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Back to October Ed Reporter

Education Reporter
NUMBER 177 THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS OCTOBER 2000

Is DARE Dying?
After years of studies exposing DARE's failure to curb drug use among the young, the nation's most popular drug education program may be at death's door. According to author James Bovard, writing in the August 27 Washington Times: "The Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program is increasingly being tossed out of school systems as the evidence becomes overwhelming of its failure to deter drug use."

In 1994, a study commissioned by the federal government concluded that "there is no evidence that the $750 million-a-year program reduces drug usage." (See Education Reporter, October 1994.) The Justice Department failed to publish the study because, according to a spokesman: "We just do not agree with one of the major findings." Nevertheless, the results were widely recognized as valid and the Triangle Research Institute, which conducted the three-year, $300,000 study, stood by its findings.

Numerous studies with similar results have followed, including a 10-year study by the University of Kentucky (UK), which released its findings in August 1999. The UK study tracked students who had taken the DARE program in the 5th and 6th grades - the most common age range for DARE - through their high school years and confirmed that DARE graduates were as likely to use drugs as students who did not take the instruction. (See Education Reporter, September 1999.) Studies by the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1998 and by the California legislative analyst's office in 1999 revealed that students who took DARE were actually more likely to use drugs than those who did not.

DARE was launched in the 1980s by former Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates. It has enjoyed tremendous marketing, media and public relations support. The hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer money and private donations spent on the program each year provide parents and students with bumper stickers, T-shirts, bears, hats and other paraphernalia. As James Bovard notes: "DARE has everything - except good results. Many independent experts have found that DARE miserably fails students."


 
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