- June 30, 2020
INEFFECTIVENESS OF D.A.R.E.
DrugAbuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E) is a joint initiative of the LosAngeles Unified School District under the State Government and DarylGates founded in 1983 as a program aimed at controlling andpreventing gang membership and violent behavior resulting from theuse of controlled drugs (Goode 540). To achieve this, there is awell-formulated curriculum that lasts for ten days in schools wherethe students are joining the program interact with assigned policeofficers who create awareness for them concerning the dangersassociated with drug use. They also pledge by signing not to engagein such practices.
Despitethe efforts made by the stakeholders and the set objectives of theinitiative, much has not been realized since the effectiveness ofD.A.R.E. has raised questions over the years with many researchersdisplaying statistics to justify this trend. An example of such is apublication of an article, Alcohol Abuse Prevention: Some majorproblems by David J. Hanson, where there is a reported increase intobacco usage by 34% and 29% rise in drug usage among the DAREparticipants in Texas particularly Houston. This is a directcontradiction of expectations among the state officials and all therelevant authorities. This ineffectiveness is attributed to variousreasons, some which are discussed below:
Suppressionby DARE leadership
Therehave been many incidences in which the leadership of this initiativehas pursued possible ‘bashers` of their activities in the event ofprobable publication of their progress in various states withinAmerica. Some of the publishers report direct criticisms or lawsuitsin an attempt to keep mum. Some of these include Dennis Cauchon’sstory on USA Today and the Rolling Stone Magazine. This has beenviewed as a major hindrance and suppression of the scientificresearch, as noted by one Federal Judge in his ruling. As a result ofthis, there has been difficulty in close monitoring and scrutiny ofthe activities of DARE, leading to poor performance.
Outdatedprogram in use
Dr.William Hansen, a co-designer of the original curriculum of DARE uponinception opines that there is a great need to completely scrap outthe entire program and develop a new one that matches the currenttrends and the dynamic needs. This implies that the circumstancesunder which the original curriculum was set greatly differ fromempirical situation currently, hence the need for its overhaul. Asnoted, each of the curriculum revisions of the DARE curriculumundertaken is considered superficial, in that the same studenthandbook is retained, availing nothing new (Michael & Haines 50).Concisely, the implementations of DARE are those overtaken by timeand events and therefore proving worthless and ineffective.
Fearof criticism from other individuals and bodies
Foryears, several individuals and groups have found it hard to corrector negatively respond to activities of DARE for the failure of beingseen as jealous over the achievements made by dare. An instance isreported in New York Times in 2001 that labeled anti- DARE pro-druggroups as having vested interest in supporting individual personalagendas with no regards to the fate of the children (Mike Riggs 20).This has tremendously discouraged potential voices of transformationin the body for the betterment of the lives of American children andthe youth.
Inappropriateand ineffective approaches
Tosome extent, approaches used by the body to combat the drug menacewithin the states have not been effective. For example, the use ofchildren as informants does not yield many fruits. This is due to thestrong bond that exists between children and their parents or bloodrelations as compared to that between them and their teachers of DAREpolice officers. For that matter, children would quickly report totheir parents or other relatives the intentions of the police,leading to such people developing caution on handling drugs andalcohol within their privacy. Attached to this is inappropriatenessof the three Rs as applied by the cops of resisting, recognizing andreporting various drug-related cases. This is because to children,all the three above may not take place. One may understand, but failto resist the lure or may be swayed away by other thoughts or simpleblackmail. This scenario has had an effect of rendering the work ofthis anti-drug body ineffective.
Oneof the involves reasons that in drug addiction pulled down theperformance and enhanced the non-transformational tendency of thisprogram has been a concentration of their efforts on particular agegroup as the target, for example, ages 10-14, 13-19 and so forth. Inthe real sense, there is great concern over the fate of the younggroup of kids from ages of 2 to 6 years. This is an age ofsensitivity, and great care needs to be taken so that they are notleft out of the picture. This program ought to have been introducednot only in schools but also in various homes so that both theparents and the teachers share the responsibility of inculcatingmorals and certain principles in the lives of the children evenbefore they attain the compulsory school-going age.
Dueto ineffectiveness associated with DARE program, therefore, USDepartment of Health and Human Sciences through The Substance Abuseand Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) agency was born,whose mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mentalillness on America`s communities. This agency has come up withfeasible tested more than sixty model programs each of which wouldhave better and higher chances far much about those of DARE programs.In some of these programs suggested by SAMHSA, there are thosesuitable for specific age groups such as the Across Ages Selectiveapplicable to those between the ages of 9 and 13, Al’s Pals: KidsMaking Healthy Choices, Universal for ages between 3 and 8, amongothers.
Followingthe challenges associated with DARE programs that have led to failurein implementations of due resolutions and inability to transform thelives of children affected by drugs and substances, I would suggestsome of the following ways:
Completeoverhaul of the curriculum
Assuggested by Dr. Hansen, the DARE curriculum developed during itsearly stages of inception should be changed to suit the currenttrends and issues at hand as far as drug and substance war isconcerned. It should also incorporate various methods, psychological,social and spiritual if possible to enhance its effectiveness. Itshould also bring on board varied opinions from different anti-drugbodies with the aim of improving services. This should be accompaniedby a change in the leadership by appointing new individuals withflexible minds and willing to modify the system, instead of a rigidand selfish lot.
