D.A.R.E to Compare!

I personally believe these All-or-Nothing programs in schools cause more harm than good. When approaching topic and seeking to reduce or prevent behavior among a group it is generally better to educate than to outlaw. In the early 2000’s I was an involuntary participant of the government sponsored D.A.R.E program. Also simultaneously being from the deep south, in middle school and high school sexual abstinence was pushed on us from an early age. It just so happens that regardless of this constant push to prevent sexuality in youth we are uneducated (unless discussed by our parents or peers) in the methods and options involved in safe and healthy sex. That may be on of the factors contributing to Mississippi being 2nd highest in terms of teen pregnancy rates all throughout the united states #1. This is also found to be similar in drug use as students who have participated in the D.A.R.E. program has been found to be 5% more likely to use drugs like alcohol and marijuana as compared to students do were not involved in D.A.R.E. #2. Also what has been found is that D.A.R.E. causes children to disregard information related to the harmful effects of drugs when they see their peers using substances without visible repercussions#3.

From this position I could see two possible avenues of pursuit in attempting to reduce a behavior. Either we make these programs available and optional to those who wish to participate or change the direction of the programs and ensure that the group is informed of the dangers. Making these programs optional would allow those who truly want to participate to attend, and those who see the program as nothing more than an annoyance to avoid it entirely, thus avoiding a portion of the stigma associated with these programs#4. On the other hand by informing the public in an unbiased manner would provide them the knowledge necessary to make the intended decision, and potentially make them more likely to make said decision due to the mutual trust and responsibility place on them thereafter. I support educating those in school on the “taboo’s” of life but it is imperative that we go about it the proper way.

#1 Martin, Joyce A, et al. “National Vital Statistics Reports Volume 66, Number 1 .” Cdc.gov, Division of Vital Statistics, 5 Jan. 2015, http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr66/nvsr66_01.pdf.

#2 Zili Sloboda, ScD, et al., “The Adolescent Substance Abuse Prevention Study: A Randomized Field Trial of a Universal Substance Abuse Prevention Program,” Drug and Alcohol Dependence, Jan. 21, 2009

#3 Maia Szalavitz, “DARE to Follow the Data,” cannabisnews.com, Sep. 25, 2000

#4 Denise Hamilton, “The Truth about DARE: The Big-Bucks Antidrug Program for Kids Doesn’t Work,” Los Angeles New Times, Mar. 20, 1997

Spotlight Blog 2: Drugs

D.A.R.E. which stands for drug abuse resistance education. It began in 1983 and became a widespread program all across the United States and many other countries around the world. It is an educational program presented to kids from kindergarten to twelfth grade reporting the dos and don’ts of drugs as well as how to avoid becoming involved with these substances. It was built up from the work of law enforcement and school officials. The program consisted of a 17 week program with a police officer teaching numerous classes in schools for each grade level. As the program grew bigger it spread its curriculum to prevention of being involved with gangs, violence, bullying, and internet safety (America). Although the program had a pure intention of benefiting kids, there was major controversy if the program stoped kids from using drugs or a provoking factor which led kids to substance abuse.

The main criticism this program received was it did not deter students away from the use of drugs in the short term nor later in students high school and college career. Various studies were taken to see the effect of the program on students. One of the first studies conducted against the D.A.R.E. program tested the use of marijuana among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders. The initial data was in 2008, 5.8% of 8th graders, 13.8% of 10th graders, and 19.4% of 12th graders have been exposed to or had use of marijuana. Within a five year span these percentages increased about 7 percent (Dual Diagnosis). Another study showed a large percent increase involving tobacco use among students. One major study really opened the gates with its findings against the impact of the program. This study took place over an entire decade. It consisted of over 1,000 10 year-olds participating in the D.A.R.E. program. They were given a survey with questions involving self-esteem and drug use. Once the participants turned 20 they were given the same survey (Reaves). The findings were that those who participated in the D.A.R.E. program were no less likely become involved with drugs and alcohol than those who were not involved in the program. A worse finding was poor levels of self-esteem among the D.A.R.E. participants 10 years after being in the program.

Despite the negative feedback, D.A.R.E. still continues to try and improve the lives of kids and try to prevent drug and alcohol abuse. After all the criticism the program worked to improve its curriculum and improve training to those who taught it. Following the studies conducted, by 2013 over 70,000 law enforcement officials and addiction counselors went through 80 hours of training including learning teaching strategies, drug information, and adolescent development, etc. (Dual Diagnosis). One of the first changes was to the elementary and middle school program. The name changed to “Keepin’ it Real” and the “myPlaybook” was added to the high school programs. Keepin’ it Real focuses on the Socio-Emotional Learning Theory (SEL) it promotes healthy development of younger kids through relationships, responsibility, and decision making. The myPlaybook is an interactive website to engage students rather than reading information and answering questions (America).

