Several Studies Suggest DARE Programs Ineffective
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
The excerpts below are from the "DARE Research Fact Sheet"
by the Research Council on Ethnopsychology:
- "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).
- "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").
- "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."