D.A.R.E. didn’t work, so they’re trying a marijuana-themed game show for kids

“Weeded Out” is a new part of Denver’s effort to educate kids about the effects of marijuana use

A screengrab of "Weeded Out," an educational game show about marijuana created by the Department of Excise and Licenses.

A screengrab of "Weeded Out," an educational game show about marijuana created by the Department of Excise and Licenses.

Allan Tellis. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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There’s a new marijuana-focused game show in town. And it’s for kids.

“Weeded Out” is a new approach from Denver’s Department of Excise and Licenses, responding to research that told them to deviate from similar programs of years past because, according to director Ashley Kilroy, they just didn’t work.

“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 said.

The game show is not the end of this type of educational work for the department. Kilroy said the questions presented in the show will be available on game cards and used as a “classroom in a box” for kids in public schools. Eric Escudero, communications director at the Department of Excise and Licenses, says this educational piece is a critical aspect of the how the city wants to present their messaging about marijuana.

Kilroy echoed that sentiment, saying that when the department first began to regulate marijuana, one of Mayor Michael Hancock’s top priorities was making sure kids had access to education about the substance. Kilroy wants to focus on empowering the kids that receive this information and encourages teens and parents to follow up on any information they don’t understand or disagree with.

“The facts that we’re giving them have been vetted,” she said. “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.”

If you would like to see the show or follow along with their social media campaign check out thehighcosts.com.

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