Based on the numerous studies and criticism against the D.A.R.E. program I still believe there is some benefit to kids from this program. Being involved in it myself in middle school, I find it important to be given the proper information to help against alcohol and drug abuse rather than going further in life not understanding the use and effects of alcohol and drugs. Although, beginning the curriculum at such a young age may not be the best approach. Kids from kindergarten to around 6th or 7th grade might be too young to have these concepts presented to them. Being taught at an older age the students might take the information more seriously and have a further understanding of the concepts. They could then possibly find themselves being able to go against peer pressure. My belief is that as long as you’re given the information that would provide the best benefit then it’s only up to you to actually make a decision when in a situation involving drugs or alcohol. This includes other topics such as sex ed programs. I believe it is needed to educate students on these sensitive topics, but given the proper information at the right age of kids sets them up for success and its how they choose to utilize the information given is in their hands.


“D.A.R.E. America.” D.A.R.E. America, http://www.dare.org/.

“Does the DARE Program Work?” Dual Diagnosis, http://www.dualdiagnosis.org/drug-addiction/dare-program-work/.

Reaves, Jessica. “Just Say No to DARE.” Time, Time Inc., 15 Feb. 2001, content.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,99564,00.html.

Spotlight Blog 2: DARE

DARE was a remarkably ineffective government program with an outcome far from what was anticipated. Launched in 1983, DARE was operating in around 80% of schools in the United States, starting with elementary students and even working with them throughout high school to reinforce what they have been taught. By 2003, it was determined that DARE had been overall ineffective in keeping youth from using illicit drugs long-term, according to a reports published by the General Accounting Office. The University of Kentucky conducted a decade-long study that showed how the DARE program had absolutely no positive impact on students by the time they were 20 (US).

DARE America, a sponsor of the DARE program as a whole, even admitted publicly that the program was ineffective and needed time to redesign its approach (“DARE”). Despite its failure, the program still runs today. Popular opinion overshadows the evidence, and there has still been a huge amount of government money being funneled into the program. I think the results of DARE demonstrate that no matter how much funding or public attention these kinds of programs receive, they aren’t necessarily going to be effective. Perhaps the most striking finding about the ineffectiveness of DARE is that students who participated in the program actually showed significantly higher rates of experimentation with drugs, according to a study by the University of Illinois (“Reallocation “). For at-risk teen, experimenting with drugs tends to be an common alternative to “just saying no.”

I myself was a DARE graduate among twenty other elementary students in my grade, and over half of those classmates became involved with drugs in high school. Whether or not a student becomes involved with drugs depends more on the environment and mental state they are in than on whether or not they have been properly oriented to the dangers of drugs by an official program. Destructive decisions cannot be prevented by aids like abstinence programs because those decisions are a constant option to young people and cannot be ignored. These programs are ultimately a waste of government funding which could be used to provide resources to those at-risk students, such as effective health and counseling services for schools. If a student has a proper support group and a caring environment they will be less likely to get involved with drug use, with or without a DARE certificate.



“DARE Admits Failure.” Common Sense for Drug Policy: Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE), http://www.csdp.org/news/news/darerevised.htm.

“Reallocation of Dare Funds.” Edge, https://web.stanford.edu/class/e297c/poverty_prejudice/ganginterv/reallocation.htm

“US: DARE Drug-Resistance Campaign, Called Ineffective, Is Being.” Powered by MAP, http://www.mapinc.org/newscsdp/v01/n277/a07.html.


Spotlight 2: Drugs

I think it’s well established that D.A.R.E. has been an ineffective effort for a long time now.  Almost, if not all, evidence has shown that it either had no impact on drug use, or it caused children to be MORE inclined to abuse drugs. Several U.S. government officials have labelled the program as “ineffective” such as the U.S. surgeon general, the U.S. General Accounting Office, and even the U.S. Department of Education, which prohibits funding for D.A.R.E. in schools. There’s really not much to say beyond that. The fact is that, statistically, D.A.R.E. did nothing. In fact, like I said above, some studies have suggested it may have even caused people to use drugs. An older study on the topic from Indiana University found that people who were exposed to D.A.R.E. showed an increased risk of using hallucinogenic drugs. This was explained as students becoming curious about the very drugs police officers told them to avoid. According to some of the articles I found, leaders of the program used very suspect tactics to push their agenda, such as attempting to bribe academic journals not to publish their findings. People who advocate for the D.A.R.E. program are often being mislead by an emotional response to what they believe they are doing, or they are essentially acting as lobbyists pushing the government to continue the program for their own interests.

