Arizona: State auditor says to drop
Arizona study showed that DARE is not cost effective.
This is a state study which was done separately from the
national study recently released on DARE. State auditors
then recommended that AZ pull money from DARE, but the
program lived on despite this motion and continues to be
subsidized by taxpayers.
18 Nov 1999: Minneapolis Star-Tribune (MN)
Minneapolis schools drop out of DARE program
Author: Anne O'Connor, Star Tribune
Minneapolis schools will DARE no longer. After 11 years,
the district and the Police Department are pulling the plug
on the controversialDrug Abuse Resistance Education program
in city schools. Currentclasses will end by Jan. 31.
The program has been popular with students and parents,
although its effectiveness has been questioned for years. On
Wednesday, as parents heard the news, some were angry that
there was no parent representative on the committee that
decided to end the program.
The district has been using the program for
fifth-graders. DARE brings police officers into classes to
teach about the dangers of drinking and chemical use.
Instead, district officials say, kindergartners through
seniors will learn a new comprehensive health program
covering drug resistance and also everything from first aid
to exercise to emotional health to body systems.
"We're going to be able to provide a much healthier
curriculum for our kids," said Pam Lindberg, a district
curriculum specialist in health and physical education. "The
ultimate is to have healthier kids."
Some of the about $500,000 a year the Minneapolis Police
Department was spending on DARE will be saved, and some will
be spent on four new school liaison officers to bring the
total number to 19. That saves one aspect of the DARE
program that many parents like: having kids and cops get to
know each other.
Police Chief Robert Olson said several studies have
questioned the effectiveness of the DARE program when it's
used in only one grade, as it is in Minneapolis.
"If you're just using the single component, the
fifth-grade component, it doesn't make a hill of
difference," Olson said.
DARE is used in most Minnesota school districts,
including St. Paul, at a total cost of several millions of
dollars a year. In fact, the program is used in 80 percent
of school districts nationwide, according to the nonprofit
DARE America. Only a handful have pulled out of the program,
said Ralph Lochridge, director of communications for DARE
Lochridge said his organization's main concern would be
that Minneapolis children get an effective antidrug message.
He said he doesn't think liaison officers can be as
effective, because DARE officers in the classroom have more
direct access to kids.
A 1997 Minnesota study by the DARE Advisory Council found
that the program seems to have little lasting impact in
preventing drug or alcohol use. Students reported that the
drug-resistance strategies they learned during 17 hours of
classroom instruction didn't fit the pressures they faced in
the real world.
"Peer pressure is a lot harder in middle school and in
high school," said Timothy Nelson, a freshman at
Minneapolis' Washburn High, who's glad the program is being
discontinued. "It's better to start out at a younger age and
continue through middle school and high school."
Nelson participated Wednesday as a trainer for about 65
middle-school students to become "bodyguards" -- students
who coach younger kids through some of those peer
"I had so many students come up to me and tell me that
this was so much better than the DARE program," Nelson
The district's new health program for kindergarten
through sixth grade is called Great Body Shop. Lindberg said
that 26 schools are using the curriculum now and that it
will be phased in at the district's other 65 schools in the
next two years.
Sheree Zaccardi, who is the co-president of the Parent
Partnership Council, said the district has some explaining
to do. For one thing, there wasn't a parent representative
on the committee that made the decision.
She said she doesn't want kids to be without any antidrug
messages while the district gets the new program in place.
And, she asked, how are teachers going to fit one more thing
into an already packed day? And where is the extra
"A comprehensive program would be wonderful, but if it's
not properly staffed to get the program across to all the
kids, it's pointless," Zaccardi said.
Minneapolis Public Schools Superintendent Carol Johnson
said she hopes the district will hear more parent voices in
the future through the elected Parent Advisory Councils. She
said that in this case, the district has heard feedback over
the years from parents about DARE. Some liked the program,
but many questioned it.
"They wanted to know, 'What are we doing at sixth grade,
seventh grade, eighth grade?' " she said. She also said the
new curriculum will enhance a health program that already
covers antidrug issues, and she hopes that, with extra
teacher training, the program can fit into other subject
Weekly (CO) 4 Dec 1998
The dire consequences of DARE
Epp and Beckner are right (and we don't say that often)
Police Chief Mark Beckner and Boulder County Sheriff George
Epp recently dumped the local chapters of DARE, a national
mistake known as Drug Abuse Resistance Education. They
should be applauded for their bold actions, which hopefully
will put Boulder at the leading edge of an overnight
Publicly, Beckner says he has nothing against DARE, which
every year dispatches police officers to preach against the
evils of drug use to 35 million fifth graders nationally.
