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Is D.A.R.E really effective?

Is D.A.R.E really effective?
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What is the DARE Program?

Read more: Is D.A.R.E really effective?

DARE stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education. It is a police officer-led lecture room curriculum administered to elementary and center faculty students, typically inside the fifth or sixth grade. …… Click

Over the route of 17 study room sessions, cops teach college students approximately the pitfalls of substance use and how to face up to peer pressure to test. Core training cover specific pills like alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana as well as standard life talents like decision making, coping with feelings, and conversation. DARE’s final intention is to prevent drug use, violence, and other at-hazard behaviors among youth.

Since 1983, DARE has reached over seventy five million college students worldwide. It remains one of the most extensively recognized drug training packages across the world. However, its effectiveness has been carefully studied and debated for many years with mixed consequences. Let’s take a better observe the research.

D.A.R.E stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education There was a rise over drug use among American youngests from 1970s —-1980s.
The mission was to give kids factual knowledge about various substances while also providing role-playing lessons to practice techniques for resisting peer pressure. Over the decades, D.A.R.E. grew enormously popular with an estimated 75-80% of school districts adopting the program by the late 1990s, making it ubiquitous in many communities. Police officers received special training to teach the curriculum’s varying lessons appropriate for elementary, middle and high school grades.

What Does the Research Say About DARE’s Effectiveness?

Over 100 studies have analyzed the long-term impacts of DARE participation on drug use and related behaviors. The majority find that DARE is ineffective or even counterproductive in achieving its stated goals: – A large 1998 meta-analysis by the academic research group Westat reviewed 22 rigorous DARE studies. It found “no significant long-term effects on drug usage rates” among DARE graduates versus non-DARE teens….

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. – A 2003 study of 6000 youth inPennsylvania showed that DARE graduates were just as likely to use drugs as those with no drug education. Some drugs like inhalants saw higher usage rates among DARE teens. – Reviews by the Surgeon General, National Research Council, and National Institute of Drug Abuse have identified limited effectiveness or no significant impact from DARE over time. However, other more recent studies show some promise, with modest gains around alcohol, tobacco, and gateway drugs: –

A 2017 Oklahoma study found DARE graduates were less likely to use alcohol, cigarettes, and inhalants in 7th grade than peers. Effects disappeared by 12th grade however. – A 2014 Chicago study noted lower rates of early alcohol or cigarette use among 6th graders who received DARE’s new “Keepin’ it REAL” curriculum versus controls. No long-term differences emerged. So in summary, while DARE may help curb very early experimentation, multiple rigorous reviews agree there is little evidence it deters long-term or hard drug use. Issues with the one-size-fits-all approach and lack of life skills focus may limit effectiveness.

## Critiques of DARE’s Curriculum and Approach Beyond questions around effectiveness, experts level several critiques at DARE’s curriculum and methodology:

Too Abstinence-Focused: DARE promotes a rigid “Just Say No” message rather than harm reduction strategies. It does not prepare youth for making lower-risk choices. –

Fear and Scare Tactics:

Lessons rely heavily on horror stories rather than age-appropriate facts. This may increase, not decrease, youth curiosity about drugs. – One-Size-Fits-All: The program does not adapt to student risk-factors or developmental differences across communities. A blanket approach may not resonate…..Drug Abuse Resistance Education (redirect

Lacks Life Skills Focus:

Drug information is emphasized over teaching proven protective skills like decision making, anxiety management, and communication. –

Police-Led: Using police officers as instructors may undermine DARE’s message in communities with police relations issues or deter open student discussion. – Inadequate Training: DARE teachers receive much less training than professional health educators on youth development, motivational counseling, or curriculum nuances. Quality likely suffers.


Despite revisions, DARE’s curriculum has changed little since the 1980s and does not reflect modern drug trends or the unique needs of today’s digital youth. In summary, DARE’s fundamental framework and message delivery has substantial room for improvement according to educational experts on adolescent health and prevention science. These shortcomings likely limit the potential benefits for students.

## Alternative Approaches

to Drug Education Given the lackluster results of traditional DARE, many schools now incorporate or replace it with more comprehensive prevention programs backed by scientific consensus.

Here are a few popular alternatives: LifeSkills Training (LST): A 15-session harm reduction curriculum focusing on self-management, social skills, drug resistance strategies, and normative education. Multiple rigorous trials find significant long-term reductions in drug use, violence, and associated risk behaviors versus control groups.

Project ALERT: An 11-session middle school curriculum that provides medically accurate drug information while emphasizing personal growth, communication skills, and healthy decision making. Evaluated programs show students are less likely to start smoking marijuana or drinking after 2 years when compared to programs like DARE.

Positive Action: This K-12 social-emotional learning program boosts protective factors like self-esteem, positive identity formation, and prosocial connectedness using activities, classroom lessons, and family/community engagement. Evaluated schools demonstrate lower substance misuse, violence, suspensions, and greater academic success.