So if the abstinence pushing strategies of D.A.R.E. did not work for drugs, would similar strategies work for other issues? I think that question should be met with a strong “absolutely not”. One of the other most common “abstinence only” teaching examples would be on the topic of sex, and trying to use it with sex is probably even less effective. Unlike drug use, sex is a natural biological drive that is present in most people, trying to tell kids to “not have sex” just isn’t a good idea It’s (arguably) exactly what we’re made to do. Schools that employ the abstinence only teaching style often overshadow the idea of safe sex with no sex to begin with which does nothing but endanger the children they are supposedly trying to protect.  Moving away from specifically sexual abstinence, I don’t see how it could be a good method in any other situation. The premise seems to be based on the idea that if an adult tells a kid not to do something, they won’t, but that has never once been an effective technique to prevent behavior, if someone wants to do something they will. Instead we need to teach children the consequences of the actions you’re trying to prevent, and teach them the safest ways possible to go about those behaviors. The words of adults is rarely if ever an effective deterrent so instead of hoping we’ll just be obeyed unquestioningly, I say we arm kids with the knowledge to make good choices, and let them choose for themselves what they want to do with it.






Was D.A.R.E. Effective?

Natalie Wolchover – https://www.livescience.com/33795-effective.html

Alcohol Abuse Prevention

Ph.D. Hanson – http://www.alcoholfacts.org/DARE.html

The Truth about D.A.R.E.

Kanopiadmin – https://mises.org/library/truth-about-dare

The D.A.R.E. Program

The D.A.R.E. program was designed to “teach students decision making for safe and healthy lives”. This program is taught by police officers to students in kindergarten through 12th grade all across the United States and in 52 other countries. This program educates and enforces children to make good choices when it comes to drugs, violence, bullying, internet safety, and other issues that children may face. While this program was created to show children the right and wrong ways to deal with these situations, it received backlash for the ways it might not have had a positive influence on students.

The D.A.R.E. program has seen a decrease in drug and substance abuse in the children that it had reached, showing that 40% of students that consumed alcohol prior to the program had reduced their intake of alcohol after exposure to the program, while 32% of said students discontinued alcohol consumption altogether. The program showed that students were less likely to indulge in drug related activities, however the Government Accountability Office said that these results are not statistically significant and the program was ineffective.

In a 2007 survey, 95% of the students surveyed said that the program was helpful and it taught them to make good decisions in the future. 99% of the parents surveyed supported the program and said the program had a positive impact on their children. As the children grow older, however, they are exposed to other people who are making decisions that go against what D.A.R.E. had taught them, like drug and alcohol use, and are pressured into making the same bad decisions. As time goes by, the children forget what they had been taught in their D.A.R.E. program and give into peer pressure and societal norms.

The D.A.R.E. program focuses on keeping children from developing a drug addiction or dying of a drug overdose, which is something that should be funded and implemented even if it isn’t reaching all children. In a 2012 study, 60% of schools who had previously implemented the D.A.R.E. program had ended the use of the program. D.A.R.E.’s revenue has also plummeted from $9.7 million in 2000 to $3.7 million in 2011.

When I was in 5th grade, I participated in a D.A.R.E. program in my middle school. At 13 years old, drugs and alcohol were not on most of my classmates minds. Besides the awesome song and rap we learned (I still remember the whole thing) none of the information really stuck. Of course, we knew the difference between right and wrong in those situations, but it wasn’t anything we wouldn’t know in due time. Watching my classmates who had participated grow up, none of the information the program gave us stuck. Peer pressure settled in and everyone was drinking alcohol and smoking at some time. I think that if the program had been implemented at an older age, perhaps early high school years when you’re exposed to older, “cooler” kids who pressure you into doing things you’ve been taught are wrong, the information the D.A.R.E. program was trying to teach us would have been engraved in our minds a little better.

As for other programs, such as sexual education programs, I do believe that they should be used in high schools. Unfortunately, my class in high school did not have a sex ed program, and as a result, my class had a higher amount of teenage pregnancy’s than the classes that did have sex ed programs.

I do believe that it is important to educate children and students on what is right and wrong in these situations, but the programs should be implemented at an older age, or be taught at various stages of students lives.



