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.

 

Sources:

D.A.R.E. America

D.A.R.E. Pros and Cons

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