The police chief allows that the program wasn't meeting the
community's needs. Epp criticizes DARE for lacking
flexibility. They're being polite.
The truth: DARE led to an increase in drug abuse among
I suspected that in 1996 when the U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services issued a report showing a rise in
teen drug use of 78 percent between 1992 and 1995 on the
heels of DARE's most prolific years of growth.
Some high profile potheads at Boulder's Sacred Herb
Church-where toking joints once served as communion-also
felt strongly that DARE was leading children to drugs. And
who would know better, I thought.
Shortly after the HHS report broke, I conducted some
research, which involved contacting the people who know DARE
I called psychologist William Hansen, whose research
formed the basis for DARE. Hansen was a professor of
psychology at the University of Southern California when
DARE was started in 1983 by then-Los Angeles Police Chief
Darryl Gates, whose son was addicted to drugs. Hansen said
the LAPD took an anti-drug model he had developed while it
was in its infant stages and ran with it. More than a decade
later, Hansen observed, DARE was still using the exact same
model, even though he himself had scrapped it as one of many
unsuccessful attempts to develop a workable anti-drug
program for schools.
"DARE was misguided as soon as they adopted our material,
because we were off base," Hansen told me. "It's outdated
material that does not work."
I called Bill Colson, the world-renowned psychologist who
co-authored 17 books with the late Carl Rogers, former
president of the American Psychological Association. In the
'60s and '70s, Colson and Rogers, along with renowned
psychologist Abraham Maslow, developed and popularized
psychological practices known as "experimental education,"
"humanistic psychology," and "self-actualization." Their
theories formed the foundation for Hansen's
Like Hansen, Colson, Rogers and Maslow all eventually
said "oops," regarding the theories DARE was founded
"DARE is rooted in trash psychology," Colson told me two
years ago. "We developed the theories that DARE was founded
on, and we were wrong. Even Abe Maslow wrote about these
theories being wrong before he died."
Which is true, said Boulder psychotherapist Ellen Maslow,
Abraham Maslow's daughter. She called DARE "nonsense" in
1996, saying the program represented widespread
misinterpretation of humanistic psychology.
Ellen Maslow said her father's vision of humanistic
psychology was misunderstood by public educators, who bent
and twisted it and ended up making childhood "self-esteem" a
central focus of public education. Self-esteem is a central
focus in DARE, and Ellen Maslow says it has led to
narcissism and self-indulgence.
Other critics of self-esteem are easy to find these days.
"Saddam Hussein and Stalin had great self-esteem," Norm
Resnick, a psychologist and national radio talk show host
told me. "Children need authoritative guidance.
Self-esteem alone doesn't translate into making good
decisions." Still not convinced DARE was all bad, I
contacted psychologist Richard H. Blum at Stanford
University School of Medicine. At the time, Blum was heading
the single largest ongoing study of drug education in the
United States, published as "Drug Education: Results and
"Basically, 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," Blum
Colson summed it up best. "As they get a little older,
they become very curious about these drugs they've learned
about from police officers. The kids start thinking, 'I
don't want to say no.' Then they say, 'Didn't that police
officer tell me it's my perfect right to choose?' And thus,
they choose to experiment."
By now police departments must know this. But DARE is
first and foremost about money. According to Hansen,
taxpayers spend about $125 per DARE pupil. "What this does
is channel a lot of money to police departments, and that's
why they like it," Hansen says.
Responding to Boulder's abandonment of the program, DARE
spokesman Ralph Lockridge had the gall to suggest we need
more of it. The program should be broadened to include high
school students, not just fifth graders, he claims.
"It's sort of like teaching someone 17 piano lessons in
the fifth grade and expecting them to remember anything
without any reinforcement when you test them in high
school," Lockridge told the Sunday Camera.
This man obviously suffers from excessive self-esteem
In truth, DARE's expectation is far sillier than
Lockridge's piano analogy suggests. He'd be accurate to say:
"It's like teaching students 17 piano lessons in the fifth
grade and then expecting them to never touch a
Despite their public politeness, I suspect Sheriff Epp
and Chief Beckner have figured all this out and no longer
wish to sponsor a program that spawns young drug
Unfortunately, both men have suggested some other program
might replace DARE. They should think about the lack of
success world-renowned psychologists have had in finding a
way to introduce the subject of drugs without it
In school, students are supposed to learn. Teach them
math, they'll use math. Teach them reading, they will read.
Teach them about drugs, they will toke up.
We ought to celebrate the local dumping of DARE. Then
take the opportunity to urge the school district and local
law enforcement to reject drug education in schools. Let
individual guardians of children figure out the complex
issue of adolescent drug abuse on an individual basis.