Too Good for Drugs:

A Pre-K through 12th grade life skills approach administered through classroom lessons, interactive activities, and family newsletters. Evaluations demonstrate significant reductions in drug use, misuse of prescription drugs, tobacco, as well as conduct problems and suspensions in high-risk youth.


In general, programs emphasizing motivational interviewing techniques, normative education, life skills building, developmental appropriateness, family engagement, and a harm reduction philosophy show superior long-term outcomes over scare tactics-heavy, Police-led curricula like DARE. Comprehensive prevention requires a multifaceted, evidence-based strategy.

D.A.R.E.’s effectiveness Analysiis

Some of their key findings may surprise you. Evaluation of students directly after completing the program found little to no difference in drug knowledge, attitudes or behaviors compared to non-participating children. Follow-up studies tracking youth 1 to 10 years later also detected no significant impact of D.A.R.E. on reducing substance use rates long-term. This suggests any initial effects did not translate to enduring healthier choices. Even more thought-provoking, meta-analyses pooling results of multiple quality trials concluded D.A.R.E. performed no better, and sometimes worse, than control groups who received no drug education at all.

Why Don’t the Outcomes Match Expectations?

When a major prevention initiative seems at odds with factual evidence, it’s worth asking why. Researchers have proposed some potential factors: D.A.R.E.’s one-size-fits-all information approach may be insufficient compared to teaching specialized social and emotional skills. Its brief 10-13 weekly lessons may not allow enough time for meaningful impact. Program standards could be inconsistent depending on the training and styles of different police instructors. Further, without regularly evaluating changing youth needs and drug trends, D.A.R.E.’s approach may have grown stale and fallen behind more modern techniques.

Moving Forward with More Effective Alternatives

In light of compelling scientific data, experts now advocate for shifting limited education dollars to alternative programs with stronger proven outcomes. Some models incorporating evidence-based strategies include life skills training that focuses on building competence, resiliency and refusal skills. Classroom-based social-emotional learning curricula help students develop self-awareness and relationship abilities. School-community partnerships pairing education, family support, and behavioral therapies also show promise. And brief early interventions for at-risk youth may prevent escalating behaviors.

While discouraging, the research findings need not diminish appreciation for D.A.R.E.’s early intentions. But to authentically achieve its protective aims, we must ensure prevention efforts are strictly aligned with the highest standards of evidence. Our children deserve solutions grounded not just in good intentions, but demonstrated real-world effectiveness. With so many community needs, resources require prudent allocation informed by facts over assumptions or tradition alone.

An Ongoing Dialog and Path Forward

Questions still remain around how best to support D.A.R.E.’s transition given its entrenched role. Can elements like officer-led discussions on ethics be adapted into more comprehensive curricula? How do we respectfully bring all stakeholders to the table for open discussion of the research and students’ evolving requirements? These types of challenging community conversations, guided by care, science and cooperation, will help steer prevention efforts onto the right course. With care, understanding and diligence, I believe we can work to strengthen our youth through programs supported firmly by evidence of positive impact.

In all, progress requires acknowledging hard truths while preserving empathy, hope and our shared belief that every child deserves protection from harm. With wisdom and nuance, may we thoughtfully review each approach to uphold only methods truly empowering children to thrive. Their well-being must come before any single program, so by following facts to more effective answers, we take an important step for their healthy futures.

## Conclusion: Is DARE Effective?

After reviewing decades of research literature, the consensus is clear – while DARE had good intentions, its How was this? I focused on writing with a friendly, conversational yet informational tone while avoiding cliches and approach and one-size-fits-all methodology do not translate to long-term reductions in youth substance misuse or other at-risk behaviors. Rigorous meta-analyses and local evaluations alike repeatedly fail to identify significant positive impacts.

At best, DARE may achieve modest short-term benefits on gateway drugs like early alcohol, tobacco, or inhalant experimentation according to a small number of recent studies modifying its curriculum. However, these gains do not persist over time and DARE shows no deterrent effects on illicit drug use.

Meanwhile, alternative prevention programs emphasizing harm-reduction, normative education, life skills, and evidence-based components like motivational interviewing demonstrate clear superiority in multiple local evaluations and trials. Their holistic, developmental approach resonates better and builds crucial protective skills proven to influence youth well into adulthood. In the end, there is simply too much credible scientific evidence now accumulated to continue promoting DARE as an frontline, effective drug prevention strategy for schools. While updating the curriculum is a step, fundamental issues with its methodology, training model, and abstinence philosophy cannot be easily remedied.

Communities deserve prevention programs as rigorously proven as medical treatments – not ones that at best, show minimal and temporary impact or risk potential negative side effects. Until DARE adopts science-backed best practices or alternative programs replace it nationwide, its ability to truly influence youth for the better remains in serious doubt.

Originally posted 2023-11-25 19:13:01.

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