because we told 'em they might be killed.  The future beyond next month is not very real to teenagers, which is surprising, since they're immortal.

Indeed, as the proponents of comprehensive birth control education often readily comprehend in other contexts, such as smoking education and high drinking ages, telling kids that something is risky often makes them enjoy it more.

Of course, you could argue that preventing pregnancy is easy and attractive, while eschewing marijuana is not.  But this is not quite true.  Condoms reduce sexual pleasure.  The pill can make you sick, has to be taken at the same time every day, and is likely to be found by your snoopy mother.  The depo-provera shots suppress your libido, can make your periods heavier, and make you gain weight, a major drawback in fat-obsessed America.  All three cost money that could be spent on other things, like the marijuana you're smoking despite the best efforts of your parents and teachers.

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Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

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