Here's a proposition for the Boulder Police Department,
Sheriff Epp and the Boulder Valley School District: Dare to
have no drug intervention program at all. Let's call it
DIRE-Drug Intervention Resistance Endeavor. The goal will be
zero tolerance for drug education in public schools.
The results will be astounding. Fewer children will use
drugs, more classroom time will be spent on legitimate
education, and police will be able to focus on crime.
Houston Chronicle, 06/11/98
Fund cuts for Houston DARE are sought /
Program fails to stem drug abuse - Driscoll
By MATT SCHWARTZ Staff
City Councilman Ray Driscoll called for a 50 percent cut
in funding to the Houston Police DARE program Wednesday,
calling the popular nationwide effort good public relations
for police but ineffective in combating drug use among
"We're spending a lot of money on PR (public relations)
and T-shirts, pencils and signs, but we're not getting any
results," said Driscoll, who has criticized the program in
the past. "We've had it in Houston for 12 years. Drug use
among youth continues to rise. Something is wrong."
He issued his call to chop city funding to Drug Abuse
Resistance Education in the form of an amendment to Mayor
Lee Brown 's proposed fiscal 1999 budget. The amendment will
be considered by City Council in two weeks.
Driscoll said there have been numerous studies in recent
years in which researchers reported that DARE had little or
no effect on substance abuse by teens.
"I have been to DARE graduations," Driscoll said. "I have
spoken to high school kids about the DARE program and very
few of them can tell me what it was. They say something
like, `I remember that. I went through that.' What did you
learn? They say, `Drugs are bad.' I don't think you have to
go through a DARE program to learn that."
Driscoll said that he would offer a substitute amendment
next week that the 50 percent funding cut should go to
existing anti-drug programs with a successful track
Councilwoman Martha Wong agreed with Driscoll. "I think
there are some programs that are more successful than DARE
," she said.
Afterward, Brown , who began the DARE program in Houston
when he was police chief, predicted council would spare the
program the budget knife.
"Anyone who has visited a DARE graduation will know that
it makes a difference," the mayor said. "Anyone who has
talked with a child who has been through the DARE program,
knows that it makes a difference."
Houston Police Chief C.O. Bradford said about 27,000
fifth-graders and 24,000 seventh-graders participate in
local DARE programs.
Asked what effect cutting the DARE funding by half would
have, Bradford said, "I think we would have to reduce the
number of students by half. We would have to decide which of
the schools would not have the opportunity to experience the
HPD's DARE program costs $3 .7 million a year to operate,
$3 .3 million of which is salaries and benefits for the 63
officers who work with the program, Bradford said.
He questioned what people are looking for when they say
DARE does not work. He likened it to driver education
"It's not so they won't have an accident, it's to better
prepare them when they hit the road," Bradford said. "That's
what DARE does."
The University of Houston is studying the local DARE
program and the results of the study are expected this
summer. Bradford said that if the study indicates the
program needs modifying, he would support that.
Oakland, California, July 25, 1995
Oakland eliminates DARE by unanimous vote
After spending more than $600,000 per year without any
significant change in student drug use, the City of Oakland
voted unanimously July 25 to say "no" to D.A.R.E. The City
and Police Department agreed at a Public Safety Committee
meeting to defund the controversial program and put its
police officers back on the streets. The program is opposed
by community groups across America for its cost, its
secrecy, its inaccuracies, and reports of increased drug use
among students who participate. Before it could be
reconsidered, D.A.R.E. would have to compete for funds with
other curricula that its critics say are more effective.
Oakland is the largest community to withdraw from the
D.A.R.E. program to date. A community coalition of family
groups, researchers and teachers spoke at the hearing in
support of the change. UC Berkeley professor Joel Moskowitz,
Ph.D., presented and reviewed a thick folio of studies and
reports documenting the ineffectiveness of the program.
D.A.R.E. opponents favor making drug education part of a
credible health curriculum designed to protect young people
from abusing hard drugs.
"D.A.R.E.'s self-promotion is a free giveaway of bumper
stickers, tee shirts, diplomas, etc.. That creates a strong
emotional attachment to this failed program," said Family
Council on Drug Awareness director Chris Conrad. "All we
have available to counter it are scientific facts and our
personal commitment to protect children. In this case, that
was enough. The bottom line is that D.A.R.E. is an expensive
program that seems to be making the situation worse." There
are also national reports of police misuse of program funds,
and of officers teaching children to spy on their families
and act as police informants.
