Does DARE Prevent Youth Drug Abuse? 

Does DARE Prevent Youth Drug Abuse? 
Posted by FoM on March 06, 2000 at 10:22:47 PT
Letters To The Editor
Source: Detroit News
The Detroit News has done a commendable job exposing the failure of and money wasted on the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program (“DARE doesn’t work,” Feb. 27). I hope The News does as good a job investigating the other failed educational experiments used in our schools, such as whole language, invented spelling, cooperative and student centered learning, and environmental education.
Patricia A. Alspach, Farmington Hills    After reading the Feb. 27 article “DARE doesn’t work” and becoming very upset by the fact that a researcher at the University of Kentucky can make this conclusion, I think he needs to get out from behind his desk and become a part of reality. My daughter and several of her friends are DARE role models for the Garden City police department and have just implemented this program in the junior high school level grades seven and eight. It has had a very good response from the kids.  If parents think their kids ask them every question about peer pressure, drugs and sex, they’re wrong. I think it is important for them to have somewhere to ask their questions and get the proper answers. If DARE can steer just one kid away from doing drugs or getting into trouble, then the effort is worth it. As always, it seems to boil down to the almighty dollar spent on programs like these, and the so-called researchers decide that this is not a good program.  I have a very close relationship with my daughter, and we talk constantly about things, but I am sure there are things she does not feel comfortable talking to me about. I for one am glad that she can turn to the DARE program for the proper answer.Rebecca A. Cordts, Garden City  When are they going to stop wasting time and money on the DARE program? The students should be spending more class time on basic mathematics. If you spend all of your money on dope, you can’t pay rent or eat. Also police officers should be out running the crack dealers off the street corners and working on the unsolved homicides in Detroit.Dave Lehman, Harrisville    Will the next headline scream “Christianity doesn’t work,” with a subhead that reads “Popular religion makes no difference in Metro Detroit”?  The News could then put on Page 11 near the bottom that “since the church’s mission is to help keep people free from sin, if the church were effective, it would show up by the church members’ assertions that they had never sinned.”  It could be as simplistic as Feb. 27’s headline “DARE doesn’t work.” Fortunately, it probably wouldn’t do the harm that the DARE headline did.  People are going to sin, yet the church does make an impact. Kids are going to use drugs regardless of programs, but the programs are still needed. The question really is about how many kids, how often, and to what extent. Just because the message of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program is zero use doesn’t mean that is what people like you and I should evaluate them on. Yet with the tone of the article, I can see why the cops don’t trust an outside evaluation.  By way of example just look at The News’ own table. The News used it to say DARE does not make a difference.  I see that of those students who had DARE training in the fifth grade, about six more out of every 100 children did not have five-plus drinks in a row within the past two weeks (when compared with the non-DARE group).  Stop and actually think about that fact. Five-plus drinks in a row is very risky behavior for kids. The non-DARE group had an average of 44.25 percent of the kids in this category, while the DARE group had 38.5 percent. These numbers should disgust all of us, but at least the DARE kids behaved significantly better.  How many high school students in the Metro area were out drinking and driving last Friday night? The 6 percent that listened to the police officers in the fifth grade were not the ones you had to worry about. That must equal thousands of youngsters.  It makes me think that we need better ways of viewing what is realistic to expect from this and other programs.  Our society is always looking for the one big quick fix. One of the places we should start is by setting reasonable goals and performance measurements that are not simplistic.  Measureable results are important. The trick is to understand what is the right thing to measure and hope people will report on it thoughtfully and responsibly.Greg DorrienExecutive DirectorWest Midland Family CenterMidland    DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) is a lot of fun and interesting. But most kids I know who used to take DARE now drink, smoke and use drugs.  DARE should be an after-school activity for only the kids who want to go. One of the things most kids like best about DARE is missing the regularly scheduled classes. I also feel bad for parents who depend on DARE to keep their kids from drinking, smoking or using drugs. Parents shouldn’t depend on the DARE program or any program. What kids learn at home is way more important than anything else.Shawn Vershaeve, Utica    I am very upset with the lack of “investigation” done by The Detroit News special report on Drug Abuse Resistance Education (“DARE: Failing Our Kids,” Feb. 27).  First of all, the DARE program is not the silver bullet that will “solve” the entire drug problem of our youth. You cannot evaluate the life of a teenager and blame (or reward) one program for that child’s success or failure. There are so many other elements involved.  It is a program that will give our children a fighting chance, and if it can save one out of 10 children, it is worth the money. My son-in-law is a DARE officer in Metro Detroit, and I have five grandchildren who graduated from the DARE program in Metro Detroit schools. I have seen how it has affected them in a positive way.  Second, the article stated the one alternative to DARE is “parental involvement.” DARE is built on the partnership of parents, police and schools working together. DARE has a parent component that is conducted for one to two hours every semester a DARE class is taught in fifth or sixth grade. This meeting helps parents to discuss the DARE lessons at home with their children. The News articles made it sound like DARE does not include parents.  Third, The News never mentioned that DARE has follow-up lessons in seventh and eighth grades, and for ninth and 10th graders. These two important components of DARE continue to reinforce the life skills taught in the fifth and sixth grade curriculum.  Fourth, The News says money could be better spent elsewhere. Many police departments use drug forfeiture money to fund the program. This money comes from “drug dealers,” not taxpayers. DARE program supplies also are partially funded by fund-raising campaigns.  In conclusion, I see the dedication in my son-in-law’s goal to help children and their families keep our kids drug and violence free. Isn’t it important for our children to see law enforcement in a positive, proactive environment?Lorraine Latour, Wolverine Lake    In response to the Feb. 29 editorial “Drugs: Dare to Be Honest”: For years, we have poured enormous amounts of money into the “war on drugs” with seemingly few results. Our Constitution has been abused and ignored under the banner of waging this battle. We have written what almost amounts to a blank check to those who are supposed to be fighting this war, and yet they never have enough.  We can secure control over this most serious problem possibly by legalizing certain drugs, devoting a reasonable amount of money to prevention and rehabilitation and vastly reducing the incentive for illegal drug smuggling.  I don’t doubt there are many sincere and dedicated people involved in the struggle to end this problem. However, it’s time we took a more honest approach to this nation’s drug problem.D.P. Williams, Redford E-mail us at letters Published: March 6, 2000 Copyright 2000, The Detroit News Related Articles:Comments from the Net on the DARE Series Drugs: Dare to be Honest’s Clout Smothers Other Drug Programs DARE Archives:
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Comment #1 posted by observer on March 06, 2000 at 21:37:33 PT
Does DARE Prevent Youth Drug Abuse? 
Q: Does DARE Prevent Youth Drug Abuse? A: No. DARE kids end up using more drugs than kids not exposed to DARE. The little propaganda-targets catch Officer Friendly telling one lie, so they over-generalize and end up assuming other things he said were also lies. > I see that of those students who had DARE training in the> fifth grade, about six more out of every 100 children > did not have five-plus drinks in a row within the past > two weeks (when compared with the non-DARE group).> Stop and actually think about that fact. Five-plus > drinks in a row is very risky behavior for kids. > The non-DARE group had an average of 44.25 percent of > the kids in this category, while the DARE group had 38.5> percent. I'm not sure what this self-reporting of drinking habits tells us for certain ... other than 1 of 20 DARE kids know better what the "right answers" should be.
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