This program is a total failure. It not only does not keep kids off drugs it actually encourages drug use. DARE is a thinly veiled police PR program. It is instructed by a uniformed police officer who tries to show police in a community building light instead of just law enforcement. It all sounds good for the cops but what about the kids.
The program was founded in 1983 by a Los Angeles police chief and is taught by uniformed officers to millions of students in 43 countries. Drug use statistics show absolutely zero impact and even show an increase in use. Numerous studies show that DARE has failed miserably; check this link.
The curriculum is total bullshit. They show situations where children are peer pressured into using drugs and how to say no. They do not discuss effects of drugs or laws pertaining to individual drugs. They group cocaine and marijuana in the same sentence insinuating that they are the same thing. 6th graders frequently see drugs and paraphernalia for the first time in DARE classes. This piques their curiosity and essentially dares them to try it. The way DARE goes about drug education creates a “forbidden fruit” effect that actually increases drugs’ appeal. Students know that DARE lies to them. Just look at me I am a DARE graduate and I’m an avid marijuana user and running a pro-marijuana blog!
Cops don’t know how to educate. These special DARE officers are given eighty hours of training on child development and how to teach. What they really do is sensationalize drugs and give an intentionally frightening version of show and tell. The program also does not teach about penalties for drugs. Some kids go home and call 911 when they find they’re parents in possession of drugs. When they get arrested the kids can’t understand what happened.
The solution: Take the cops out of the classroom. Have the regular teacher do a section telling the truth about drugs. The real truth. Have them teach real up to date scientific facts about drugs. Such facts as addiction, criminal offences and moderation. Parents can’t cop out, so to speak, and let the DARE program do the hard part for them. The fact is that many of the kids will go on to use drugs but through real education they can use the right ones and avoid the wrong ones. Yes, I am talking about marijuana here. In 2008 19.6% of 8th graders in the US have tried illicit drugs as well as 34% and 47% for 10th and 12th graders(NIDA stats). The DARE program puts all drugs in the same category so the kids don’t know the difference between crack and hash until they find out the hard way.
- “This is your country on drugs”, Ryan Grim, 2009