D.A.R.E. America

D.A.R.E. Pros and Cons

Spotlight 2: DARE

The DARE program was a government run program from sixth grade through high school aged children to prevent drug use. DARE stood for Drug Abuse Resistance Education Program (Cima). DARE was popular in the 1980s and 1990s (Cima).  Children who went through the DARE education program were no less likely to partake in drugs (Cima).  The DARE curriculum consisted of seventeen lessons starting at personal safety and leading to gang pressures. Science from DAREs start supported that DARE would not be successful. DARE was taught by police officers as they are more familiar with crimes.  Officers received 80 hours of training to teach techniques in classrooms (Cima). DARE focuses on building a child’s self-esteem and resisting peer pressure (Cima) First Lady Nancy Reagan helped boost the program with coining the term “just say no” (Cima).  The program was wildly popular among adults even with the multi million dollar price tag. In 1995 DARE had a cost at 200 million to 2 billion.  DARE was funded by government, state and local tax money. DARE supporters accused critics of being in cahoots with drug cartels (Cima). Politicians didn’t care about the adverse research because parents believed DARE was working and Parents vote.  DARE executives used evidence that the programs popularity equated to credibility.

DARE was also reviewed by the Government Accountability Office.  The office found that there was “no significant difference between the DARE group and the control group” (Cima) Ennett and colleagues ran a quasi-experimental research project in 1993 meaning there was no random assignment. The logistic regression with odd ratios adjusted had no significant effect on alcohol use, cigarette use, or heavy drinking (Rosenbaum). Rural students were half as likely to increase their cigarette use from pretest (Rosenbaum). Yet they were more likely to increase alcohol use upon post test (Rosenbaum).  There was no effect on urban or suburban students who received DARE training. This effect for rural students wore off after a year.  There were no long-term effects (Rosenbaum).

I feel the program was very costly. I feel like if any program costs 200 million to 2 billion dollars there should’ve been some more focus on results. I believe the program went as far as it did because of the popularity with parents and politicians. Of course, the idea of preventing drug use and building children’s self-esteem sounds like a fabulous idea. I also think the idea of police officers working in schools foster appositive impression of police in children’s mind. I feel DARE was idealistic and that is why it went so far. There was a decrease of drug use statistically in the 1990s but his wasn’t specifically focused in schools and I believe was misattributed.

As far as similar abstinence based programs I do not think they are effective I think as they are similar programs similar results were occurring. I think programs focusing on healthy decision making should be used.  I think these programs must expose children to what will happen if they partake in these activities and inform them of the risks. Then focus on the point that they can make the smart informed decision.


Cima, R. (n.d.). DARE: The Anti-Drug Program That Never Actually Worked. Retrieved November 04, 2017, from https://priceonomics.com/dare-the-anti-drug-program-that-never-actually/

Rosenbaum, D. (n.d.). Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE). Retrieved November 04, 2017, from https://www.crimesolutions.gov/ProgramDetails.aspx?ID=99

Spotlight Blog 2 Prompts

Regardless of which option you choose, make sure to use the tag “Spotlight” on your post. Also include the tag listed for the option you choose below. The spotlight post is due by the beginning of class on Friday, 11/10.

Option 1 – Use the tag “Intelligence”

There has been a lot of controversy around the way our educational system works to improve learning outcomes for our children. For this post, you are going to investigate one of these issues and present your conclusions based on the evidence you review. You may select either year-round education (i.e., whether or not there should be a long summer break) or single-gender education (i.e., should boys and girls have separate classrooms). You will need to find two sources arguing for year-round education/single-gender education and two sources arguing against it, review the evidence in each source, and present your conclusion on the issue. Make sure to cite your sources.

Option 2 – Use the tag “Stress”

We’ve discussed a number of different stress management approaches in class, and now I want you to evaluate online resources for stress management. Specifically, I want you to identify three websites that provide stress management tips and discuss how likely you think the strategies they provide are to be successful. Make sure to explain your rationale using what we’ve learned in class and your textbook. Each of the three websites need to be targeted at a different audience but you may select the audiences you want to use (e.g., college students, athletes, parents, artists). Make sure to include links to the websites as part of your post.

Option 3 – Use the tag “Drugs”

One of the largest campaigns to prevent drug use among children was the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program. This federal program sought to provide kids with information about the dangers of using drugs, using things like the slogan “Just say no!” While people had high hopes for the program, it ended up being very controversial largely because of how it ended up impacting the rates of drug abuse among children exposed to the program. Research what the data say about the DARE program and argue whether or not it was a successful program. Then take what we learned from DARE and argue whether or not you think similar abstinence-based programs (e.g., sexual education programs) should be used in schools. Make sure to cite your sources.

