Drug Abuse Prevention Programs

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Drug Abuse Prevention Programs:
Effectiveness of DARE and Project ALERT

Drug Abuse Prevention Programs:
Effectiveness of DARE and Project ALERT Although drug use among secondary school students appears to have leveled off during the late 1990s, US adolescents continue to use alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana at unacceptably high rates. Among eighth graders, 52% have tried alcohol, 41% have tried cigarettes, and 20% have tried marijuana. By 12th grade these rates are substantially higher, with large numbers of adolescents engaging in regular drug use (Ellickson, Bell, & McGuigan, 1993). In spite of numerous programs implemented in elementary, middle, and high schools to prevent drug, alcohol, and
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The DARE officer is required to undergo 80 hours of special training in the area of child development, classroom management, teaching techniques, and communication skills, combined with an additional 40 hours to prepare them to teach the high school curriculum (Ennett et al., 1994). This training is required of all DARE Officers prior to facilitating a DARE program. Additionally, this training equips the officer with the knowledge and expertise to answer questions posed by the students, regarding drugs and crime, while in the classroom (Kochis, 2001). Since its initial development and implementation in Los Angeles, DARE has been replicated, expanded, and implemented all over the country. The seemingly overwhelming commitment and support for this program as a drug prevention program for youths is a puzzle. Not only does it come at a time of limited economic resources, but there is little empirical evidence of the success of DARE as a deterrent to drug use (Lynam et al., 1991). Lynam et al. (1991) tracked over 1,000 Midwestern students who participated in Project DARE in the sixth grade. These students were reevaluated at age 20, ten years after receiving the drug prevention education. The study compared pre-DARE levels of cigarette, alcohol, marijuana and illicit drug use of the students to such use at age 20. Although the DARE intervention produced a few initial improvements in the students' attitudes
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