DAREshould adopt practical strategies that would enhance theeffectiveness of their efforts. For instance, the use of children asthe primary informants should be reconsidered, since this is likelyto thwart their efforts in the anti-drugs war. Children may not beentirely trusted in absolute terms, maybe just some them from certainage groups. This also depends on individual factors such therelationship issues within the family as well as morality levelemanating from general upbringing. That, therefore, proves not to bea good and worthwhile approach. Instead of this, direct combat andengagement with the culprits and victims in specifically determinedways.
Membersof the public should be mobilized and equipped to be in a position tounderstand their roles in the fight against drug abuse among othervices. This should include informing them of the available agencies,mechanisms and their responsibilities in enhancing a drug-freesociety. With that each person will be in a position to guardthemselves, their relations and hence the entire community will besafe.
Thepublic should put to task the leadership of DARE to ensure that itdischarges its full responsibilities with visible results eitherattainable qualitative and qualitatively. It should be in a positionto account for the finances and other resources such as timeallocated to it. Transparency and accountability should hence bedemanded by the general public either on individual capacity or as agroup without the fear of victimization or criticism.
Thefight against drug use amongst the children and any other grouptogether with the eradication of the entire practice should be acombination of all efforts from all citizens of the United States.This is done through ways such as developing close links with eachother amongst various neighborhoods in an attempt to identify certainmischievous individuals then reporting to the relevant authorities(Penn State & D.A.R.E. Partner). Another attempt at joiningefforts would be the right student-teacher relationship to enhancecooperation both at home and in school as the children grow so thatthey are positively aligned and groomed to understand and upholdmorals and uprightness. Society plays a critical role in theupbringing of the children it should also develop policies thattrain children on adverse impacts of the drug abuse. Also, sinceyouth engages in substance abuse due to being idleness, the communitystakeholders can consider arranging forums such as sports to engagethe children as well as securing them jobs from the nationalgovernment or the county government. In the long run, his wouldreduce instances of children participation or influence into drugs.
Incase all or some the above suggestions fail to take a course orimplemented but yield no outcome, disbandment of the entire bodywould be appropriate so that either a new body is put in place orother methods of solving these drug-related cases are put intoaction. This would help reduce misuse of finance, time and otherresources channeled towards this cause.
Otherrecommendations involve restructuring of DARE to integrate elementsthat demonstrate consistency, for instance, those found in “secondgeneration” aspects. Even though DARE focuses on enhancingresistance skills and decision making, the training particularlytargeting those aspects do so in the perspective of drug use only..Notably, adolescents involved in substance abuse habits are oftenengaged in other social problems. Therefore, it is practical andessential to target all of these habits using one program (Marlow,Kristina Rhodes, Steve 100). The D.ARE program serves as thisapproach presuming various changes are executed. Also, incorporatingbooster sessions in the DARE programs, should be considered.Adolescent is a period of growth, attitudes, as well as habits, keepon changing as the youths mature up. In this case, DARE, as well asother drug prevention approaches targeting adolescents, shouldconsider booster sessions. It involves a sequence of follow-upsessions so as to enhance the probability of maintaining any positiveimpacts. Also, skill achievement throughout DARE programs should beput into practice as well as reinforced through real life assignment(Dineen 100). For instance, if the skill taught involved problemsolving, the instructors should design task that relates to realworld scenarios to engage students in problem-solving techniques aswell as enhancing their understanding.
Replicationof studies regarding the assessment of the DARA program should betaken into consideration since diversity exists in evidence about theoverall program effectiveness. Executing randomized surveys would beof help in gathering more positive outcomes regarding DARE programsresults. Longitudinal studies will also guide in examining thelong-term project objectives of deterring the usage of drugs amongthe adolescent. In evaluating the DARE programs, it is recommended toconduct a single national survey tool to be utilized in assessing allthe outcomes. Currently, it is hard to examine the effectiveness ofthe DARE programs since distinct researchers utilize different surveytool to evaluate a range of measures. Determining the DARE programgoals using one survey enables the researchers to measure up theirresults across the examinations carried out in United States regionsas well as other parts of the globe
Followingthe poor performance of the DARE anti-drug body, it, therefore,follows that much need to be done so as to contain the situation, thestatistics show is on the rise in a negative direction. With regardsto this, all the citizens need to rise to the occasion to rectify thesituation from the solutions mentioned above. The scope of the DAREneeds to be expanded to include more components so as to focus on abroad range of adolescent life challenges including the familystruggles, intimate relationships, self-esteem, productivecommunication as well as peer acceptance. Supplementary sessionsshould integrate elements such as those of the second generationaspects like establishing of goals, resolving problems as well aspredicting obstacles.
Dineen,T. Whenit comes to drug abuse prevention programs, "just say no"to feel-good,
Goode,E Drugsin American Society,McGraw-Hill.2011
Marlow,Kristina Rhodes, Steve Study:DARE teaches kids about drugs but
doesn’tprevent use. ChicagoTribune.2012
MichaelP. Haines` ASocial Norms Approach to Preventing Binge Drinking at Colleges and
Universities.Newton, Massachusetts: Higher Education Center for Alcohol and OtherDrug Prevention, 2015
MikeRiggs.D.A.R.E, American`s Most Famous Anti-drug program, Will no
longerTalk to10 –and 11 Year Old Children About Marijuana.2012
PennState & D.A.R.E. Partner, Preventing Substance Use in ElementarySchoolsPenn State
UniversitySocial Science Research, 2013