What is D.A.R.E.?
A DARE officer plays with a student in
Drug Abuse Resistance Education, D.A.R.E., is a publicly
funded program that uses law enforcement resources to help
children resist drugs and gangs and to target at-risk groups
and solicit information for police consideration.
Preventing adolescent drug abuse is a national concern. A
number of programs have been developed to tackle the
problem, yet teen drug use has gone up. No program should be
treated as a sacred cow at the cost of our young people's
lives and well being. It's time for America to stop living
in denial. Police are not licensed teachers and they don't
belong in a classroom; they belong out on the streets to
protect the community from crime, doing the job they have
been trained to do.
DARE is costly and ineffective. It wastes educational and
police resources. The link between schools and drug police
has become a sacred cow that leads to a false sense of
security, despite clear evidence that DARE is a failure.
Since its curriculum went national, two patterns have
emerged: more students now do drugs, and they start using
drugs at an earlier age.
There is no simple answer to the drug war, and simplistic
approaches often do more harm than good. Be a part of the
solution. Work with schools to make drug education effective
through truth, moderation and personal responsibility.
D.A.R.E. has failed its
most important test:
more kids are using drugs.
The graph below shows data compiled for the federal
government's National Institute on Drug Abuse, or NIDA.
It's time for a fresh look at our children and their drug
education. No credible studies have shown significant
reductions of drug use among DARE students. As more fifth
graders undergo DARE training, more eighth graders get
involved with drugs. It doesn't take a genius to see that
something is wrong with the program.
Why D.A.R.E. does not
drugs. DARE brings students uniformed police officers
(sometimes with a gun) driving seized drug vehicles, handing
out free goodies like buttons, bumper stickers, tee-shirts,
sodas, ribbons, diplomas and awards to capture kids'
interest. This draws an undue amount of attention to a taboo
activity, creating the "forbidden fruit" effect that
actually increases drugs' appeal.
DARE sends a mixed
message. Lumping all drugs together, without comparing
relative risks, impairs judgment. Even its name, "dare,"
encourages risk-taking behavior.
DARE sends harmful
stereotypes, self-fulfilling prophesies. Students are
taught that once they try drugs they are losers who will
become addicts and ruin their lives. Too often, they believe
this lie and fall into the very pattern that is most
Students know DARE lies to them. Students compare
notes and experiences outside of school, often ridiculing
the DARE class. As a result they learn to distrust all drug
Kids "just say no" to DARE. After all, rejection
is the main lesson they learn in the class: not how to make
responsible decisions or wait until you grow up, simply to
be intolerant and negative.
DARE has a hidden
agenda. DARE is more than just a thinly veiled public
relations device for the police department. It is a
propaganda tool that indoctrinates children in the politics
of the Drug War, and a hidden lobbying strategy to increase
We have positive solutions
Deglamorize drug education. Don't exaggerate the
importance of drugs. Don't hold them up as a litmus test of
character. Don't reinforce negative self images or predict
self-destruction. Offer hope.
Utilize honest and effective educational programs
that treat drug use as just another part of a broad health
curriculum, with topics such as medical care, nutrition,
exercise, hygiene, ecology, safety, and other activities
that affect the students' quality of life.
Teach personal responsibility. Drugs are only part
of the problem; so are poor life skills. Children need to
learn how to treat themselves and others with respect, which
kinds of behavior are appropriate at what age, and how to
make good decisions in life.
Sponsor after-school library and recreation programs
to fill unsupervised time. Studies show that even more
important than drug education is the amount of unsupervised
time kids have after school, when they are more likely to
try out drugs and otherwise get into trouble. It pays to
give them something better to do.
Parents must take a leadership role. Schools can't
solve the problem alone. Talk to your children. Tune out the
TV; don't let your children watch violent shows filled with
anti-social behavior. Make sure your school sends an honest,
positive message that includes models of abstinence,
moderation, and responsibility.
Make America's drug laws fair. Justice and
consistency should be cornerstones of the law. In fact, the
biggest dangers of illegal drugs are criminal penalties.
Long mandatory prison sentences for marijuana amid ads that
glamorize alcohol and tobacco are hypocritical and
illogical. Why are children confused? They expect our laws
to be fair.
The DARE program creates a dangerous emotional bond that
makes it difficult to even objectively discuss the subject
of drug education with its more fanatical devotees. And
while many officers are well intended, some DARE officers
can't resist abusing their power.
· An Iowa DARE
officer, Officer Trimble, was caught stealing drugs,
trafficking meth-ampheta-mine, and making pornography was
returned to the classroom, according to the Associated
· An Arizona DARE officer took out a search warrant
on the home of a student whose parents held him out of the
· A Colorado DARE officer got a student to turn in
his own parents, then bragged to the national press that
it's what he had "taught him to do".
· An investigation by the Massachussetts Boston
Globe found that DARE funds are often used for police perks
- not the program or the children.
For a better alternative to DARE, see the drug education
Smart communities are getting rid of
California voted to eliminate the DARE
program for the good of the children.
Texas is considering cutting the program by half to
test its merit.
urged to eliminate DARE
Miscellaneous other reasons to get rid of
Read the amazing lies and
bigorty put forth by a typical Dare officer
Read the incredible story of Officer
Trimble of Iowa, sex pervert, drug addict . . . and DARE
Produced and presented as a public service by
For the Family Council's Position on DARE, click
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Visit the Parents Against DARE web site