The Effectiveness of D.A.R.E. in Canadian Schools

The Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program touts a report titled "The Effectiveness of D.A.R.E. in Canadian Schools."

So, at last, ones study has now found the DARE to be effective? No, not a single study has ever found DARE to be effective in reducing the incidence of alcohol or drug use among students who have taken the program.

The touted report states that

Overall, reports from teachers and students are very positive about both the program and the peace officers that provide it.,, At least one study suggests that parents, an important partner in prevention, respond very positively to DARE, can become significantly involved in the program, and tend to view the peace officers involved as positive instructors and role-models for their children.

That is, students, teachers and parents like the program and those who teach it. But that's not effectiveness.

The report ignores the fact of DARE's demonstrated inability to reduce student alcohol and drug use. It then asserts that "The question [is], not whether DARE works, but whether we believe the message of DARE is important and should be supported." (emphasis added)

No. The only important issue is whether or not DARE achieves its stated goal of reducing alcohol and drug use -- and it clearly fails to do so.

The report also implies that DARE is as effective as any other program, but that's not true. The U.S. federal government has identified a number of specific programs for which scientific research has demonstrated effectiveness.

So the real question is why would any school use the ineffective DARE program when effective programs are widely available.



  • The Effectiveness, Appropriateness and Fit of DARE in Canadian Schools: Responding to Criticisms About the Program. Colin Mangham, DARE website, February 22, 2008.

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