I look forward to seeing what you write!

Header image: CC by Flickr user Thomas Hawk

Impression post week 6

Should Marijuana be legalized or not ? Many people in the United states and around the world love Marijuana and love the effects that it gives you. In fact there are some places in the united states and around the world that it is legal to smoke and buy marijuana like places in Amsterdam, or California where weed is decriminalized and almost legal. People say that in 10 years from now Marijuana will be legal every where. But will it be ? There will always be problems with marijuana no matter what. For example driving high. People do this and participate in this all the time. Is it dangerous ? well it does slow down your reaction time a little bit but yes it is not good too drive under the influence of Marijuana because it is illegal. And it will always be illegal because it is not safe for other drivers on the road. Yes marijuana can help people who actually “need” it, but people are trying to get medical cards all over the place who don’t actually need it for Medical use they just like to get high. I think that it will be a major problem if weed is Legal everywhere because there will be more car accidents and more people will be in danger of others that are under the influence. I think that Marijuana is an amazing plant and i have nothing against it, but if it becomes legal all hell will break loose. I think the idea of having it decriminalized is a good idea because people get in trouble and have to pay huge fines for having buds of an actual plant on them. In my opinion i think that is very ridiculous. I think that weed should stay illegal but decriminalized in more areas around the world and in the United States.

Legalize the Leaf

With the rise in popularity of marijuana, both in recreational use & in the medical field, so has the question of whether or not to legalize the controversial plant. Each individual may have a difference in opinions, of which would be built on their own personal experiences.

On that note: My personal opinion is that medicinally, marijuana should be absolutely legal across the united states. Although for recreational use marijuana should at least be somewhat of a restricted substance.

Marijuana has proven to have many positive physical and psychological benefits to those who need it most (i.e. Cancer patients or those with severe anxiety). If assigned by prescription it could at least be somewhat restricted in who uses the substance. Although if is not impossible for someone to pass on or sell their prescription to others, but this should not prevent the legalization of marijuana, because on that logic medicine like Adderall should be banned.

Yet in my opinion, regardless of if the substance is harmful or not, it should have an age limit. Such as alcohol does, i feel that marijuana should have a similar age gate ranging from twenty to twenty four. By legalizing marijuana we can profit from it not only economically but socially. Think back to the prohibition, a rising in crime was directly correlated to keeping a substance from the public. It would not be completely wrong to correlate this back to marijuana. Regardless it is important to note that marijuana is not alcohol, nor is it cigarettes, we cannot handle marijuana the same way we do those substances.

The thing about people is that “If there is a will” they “will find a way”, it is impossible to completely control people. If the public wants something, you can only hinder them, not stop them. Just like with alcohol it can and will be bought for those who cannot buy it themselves, but at least the money spend can be circulated within our economy instead of changing hands between customers and dealers. It is an untapped market with insanely high demand (Have you ever tried to find a dealer? Its not that hard to find one and its easy to make money selling too).  Overall i feel it is in America’s best interest to legalize marijuana.

Week 6-Psychoactive Drugs

Addiction affects many homes and families as well as the individual involved in the problem. It is hard to decide what is best for a love one and there well being, but all anyone can want is for them to get better. The two methods treating addiction are very different. Abstinence cuts off all ties from the substance, it is a very hard road to take and one that requires immense support.  The harm reduction process may be an easier adjustment for someone then just going cold turkey, as it rules out the negative effects.

I believe it strongly depends on the individual as to which method will work best or be most effective.  I have some stubborn loved ones that I know no convincing would keep them from doing what they wanted.  If alcohol or substance abuse was a problem for them then the harm reduction program would be the best route.  Making sure to rule out the negatives when using drugs would ensure they were safer.  For example having a designated driver, providing clean needles, drug replacement therapy, and so on. However, this method does seem to bring some problems.  The family may still be affected by the individual who for say, when he drinks abuses his wife and children.  In this case an abstinence method would be best.  The addiction to the drug on this method still doesn’t change one may even begin to crave it more, the negative effects are just reduced.

Abstinence seems like for most cases, but not all, the better way to head down.  It completely cuts off the user from the drug and with support of AA meetings and family can be possible. The long term affect of drugs on the brain and the body is very detrimental and unlike the harm reduce program this one will rid an individual of the substance.  It will help ones body and mind recover although one might experience withdraw willpower can help them push forward.  One who has an addiction may have no control over the drug instead it has control over them.  Abstinence may be a way to hold on and grasp ones life again.