NewsBriefs BUTTONS

Several Studies Suggest DARE Programs Ineffective


February 1993

Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE), the controversial, school-based antidrug program taught by uniformed police officers who encourage children to turn in peers and family members who use illicit drugs, is not effective in its stated goal of reducing use or future use by adolescents of licit and illicit drugs, according to several published studies (Research Council on Ethnopsychology, DARE Research Fact Sheet, provided to NewsBriefs January 1993).

The excerpts below are from the "DARE Research Fact Sheet" by the Research Council on Ethnopsychology:

  1. "DARE demonstrated no effect on adolescents' use of alcohol, cigarettes, or inhalants, or on their future intentions to use these substances. However, DARE did make a positive impact on adolescents' awareness of the costs of using alcohol and cigarettes, perceptions of the media's portrayal of these substances, general and specific attitudes toward drugs, perceived attitudes towards drug use, and assertiveness" (Christopher Ringwalt, Susan Ennett, Kathleen Holt, "An Outcome Evaluation of Project DARE," Center for Social Research and Policy Analysis, Research Triangle Institute, P.O. Box 12194, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709).
  2. "A longitudinal study published in January 1990 by the Evaluation and Training Institute of Los Angeles, under contract to DARE America, assessed the program on a number of dimensions. Included were the use of five gateway substances after DARE: marijuana, beer, wine, hard liquor, and cigarettes. DARE students showed elevations on all five substances two years after the course; control-group subjects were elevated on only three" (Evaluation and Training Institute, Los Angeles, "DARE Evaluation Report for 1985-1989, Table 14").
  3. "Another outcome evaluation of DARE is Richard R. Clayton and Anne Cattarello, 'Prevention Intervention Research: Challenges and Opportunities,' in C.G. Leukenfeld and W.J. Bukoski (eds.) Drug Abuse Prevention Intervention Research: Methodological Issues (Rockville, Md.: National Institute on Drug Abuse Research Monograph 107, 1991, pp. 29-56). It seems clear that any careful reader of Clayton and Cattarello's Table 2 will conclude that all the comparisons favor the control subjects and none favor DARE. ... At a minimum it must be said that the authors were unable to find scientific support for DARE; for with cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, alcohol and marijuana alike (the four substances assessed), the measured outcomes lay in the opposite direction from what the researchers had predicted. Their prediction had been that DARE is effective in preventing experimentation, but this expectation was not supported."