Program

Sep 12, 2008

OVERVIEW

The Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program seeks to prevent drug, alcohol, and cigarette abuse by children from kindergarten to 12th grade by educating them about the dangers of abuse. The program consists of 17 different classroom sessions which are led by trained DARE officers. A randomized experimental evaluation of the DARE program found that it had no impact on alcohol, cigarette, and marijuana abuse by children in grades 7 and 8.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population: Middle-school aged children grades 6-8

The DARE program is the most popular drug education program in the United States and is used in about 70% of US school districts. The DARE program is taught by DARE officers who have been extensively trained in the program curriculum. The program itself consists of 17 different classroom sessions designed to be given over the course of a school semester which include topics such as drug use and misuse, consequences, resisting pressures, building self-esteem, media influences, drug use alternatives, role modeling, forming support systems, and ways to deal with gang pressure.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Clayton, R. R., Cattarello, A., & Walden, K. P. (1991). Sensation seeking as a potential mediating variable for school-based prevention intervention: A two-year follow-up of DARE. Health Communication, 3(4), 229-239.

Evaluated population: 31 middle schools in Lexington, Kentucky. At the outset of the program the children were in 6th grade.

Approach: The 31 middle schools were randomly assigned with a larger proportion (23 schools) being assigned to the DARE intervention. Researchers conducted a pretest analysis which showed that schools in the treatment and control conditions were equivalent on all attitudes toward drugs except for initial alcohol use, drug use, and demographic variables except for race. Sixth grade children received the DARE intervention during their regular school year and children in the control condition received their schools normal drug education program which was presented in the schools standard health curriculum. Students were evaluated at sixth grade pre- and post-tests and then again in seventh and eighth grades. Students were asked questions about their alcohol, cigarette, and marijuana use behaviors.

Results: Attrition from sixth grade to the final eighth grade follow-up data point was approximately 21-22 percent and did not differ between the experimental and control groups. There were no significant differences at the seventh or eighth grade follow-ups between the control group and the treatment group on measures of past year cigarette use or past year alcohol use. There was no significant difference between the control and treatment groups with respect to past year marijuana use at the eighth grad follow-up.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

Website: http://www.dare.org/

References

Clayton, R. R., Cattarello, A., & Walden, K. P. (1991). Sensation seeking as a potential mediating variable for school-based prevention intervention: A two-year follow-up of DARE. Health Communication, 3(4), 229-239.

Rosenbaum, D. P. & Hanson, G. S. (1998). Assessing the effects of school-based drug education: A six-year multi-level analysis of project D.A.R.E. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 35(4), 381-412.

KEYWORDS: Drug Prevention, Substance Use, Tobacco Use, Alcohol Use, Illicit Drug Use, Middle School, Marijuana Use, School-Based, Physical Health, Adolescence (12-17), Co-ed.

Program information last updated 9/12/08