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Effectiveness of Dare

In: Social Issues

Submitted By scronin
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For nearly twenty years the so called “experts” have been coming to schools and lecturing children about the problems contributed to drug use. A majority of students in the United States have had to sit through class after class of a police officer telling them to be a “skipping cd” and to “just say no.” Although the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program is extremely popular, it is ineffective and sometimes even counterproductive. D.A.R.E. and other drug education programs were introduced as a solution for the perceived drug abuse problems. Instead these programs have powered children’s interest in drugs. By telling a child something is off limits, this automatically sparks their interest: The forbidden fruit syndrome. D.A.R.E. is a publicly funded program which enlists law enforcement officials to help children resist drugs and gangs by targeting at risk youths. D.A.R.E. has uniformed police officers go into schools and warn students about the dangers of drugs. In most cases, the officers go to the classes once a week, for about 45-60 minutes (Scientific American), for several months. D.A.R.E. is immensely popular, it has been put in place in 75 percent (SA) of U.S. school districts and 43 countries. Even here in Middletown I constantly see D.A.R.E. bumper stickers, tee shirts, and police cars with the D.A.R.E. logo plastered on it. D.A.R.E. has become an extremely popular and recognizable fixture in many U.S. communities. Although D.A.R.E has claimed short term successes, studies are now showing that “D.A.R.E does not work to reduce substance use.” (ABC News). One study even found that D.A.R.E students use drugs slightly more often than those who did not attend a D.A.R.E. program. Despite all the commercialization, and money being poured into the program, it is simply not working. The government gives D.A.R.E hundreds of millions of your tax dollars every year. D.A.R.E. is costly and ineffective. It wastes educational and police resources. Police are not licensed teachers and they don’t belong in a classroom; they belong on the streets to protect and serve the community. We should get licensed teachers to educate students about how to resist drugs using programs that have proven success rates. Two patterns have emerged since the curriculum went national: more students now do drugs, and they start using drugs at an earlier age. (The Family Council on Drug Awareness). As more fifth graders go through the D.A.R.E. program, more eighth graders get involved with drugs. This is seen through many studies. It doesn’t take too much research to see that something is wrong with the program. D.A.R.E. right now admits that there is a problem, and says it is now undertaking “the most significant revision of the D.A.R.E. Program.” (ABC News). This will be the tenth revision to the program. Clearly none of these revisions seem to be of any significant help. Joel Brown, an author of a study on drugs has said, “By the time young people enter about seventh or eighth grade, they come to believe that they are not being told the truth about drugs.” This stems from the fact that many celebrities, and even world leaders, have admitted to using drugs. When the president of your country acknowledges that he himself had “drank beer heavily and tried drugs enthusiastically.” (Dreams of my Father), young children might get the feeling that they are being lied to by their D.A.R.E. instructors. Even the famous psychologist who helped develop the theories the D.A.R.E. program is stemmed from say it was “trash psychology.” (Hanson). Dr. William Colson continues to say that “We developed the theories that D.A.R.E. was founded on, and we were wrong.” Dr. Richard H. Blum, who has conducted extremely in depth research on drug education, stresses that “we have found again and again that drug education in schools causes kids to take on drugs and alcohol sooner than they would without the education." Dr. Colson explains that "as they get a little older, they become very curious about these drugs they've learned about from police officers.” Another observer points out that:
One study after another has found that DARE, the nation's most popular substance abuse prevention program, does not actually prevent substance abuse. Yet DARE (a.k.a. Drug Abuse Resistance Education) 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 always seem willing to give DARE another chance. (Hanson).
With all of the effective programs available, there is simply no excuse to continue using the inadequate and counterproductive D.A.R.E. program. It’s important to remember that D.A.R.E. is expensive in terms of both money and time. Every hour devoted to D.A.R.E. is an hour lost to math, reading, or even to an effective abuse prevention program. Some alternative programs include: Life Skills Training Program (LST) -LST is a school-based substance abuse prevention program for students 10-14 years of age. It teaches general personal and social skills, specific resistance skills, and normative information, Project ALERT - Project ALERT is also a school-based program, in this case for students in middle school. It teaches drug abstention norms, reasons to abstain, and resistance skills, or Strengthening Families Program (SFP) - SFP is a substance abuse prevention program for substance-abusing families with children six to12 years of age. (Hanson). The cost of these programs is much higher than that of D.A.R.E., but wouldn’t you rather an expensive program that is effective than a cheap program that is ineffective? Our children deserve better than mediocre, they deserve the best

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