Questions About DARE's Effectiveness Have Merit

Questions About DARE's Effectiveness Have Merit
Posted by FoM on February 07, 2001 at 07:13:35 PT
By Samuel Bennett - Special to The Star
Source: Kansas City Star
Since its inception in 1983 as a joint program of the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles School District, the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, commonly known as DARE, has become the drug education curriculum of choice for most school districts in America, as well as more than 40 countries. DARE gained national prominence under President Reagan's war on drugs and today receives about $600 million in federal, state and local funding. 
The climb from local program to multimillion-dollar industry has been in spite of evidence over decades that resistance skills-training methods are not only ineffective but often counterproductive. Students, particularly those considered at-risk, see multiple levels of substance use and effects in society but are presented with an "all use is abuse" message in school. The Kansas City Star's article on DARE stated, "A national study of its effectiveness is needed, and DARE might undertake one." Numerous studies have been conducted, sometimes following students for up to 10 years. The studies listed in DARE's literature and on its Web site support the organization's case but have been criticized as short-term, weak on research, inadequately designed and often without a control group. Comprehensive evaluations almost always show that the program's positive effects dissipate over time and that there are no discernible long-term effects. DARE alumni have statistically identical patterns of substance use as adolescents with no drug-resistance training. One seven-year study in Kokomo, Ind., revealed that students exposed to DARE were slightly more likely to use marijuana than other students. DARE proponents have a huge vested interest in seeing it continue. Millions of dollars are spent on the program each year, and thousands of police officers are assigned to local DARE units. A 1997 article by Stephen Glass in The New Republic detailed widespread abuses, including documented instances of children turning in their parents for suspected drug use and intimidation of journalists and researchers who have reported negative results. Why then does the program continue to be popular? Some researchers have speculated that parents and educators have a skewed perception of adolescents' drug use. When adults see teen-agers who aren't in trouble, they feel that resistance programs must be working. What they are actually seeing is normative behavior. DARE relies on scare tactics, rather than the truth. "Just Say No" is a simplistic solution. The more effective programs are harm-reduction models that give children the facts, teach them to make informed decisions, and then only when the messages are honestly and consistently reinforced at home. Samuel Bennett lives in Kansas City and is the foundation program manager for Commerce Bank. His son is a DARE graduate. Source: Kansas City Star (MO)Author: Samuel Bennett - Special to The StarPublished: February 5, 2001Copyright: 2001 The Kansas City Star Address: 1729 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo. 64108 Contact: letters Website: Feedback: CannabisNews Articles - DARE
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Comment #2 posted by Ethan Russo, MD on February 07, 2001 at 15:13:26 PT:
Drug Testing: A Bad Investment
Read the ACLU Report for yourself:
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Comment #1 posted by zenarch on February 07, 2001 at 15:12:43 PT
just a minute
I see D.A.R.E. for what it is, a welfare program for cops. However this author cites Stephen Glass and his New Republic article which was a FAKE. Why he felt he needed to fake it I'll never know, but the fact that it has resurfaced surprises me greatly. somebody is suffering from long term memory loss! ;-|
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