Drug Abuse Resistance Education Program

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The war on drugs was declared in 1971 by President Richard Nixon and since that day over a trillion dollars have been spent on the prohibition of drugs in the United States (Branson, 2012). Yet, despite this excessive spending, the U.S. has the highest rates of illicit drug use in the world (Branson, 2012). Although much of this money has been spent on law enforcement agents and prison systems, some funds have been used to develop drug prevention programs. The Drug Abuse Resistance Education Program (D.A.R.E.) is a drug intervention program that was developed to prevent the use of illicit drugs and alcohol, as well as the violence associated with drug use, by American youth (Zagumny and Thompson, 1997). Despite the widespread use of the…show more content…
Initially the D.A.R.E. program was designed for elementary school students, with a middle school curriculum added in 1986, and a high school version developed in 1988 (Des Jarlais et al., 2006; Ennett et al., 1994). The elementary curriculum was then modified in 2003 (Vincus et al., 2010). The D.A.R.E. program “seeks to motivate students to avoid using substances, to improve their capacity to make prosocial decisions, to resist inducements from peers to use substances, and to develop and practice refusal skills” (Vincus et al., 2010). In addition, D.A.R.E. courses are taught by local police officers as a way to introduce students to law enforcement agents “through nonthreatening and fun activities” (Des Jarlais et al., 2006). Although the law enforcement officers that run D.A.R.E. programs receive substantial training on the curriculum, they are not formal educators (i.e. they are not certified teachers). The teaching methods used for the classes are very lecture heavy and are not conducive to interactive lessons (Ennett et al., 1999). The format and nature of the program make it difficult for kids and teens to become engaged in the classes. D.A.R.E. is the largest school-based prevention program to be implemented and funded by the federal government with $750 million dollars being spent on it annually (West and O 'Neal, 2004). The D.A.R.E. official website claims “the program reaches 26 million children in 75% of all school districts in the
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