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Did You Know: The D.A.R.E Program -- Is It Good for America's Kids? -- New Section on

This week the program launched a new addition to its family of web sites, examining the popular but controversial "Drug Abuse Resistance Education" (D.A.R.E.) drug education program. Supporters of D.A.R.E. argue that the program annually helps over 35 million kids in all 50 states and 43 countries to resist drug abuse. Critics counter that decades of research shows D.A.R.E. is ineffective, marketing not science-based, and can actually increase drug use by students.

See "Is the D.A.R.E. program good for America's kids (K-12)?," at, part of the ProCon family.

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DARE Counterproductive

Common sense tells us that the DARE program should deter
our youth from using illegal drugs. But it doesn't. DARE
graduates are more likely to use illegal drugs--not less.

Common sense tells us that the Earth is the center of the
universe and our solar system. But it's not.

Common sense tells us that prohibiting a product should
substantially reduce the use of the product that's prohibited.
Actually, prohibition tends to substantially increase the desire
for the product that's prohibited.

Before marijuana was criminalized in the U. S. via the Marijuana
Tax Act of 1937, the vast majority of Americans had never
heard of marijuana. Now everybody in the U. S. knows what
marijuana is and the U. S. government estimates that at least
100 million Americans have used it. About half of all high
school students will use marijuana before they graduate.

People want what they are told they cannot have--especially
children. The lure of the "forbidden fruit" is very powerful.

truth in education should

truth in education should always trump lies and hypocracy

Dare I say?

The DARE program is just another front for those prosecuting and profiting from the 'Drug War', a manufactured problem to create a profitable solution for the organizers. The 'Drug War' is pysops and an excellent example of tryanny on a global scale.
It is all a question of balance. Natural or mostly plant based concoctions come in a easily identifiable quantity, but a man-made pills and chemicals are mostly unknown without careful inspection and understanding who, how and what it is. We all need to change our mindset when tired, bored, exhausted and a good meal, smoke or drink, properly done, adds a healthy and relaxing benefit to life.

I make a point to wear my

I make a point to wear my D.A.R.E. shirt when I'm discussing legalization with other citizens because true drug abuse resistance education is based on factual, objective content and all evidence shows that Prohibition exasperates problems and undoubtedly creates more. The information given out by D.A.R.E. on marijuana is so off-base that young people often discredit the entire program's message once they find out the truth - that's counterproductive and a real shame.

DARE I mention this?

I fondly remember MY drug education. I had never heard of any of these things and, thanks to the "advertisement," couldn't wait to try them, and, gee, I'm not hooked on anything.
Here in Florida, a big "just say no" state, D.A.R.E. isn't used because, apparently, it doesn't mention anything about jobs or whatever, or so I've been told.

My ongoing drug education ...

In the mid- 1970's, at Rye High School (NY), we were shown a film about the effects of LSD. A significant number of those present had had personal experience, and were duly and raucously unimpressed by the film's campy kaleidoscope visual and musical effects.... Teacher sheepishly exited with no further discussion..... most memorable...

My DARE graduate

is the only one my 3 kids who continues to smoke pot as an adult. He says that the DARE program (in 4th grade!) is what got him and his friends interested in drugs.

Drug Policy Activists

Has anyone heard of the Drug Policy Activists?

borden's picture

Do you mean the Drug Policy

Do you mean the Drug Policy Alliance?

David Borden, Executive Director the Drug Reform Coordination Network
Washington, DC

The Drug Policy Alliance

promotes the legalization of marijuana only and mandatory treatment for the rest of us. Since the only way to force drug users into treatment is with arrest and threat of imprisonment, it appears that they believe that some of us are more deserving of freedom than others.

borden's picture

don't agree


DPA talks about legalization a lot. They've maintained a slightly bigger tent approach with policies toward other drugs, but they do plenty of educational work raising the issue of broad legalization, and the direction in which they point is clear.

I also don't agree with your characterization of DPA's work on treatment alternatives to incarceration as promoting "mandatory treatment." They are trying to get people out of jail and prison whose lives may otherwise be destroyed, in the context of a political situation where majority support for legalization of all drugs is not just around the corner as may be the case for marijuana legalization. If a person who gets caught up in the system doesn't find the treatment alternative preferable to the other alternatives that the system currently makes available, that person has the option of declining the treatment option and doing the time. That's an unfortunate choice to have to make, but it does provide one more way to avoid getting locked in a cage than exists before -- if some defendants would prefer that choice, and I believe most probably would, who are we to stand in the way of that? Plus, I believe the way DPA has set up their advocacy is to make the treatment programs more flexible and the courts who use that route more respectful of rights than the typical drug courts are today.

Our movement including DPA did not create the awful situation that exists today. We only get to decide how we can be most effective in helping people now, and sometimes compromises are the only way to do that -- the alternative is not helping anyone and watching people's lives waste away when they might have been spared that. is an explicitly full legalization group, and we're proud of that, but that lets us accomplish some things and not others. The approaches taken by other groups also let them accomplish some things and not others.

David Borden, Executive Director the Drug Reform Coordination Network
Washington, DC

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