Dare To Keep Your Kids Off DARE

Dare To Keep Your Kids Off DARE
Posted by CN Staff on August 06, 2002 at 13:16:08 PT
By Jacob Sullum
Source: Reason Magazine
Suppose you buy a mosquito trap and find, after using it for a few months, that there are just as many mosquitoes in your yard as before, if not more. You complain to the manufacturer, which says it now has a new model that works much better. You try it, but it’s no more effective than the first one. Then you read in Consumer Reports that the company never tested the trap and has no evidence that it works. Livid, you call the manufacturer again, and you’re told the bad reviews apply to products it no longer makes. It is now developing a new mosquito trap that no one has tested yet. 
This is essentially the strategy that DARE, the country’s leading drug education program, has successfully used to stay in business for nearly two decades. One study after another has found that students who complete DARE (a.k.a. Drug Abuse Resistance Education) are just as likely to use drugs as students who don’t. Yet DARE claims it is constantly revising its curriculum, so any research indicating that it doesn’t work is immediately outdated. And with a few exceptions, school districts--four-fifths of which use the program--always seem willing to give DARE another chance. A study in the latest issue of the journal Health Education Research concludes that many schools use “heavily marketed curricula that have not been evaluated, have been evaluated inadequately or have been shown to be ineffective in reducing substance abuse.” The lead researcher, Denise Hallfors of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, does not mince words in her evaluation of DARE. “There’s no scientific rationale whatsoever for maintaining DARE in the schools,” she says.But such criticism does not faze DARE. The organization’s executive director, Charlie Parsons, told the Associated Press the research cited by skeptics “refers to DARE’s old curriculum, which is no longer used.”The authors of a 1999 study anticipated this “new and improved” argument. After following DARE participants for 10 years, they found that “in no case did the DARE group have a more successful outcome than the comparison group.” Noting that DARE’s defenders “may argue that we have evaluated an out-of-date version of the program,” they wrote, “We believe that any changes in DARE have been more cosmetic than substantive, but this is difficult to evaluate until DARE America shares the current content of the curriculum with the broader prevention community.”Never mind. Two years later, DARE unveiled an even newer curriculum that supposedly addressed the weaknesses it had always denied. Now A.P. reports that “DARE America is conducting a five-year study” to evaluate the new approach. Whatever the outcome, you can be sure there will be yet another curriculum waiting in the wings. Jacob Sullum is a Reason senior editor.Editors' LinksSource: Reason Magazine (US)Author: Jacob SullumPublished: August 6, 2002Copyright: 2002 The Reason FoundationContact: letters reason.comWebsite: Related Articles:Anti-Drug Efforts Found Ineffective's No Longer Taking the DARE DARE Archives 
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Comment #4 posted by p4me on August 06, 2002 at 14:38:32 PT
If I were in front of the firing squad my last...
 The lead researcher, Denise Hallfors of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, does not mince words in her evaluation of DARE. “There’s no scientific rationale whatsoever for maintaining DARE in the schools,” she says.words to the choir would be this.The elections that can show our political savy are 3 months away from this August Tuesday. For 3 months we need to talk the talk and 3 months from now vote the vote. I need I mention VAAI.Listen to what honesty sounds like from the above quote. How could I not give credibility to that statement. So if the prohibitionist limited my words I would have to go into my favorite pearls of wisdom and say that "Some things are meant to sell and some things are meant to work." DARE is just something to sell with billions in propaganda. If you buy something, buy something that will work.I have another expression I like that involves selling: "A thing has different value to different people." People that buy a new car are willing to pay the big price whereas that new car just does not mean as much to me as it does to an actual buyer. It still would have value to me but only the price I could resale it at a profit. The DARE program is of extreme value to those who are employed by it and profit from it. I would not buy it at any price if I were government personified because it was made to sell and its ability to work was at best secondary.I have said before that my greatest truth is in these words: "The hardest thing to say in life is 'I am wrong.'" This is because the ego does not want to be wrong as it is the "decider" that rules as guide by virtue of its ability to be right. It is time for some people to admit that they were wrong and if they want to sell us reasonable people something they should have something meant to work and not just sell.1,2 
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Comment #3 posted by SpaceCat on August 06, 2002 at 14:18:31 PT
Avon Logic
I know several people who still insist that Skin-So-Soft is an effective mosquito repellent, despite the recent study that shows DEET is the only truly effective substance, not to mention its catastrophic failure in actual use.People who want to believe will do so in the face of all Reason.If it only prevents one bite, it's worth it!
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Comment #2 posted by observer on August 06, 2002 at 14:08:25 PT
Such Compulsory Education
And with a few exceptions, school districts--four-fifths of which use the program--always seem willing to give DARE another chance.[scene: classroom, Dr Carroll addressing a group of parents.] Dr Carroll: You and other parent-school groups around the country and must stand united on this, and stamp out this frightful assassin of our youth! You can do it by bringing about compulsory education on the subject of narcotics in general, the dread marihuana in particular.[thumps desk]That is the purpose of this meeting ladies and gentlemen. To lay the foundation for a nationwide campaign by you to demand by law, such compulsory education. Because it is only through enlightenment, that this scourge can be wiped out! -- "Reefer Madness" (Originally "TELL YOUR CHILDREN", circa 1936)watch Reefer Madness as a realmove here: 
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Comment #1 posted by Ethan Russo MD on August 06, 2002 at 13:30:09 PT:
Magazine is Aptly Named
The above story is so straight forward that no one should have any difficulty understanding it, except American politicans. The problem is, that they do not care that DARE is ineffective, and counter-productive. To admit this is to admit helplessness, or that reform is the only answer. That is unthinkable to them, so they continue to squander the taxpayers' money. It is high time for a change.If you care, go to: download the excellent booklet, Safety First, on harm reduction approaches, or even better, request 50 free samples, and distribute them to teachers, principals, politicians, police, your neighbors, or anyone willing to learn the truth. It will be worth it and a tangible effort to rein in the horror of the War on Drugs.
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