The D.A.R.E Project was originally developed in the United States of America as a school-based drug-education program with a heavy funding of over $200 million every year, and aims at equipping elementary school children with skills for resisting both peer pressure to experiment with tobacco, drugs, and alcohol and the use of drugs. As I see it, the program is good and has a great overview at first glance, therefore making it effective for the first two years after training in elementary school, but then wears off and hence is not effective in high school and college where the largest number of juveniles experimenting with drugs is seen, making it rare to spot the effects of D.A.R.E when it comes to drug use and abuse behaviour amongst juveniles, therefore the effects dissipate quick in the long run as explained in Clemens Bartollas and Frank Schmalleger’s book “Juvenile Delinquency”, Eighth Edition. Therefore I strongly believe this is a weakness that the program has.
The project has been deemed disappointing because of the inefficiencies in the D.A.R.E program scientifically. This is attributed by the fact that the program does not prevent the use of drugs and its consequent abuse in the short term for both high school and college juveniles, hence in my opinion the difference between students who go through the D.A.R.E program and those who do not is minimal or non-existent, as concluded by Dennis Rosenbaum in his collective evidence. I therefore share the thoughts of Dennis Rosenbaum when he explains that the program is not effective in preparing Juveniles both in high school and college on avoiding drug use and abuse. On the other hand, D.A.R.E as a project cannot be set aside as purely ineffective, mainly because of the growing respect and positive attitude of Juveniles towards the police. The other side of the coin has seen a typical growth in positive attitude amongst the police in handling juveniles. Hence I believe that the efforts to enhance police-juvenile relations have partly been successful, as described by Dennis Rosenbaum.
I strongly believe that prevention is better than cure, hence the D.A.R.E project can be used to continually equip students in elementary school with the necessary skills for resisting peer pressure to experiment with tobacco, drugs, and alcohol, as has been the case, in the same time reducing funds in the same program and inject them into programs that have shown to be effective and more efficient. They include Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T.). The program is now found in school curricula in all 50 states, and findings show that students who completed these lessons reported more prosocial behaviors and attitudes than their peers who did not finish the program or who failed to participate in the first place. Furthermore, in a 1999 evaluation, Finn-Aage Esbensen and D.Wayne Osgood found that students who had completed the G.R.E.A.T. curriculum four years before did not show levels of gang or delinquency involvement significantly different from those of a control group, hence making the program more effective.
The other program is Law-Related Education (LRE) which is designed to teach students the fundamental principles and skills needed to become responsible citizens in a constitutional democracy. One of the few studies evaluating LRE programs found that these programs, when properly conducted, can reduce tendencies toward delinquent behaviour and improve a range of attitudes related to responsible citizenship and that successful students were also less likely to associate with delinquent peers and to use violence as a means of resolving conflict. In my opinion D.A.R.E is a great tool in curbing the issues of drug use and misuse, but other programs deserve more funding purely because they are more effective in the long run as opposed to the D.A.R.E project.
Bartollas, C., & Schmalleger, F. (2011). Juvenile Delinquency (8th ed.). Prentice Hall.