"A lot of people are uncomfortable with this situation,
but it is not easy to stand up against a program that hands
out tax breaks to businesses and candy to kids to buy their
affection and support. The message this action sends out to
concerned parents, teachers and school boards is this: It
can be done. Gather the facts on D.A.R.E., bring your
neighbors to the decision makers and voice your concerns. In
Oakland, we found that the community needs its money to go
to programs that really work, and the police department
needs its officers back on the street fighting crime. Those
were points that everyone could agree on."
Conrad explained that the program's problems are inherent
to its approach. Even the name, D.A.R.E., encourages
risk-taking behavior. It reinforces dangerous attitudes by
telling kids that if they try one drug they will go on to
others, rather than help them draw the line. The program is
based on scare tactics, peer pressure, assertiveness
training, social stigmas, and other powerful impulses that
are easy to trigger but impossible to control. "Once a kid
learns to 'just say no,' it is just as easy to say no to
D.A.R.E. as it is to say no to drugs," Conrad said. "Kids
don't need flashy stickers and slogans. They need qualified
FCDA: Family Council on Drug
Text of FCDA testimony at the May 1995 Oakland hearing
By FCDA Director Chris Conrad
I am here today to speak against the continued
subsidization of the DARE program and to urge that the
program be removed from the local school system. With all
due respect to those who support the program, it seems clear
this is an emotional response that is often tainted by a
financial self-interest in continuing the program. Numerous
unbiased evaluations have found that DARE is effective at
only one thing: raising money for DARE. Perhaps the most
thorough and circumspect such review is the one known as the
Triangle Report, which compiled and considered numerous
other reports. The overall conclusion was that DARE is
After 12 years in operation, there is no question that
the program is a failure. In 1994, the federal Drug Czar,
Education Secretary, and Secretary of Health and Human
Services held a joint press conference to announce NIDA
(National Institute on Drug Abuse) statistics showing an
increase in drug use among the nations' students. I hold
DARE partially to blame.
Even the name DARE is a provocative double-entendre that
implies a challenge to experiment with drugs.
From its ill-conceived name to its false premise to its
corrupted application, the DARE curriculum is fatally
flawed. Repeated surveys and studies have proven that the
program is a waste of money at best, and counter-productive
at worst. Police in the classroom is not education, it is
political indoctrination. And whereas this country is
founded on the premise that all people are created equal,
DARE divides society into two classes: those who are "drug
free" and those who are bad people. That attitude is
Over the past six years, I have talked with hundreds of
students and parents about DARE. Their comments are not
flattering. Most students find that DARE is boring or an
excuse to get out of other schoolwork. Many say it actually
makes them more curious about drugs. Peer pressure and
assertiveness are powerful motivational forcess that cannot
be controlled once they are instilled in a child. Lacking
proper training, these officers also lack credibility.
Students gather together after class to talk about drugs and
criticize the DARE information. The curriculum makes no
distinction between use and abuse, or between soft and hard
drugs. Kids are told that if they smoke pot they will go to
hard drugs, which can become a self-fulfilling prophesy.
Kids are not taught to discriminate between drugs; they are
taught to discriminate against certain people. There are
documented cases of DARE officers using the program to teach
children to spy on their own family and report parents and
siblings to the police. This is not always the case, of
course. But DARE is essentially a self-promotion tool of the
police department to dispense paraphernalia like tee shirts,
soft drinks, buttons, bumper stickers, and so on.
This approach is not cost effective. It is not effective,
at all. It is, in reality, a waste of scarce resources.
Two questions arise: First, is the goal to reduce drug
use among students? If so, then DARE should be eliminated
and replaced with a program that has some credibility among
young people. That means a health program based on honest
information that seeks to break down stereotypes and reduce
The second question: Is the goal to have a police-student
public relations program? Half of high school seniors have
tried marijuana. One out of four young black men will be
arrested at some point, many for drug offenses. Having a
police officer come to class to tell lies about drugs and
urge kids to have their friends and family arrested may not
be the best public relations tool. More likely, it is one of
the worst, because it leads to later distrust and
disrespect. If we want to improve police community
relations, keep the streets safe from violent crime and
bring cops and kids together to play basketball or to talk
about issues in an informal basis &emdash; but don't waste
school time and money on the program.
We are all concerned about the health and well being of
our children. For that reason, I urge you to do something
really good for them. Take away the DARE money and use it
for more teachers and better teaching material. Better
schools will give them the tools to succeed in life, and
that has been proven the most effective deterrent to drug
The City of Oakland has ended its support of the DARE
program and is developing in its place an multi-disciplinary
approach that involves the schools, the recreation
department, and parents in an effort to delay first use of
ilegal drugs, which includes alcohol and tobacco for young
Early use often leads to later abuse. The most common
problem is that of unsupervised time in which kids are more
likely to get into trouble, with drugs or otherwise. Use of
athletic and recreation department facilities under adult
supervision will help mitigate that.
