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The Family Council on Drug Awareness

"Responsible decisions based on accurate information."

DARE: Good intentions, bad results

DARE and other drug education programs were introduced during the last century as a panacea for the perceived problem of drug abuse. Instead, these programs have fueled our children's interest in drugs by glamorizing and demonizing drugs at the same time: The forbidden fruit syndrome.

For a better alternative to DARE, see the drug education website:

Oakland, California. Photo by Mikki Norris

A DARE officer plays with a student in Oakland, California.

Why D.A.R.E.

is BAD for




& Kids!

What is D.A.R.E.?

Drug Abuse Resistance Education, D.A.R.E., is a publicly funded program that uses law enforcement resources to help children resist drugs and gangs and to target at-risk groups and solicit information for police consideration.

Preventing adolescent drug abuse is a national concern. A number of programs have been developed to tackle the problem, yet teen drug use has gone up. No program should be treated as a sacred cow at the cost of our young people's lives and well being. It's time for America to stop living in denial. Police are not licensed teachers and they don't belong in a classroom; they belong out on the streets to protect the community from crime, doing the job they have been trained to do.

DARE is costly and ineffective. It wastes educational and police resources. The link between schools and drug police has become a sacred cow that leads to a false sense of security, despite clear evidence that DARE is a failure. Since its curriculum went national, two patterns have emerged: more students now do drugs, and they start using drugs at an earlier age.

There is no simple answer to the drug war, and simplistic approaches often do more harm than good. Be a part of the solution. Work with schools to make drug education effective through truth, moderation and personal responsibility.


D.A.R.E. has failed its most important test:
more kids are using drugs.

The graph below shows data compiled for the federal government's National Institute on Drug Abuse, or NIDA.


It's time for a fresh look at our children and their drug education. No credible studies have shown significant reductions of drug use among DARE students. As more fifth graders undergo DARE training, more eighth graders get involved with drugs. It doesn't take a genius to see that something is wrong with the program.


Why D.A.R.E. does not work

DARE glamorizes drugs. DARE brings students uniformed police officers (sometimes with a gun) driving seized drug vehicles, handing out free goodies like buttons, bumper stickers, tee-shirts, sodas, ribbons, diplomas and awards to capture kids' interest. This draws an undue amount of attention to a taboo activity, creating the "forbidden fruit" effect that actually increases drugs' appeal.

DARE sends a mixed message. Lumping all drugs together, without comparing relative risks, impairs judgment. Even its name, "dare," encourages risk-taking behavior.

DARE sends harmful stereotypes, self-fulfilling prophesies. Students are taught that once they try drugs they are losers who will become addicts and ruin their lives. Too often, they believe this lie and fall into the very pattern that is most destructive.

Students know DARE lies to them. Students compare notes and experiences outside of school, often ridiculing the DARE class. As a result they learn to distrust all drug education.

Kids "just say no" to DARE. After all, rejection is the main lesson they learn in the class: not how to make responsible decisions or wait until you grow up, simply to be intolerant and negative.

DARE has a hidden agenda. DARE is more than just a thinly veiled public relations device for the police department. It is a propaganda tool that indoctrinates children in the politics of the Drug War, and a hidden lobbying strategy to increase police budgets.


We have positive solutions

Deglamorize drug education. Don't exaggerate the importance of drugs. Don't hold them up as a litmus test of character. Don't reinforce negative self images or predict self-destruction. Offer hope.

Utilize honest and effective educational programs that treat drug use as just another part of a broad health curriculum, with topics such as medical care, nutrition, exercise, hygiene, ecology, safety, and other activities that affect the students' quality of life.

Teach personal responsibility. Drugs are only part of the problem; so are poor life skills. Children need to learn how to treat themselves and others with respect, which kinds of behavior are appropriate at what age, and how to make good decisions in life.

Sponsor after-school library and recreation programs to fill unsupervised time. Studies show that even more important than drug education is the amount of unsupervised time kids have after school, when they are more likely to try out drugs and otherwise get into trouble. It pays to give them something better to do.

Parents must take a leadership role. Schools can't solve the problem alone. Talk to your children. Tune out the TV; don't let your children watch violent shows filled with anti-social behavior. Make sure your school sends an honest, positive message that includes models of abstinence, moderation, and responsibility.

Make America's drug laws fair. Justice and consistency should be cornerstones of the law. In fact, the biggest dangers of illegal drugs are criminal penalties. Long mandatory prison sentences for marijuana amid ads that glamorize alcohol and tobacco are hypocritical and illogical. Why are children confused? They expect our laws to be fair.


D.A.R.E. hurts communities

The DARE program creates a dangerous emotional bond that makes it difficult to even objectively discuss the subject of drug education with its more fanatical devotees. And while many officers are well intended, some DARE officers can't resist abusing their power.

· An Iowa DARE officer, Officer Trimble, was caught stealing drugs, trafficking meth-ampheta-mine, and making pornography was returned to the classroom, according to the Associated Press.

· An Arizona DARE officer took out a search warrant on the home of a student whose parents held him out of the program.

· A Colorado DARE officer got a student to turn in his own parents, then bragged to the national press that it's what he had "taught him to do".

· An investigation by the Massachussetts Boston Globe found that DARE funds are often used for police perks - not the program or the children.

For a better alternative to DARE, see the drug education website:

Smart communities are getting rid of D.A.R.E.

Oakland California voted to eliminate the DARE program for the good of the children.

Houston Texas is considering cutting the program by half to test its merit.

Boulder Colorado urged to eliminate DARE

Parents Against Dare website

Miscellaneous other reasons to get rid of D.A.R.E.

Further reading about DARE compiled from various news sources.

Police caught stealing DARE funds, state sues for return of money

Read the amazing lies and bigorty put forth by a typical Dare officer

Read the incredible story of Officer Trimble of Iowa, sex pervert, drug addict . . . and DARE teacher.

Dropping DARE Field Reports: Minneapolis, Oakland, Boulder, Houston, and Atascadero

Save the children.
Get rid of D.A.R.E.

Produced and presented as a public service by the


For the Family Council's Position on DARE, click here

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Also contact Parents Against DARE, 125 Maxwell Rd., Chapel Hill NC 27514

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