9 Different Studies Say Drug Program “DARE” Does Nothing or Worsens the Problem

The Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, also known as DARE has been active in schools for decades, but is it really effective in reducing drug abuse among American kids? DARE is active in 8 out of 10 school districts throughout the United States and in dozens of countries throughout the globe. It reaches more than 36,000,000 students annually, but what impact does the international program have on alcohol and drug abuse statistics? According to 9 different studies, there is evidence to suggest that it isn’t helping. Some studies suggest that it may even worsen the problem.

Ongoing program evaluations

Nine agencies have conducted scientific evaluations of DARE. These include the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Surgeon General, the U.S. General Accounting Office, the National Academy of Sciences and five others. Across the board, these agencies have consistently found that Dare is not effective at lowering alcohol and drug use by students in schools, and in some areas, it has made the problem worse.

Study results impact upon DARE

The release of the information gathered throughout the years has consistently shown that the program is completely ineffective. The U. S. Department of Education has responded by prohibiting school districts from using funding on DARE programs because it has been proven to offer no value for reducing student substance abuse.

Inspiration for DARE

The substance abuse prevention program is based upon educational theories developed by Carl Rogers, Abraham Maslow and Bill Coulson. Even though all three globally respected psychologists later admitted that their theories were totally wrong, DARE continues to operate from its established principles. This further undermines the credibility of the program and evaluation results make it difficult to find any redeeming qualities for continuing to administer DARE in public schools.

DARE’s response to the studies

Program leaders for DARE insist that the empirical research studies don’t tell the whole story about DARE efficacy. They suggest that intangibles such as hoes, feelings and impressions cannot be measured and these are the results that cannot be measured. Leaders cannot produce any evidence to show that DARE is effective in lowering substance abuse rates among kids, but they explain that their success lies in things that won’t show up as proof in a study. They continue to administer the program on theories that have been discredited as though factual information presented isn’t relevant.

Public opinion of DARE

The Mothers Against Drunk Driving or MADD organization surveyed a cross section of parents and students to get their opinions of DARE. The results showed that they feel favorable about it in general, so although it’s not effective in hitting its goal, it’s a program that is favored among parents and kids. This does support the the fact that when it comes to feelings, the program has had a favorable response. When it comes to the numbers, substance abuse and tobacco use is on the rise instead of declining.

Final Thoughts

DARE officials continue to defend their program and claim that many of the existing studies are bogus or vendetta based to get the program out of the schools. As studies release new findings about the program, revisions have been made in an attempt to address any inadequacies found. These have had no impact on DARE’s effectiveness. Constant recommendations for dismantling DARE pour in because of the overwhelming supply of scientific data that clearly shows it doesn’t accomplish what it set out to do. Although created with good intentions, it just isn’t cutting it. It’s nice that police interact with the kids and make themselves available to the community education system, but the money spent on DARE could be better used on a different approach that actually gets results. More than a billion dollars a year are spent of a totally ineffective program so isn’t it time to redirect the funding into alternatives that get results?


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