I think it’s well established that D.A.R.E. has been an ineffective effort for a long time now. Almost, if not all, evidence has shown that it either had no impact on drug use, or it caused children to be MORE inclined to abuse drugs. Several U.S. government officials have labelled the program as “ineffective” such as the U.S. surgeon general, the U.S. General Accounting Office, and even the U.S. Department of Education, which prohibits funding for D.A.R.E. in schools. There’s really not much to say beyond that. The fact is that, statistically, D.A.R.E. did nothing. In fact, like I said above, some studies have suggested it may have even caused people to use drugs. An older study on the topic from Indiana University found that people who were exposed to D.A.R.E. showed an increased risk of using hallucinogenic drugs. This was explained as students becoming curious about the very drugs police officers told them to avoid. According to some of the articles I found, leaders of the program used very suspect tactics to push their agenda, such as attempting to bribe academic journals not to publish their findings. People who advocate for the D.A.R.E. program are often being mislead by an emotional response to what they believe they are doing, or they are essentially acting as lobbyists pushing the government to continue the program for their own interests.
So if the abstinence pushing strategies of D.A.R.E. did not work for drugs, would similar strategies work for other issues? I think that question should be met with a strong “absolutely not”. One of the other most common “abstinence only” teaching examples would be on the topic of sex, and trying to use it with sex is probably even less effective. Unlike drug use, sex is a natural biological drive that is present in most people, trying to tell kids to “not have sex” just isn’t a good idea It’s (arguably) exactly what we’re made to do. Schools that employ the abstinence only teaching style often overshadow the idea of safe sex with no sex to begin with which does nothing but endanger the children they are supposedly trying to protect. Moving away from specifically sexual abstinence, I don’t see how it could be a good method in any other situation. The premise seems to be based on the idea that if an adult tells a kid not to do something, they won’t, but that has never once been an effective technique to prevent behavior, if someone wants to do something they will. Instead we need to teach children the consequences of the actions you’re trying to prevent, and teach them the safest ways possible to go about those behaviors. The words of adults is rarely if ever an effective deterrent so instead of hoping we’ll just be obeyed unquestioningly, I say we arm kids with the knowledge to make good choices, and let them choose for themselves what they want to do with it.
Was D.A.R.E. Effective?
Natalie Wolchover – https://www.livescience.com/33795-effective.html
Alcohol Abuse Prevention
Ph.D. Hanson – http://www.alcoholfacts.org/DARE.html
The Truth about D.A.R.E.
Kanopiadmin – https://mises.org/library/truth-about-dare