Use of mentors and peer role models should emphasize
positive, responsible behavior rather than recovery.
Reincorporating drug education into the general health
curriculum will reduce the undue emphasis on the role of
drugs in peoples' lives and remove the artificial glamor
attached to drugs.
Another problem is the hramful influence of television,
which reinforces negative role models and promotes violence.
Violent behavior is a gateway to criminal misconduct.
Children need to learn to suspend their belief of television
and should be taught conflict resolution and aggression
reduction as basic life skills.
As this grand experiment in Oakland continues, it will
provide important information to be used by other
communities such as this in protecting our young people from
the consequences of both the drug war and hard drugs, as
well as the criminal underground market in drugs which it
LA Times Business Section,
11/19/1998, Thu, p. C-2. The State / Small Business
HEMP SHAMPOO MAKER SUES FOR DEFAMATION
A Westwood shampoo manufacturer has sued the head of a
national drug organization, alleging that he defamed the
company in a recent newspaper article. Alterna Inc. filed
the civil suit against Glenn Levant, a former deputy Los
Angeles police chief and founder of DARE America, Inc., a
private, nonprofit program that promotes the Drug Abuse
Resistance Education program to schoolchildren
The suit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court,
alleges that Levant made false and malicious statements
about the compant when he said in a Nov., 6 Los Angeles
Times article that the company's Alterna Hemp Shampoo "is a
subterfuge to promote marijuana" because its ads feature a
In a news release, the company said it would drop the
suit if Levant retracted his statement in the newspaper,
paid the company's legal fees, and financed "correctional
advertising to inform all Alterna customers of Levant's
inaccurate comments." Levant called the suit "a cheap
publicity gimmick" that is without merit. (Stephen
09 June 1999, San
Luis Obispo County Telegram-Tribune (CA)
Atascadero schools very close to dropping DARE
By Alexis Chiu, Associated Press Writer, Maria T. Garcia,
The popular Drug Abuse Resistance Education program,
better known as DARE, will likely be scrapped from the
school districts curriculum next year. That's because
district officials say the money used for the program should
be spent on teachers.
Atascadero DARE officer Brian Dana, who will return to
patrol if the program is abolished, said he thinks the
program is a vital and proactive way to combat drug abuse.
"We waste so much money reacting after things happen," Dana
said. "This is a way to act before theres a problem. We do
so much for the kids and now the district wants to take this
away from us."
Superintendent Dan Dodds said the final decision to drop
the program is up to the Board of Trustees, who are
scheduled to adopt the budget June 22. However, its unlikely
the trustees will go against the recommendations of district
officials and the budget board, who proposed dropping DARE,
If the program is not continued, Atascadero will be the
only district in the county without the anti-drug
"We have a number of prevention programs in place," Dodd
said. "It was very hard for us to employ a police officer
over a teacher."
Even without the program, Dodds said students at San
Benito, San Gabriel, Monterey Road elementary schools and
the Santa Rosa Academic Academy still will be taught an
The Sheriffs Department will continue implementing the
DARE program at Creston, Carrisa Plains and Santa Margarita
elementary schools free of charge to the district.
In September 1989, the Atascadero Unified School District
began implementing the DARE curriculum at its elementary
schools with the help of the local police department. The
district and the city have since agreed to split the cost of
paying a police officer to teach the 17-week course.
But the district did not budget the $25,000 to cover its
share of the officers salary for the coming school year,
In turn, the city did not set aside matching funds for
the program in its budget, said City Manager Wade
The cost of implementing the program in Atascadero is
$62,935 a year the same as the salary for a full-time police
officer. Although McKinney said the City Council considers
DARE to be a beneficial program, its unlikely it will pick
up the tab.
"Im a supporter of DARE," McKinney said. "But I dont want
to second guess the districts decision (not to continue the
program). Sometimes you have to make tough choices on
The DARE curriculums emphasis is on preventing substance
abuse by teaching elementary school students about the
perils of drugs, Dana said. All the police departments in
San Luis Obispo County have partnerships with their
respective school districts. The program also is in place at
schools around the nation and in 44 countries around the
world, according to a DARE press release.
Dana said he's heard talk about the district
discontinuing the DARE curriculum but has not officially
been told that the program has been axed.
"Im not very happy about what Im hearing," said Dana, who
was instrumental in bringing a Blackhawk helicopter to San
Gabriel Elementary School for an anti-drug rally last