Effective Alcohol Abuse Prevention Education Programs Uncommon in Schools

Effective alcohol and substance abuse prevention education programs are uncommon in U.S. high schools. Only about 10% of school districts use any one of the six such curricula that were rated as effective by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's National Registry of Effective Programs and Practices or Blueprints for Violence Prevention.

Instead, about 80% of the nation's school districts use the popular Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program that has repeatedly been shown to be completely ineffective in reducing the use of alcohol or drugs. In some cases, DARE has been found to be counterproductive -- worse than doing nothing.

Using an ineffective curriculum such as DARE wastes taxpayers' money, wastes students' time, and takes the place of an effective curriculum.

It would appear that the selection of alcohol and drug abuse prevention programs is based on misperceptions, program popularity and politics rather than on scientific evidence of effectiveness.


  • Ringwalt, C., Hanley, S., Vincus, A.A., Ennett, S.T., Rohrbach, L.A., Bowling, J.M. The Prevalence of Effective Substance Use Prevention Curricula in the Nation's [USA] High Schools, Journal of Primary Prevention, 2008, DOI: 10.1007/s10935-008-0158-4