The Washington Times

August 27, 2000, Sunday, Final Edition

HEADLINE: DARE's dying gasps?

BYLINE: James Bovard

The nation's most popular drug education program may be on the ropes. The
Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program is increasingly being tossed out
of school systems as the evidence becomes overwhelmingly of its failure to deter
drug use.

DARE was the brainchild of Los Angeles Police Department chief Daryl Gates,
who launched the program in the early 1980s. More than 20 million students
receive DARE training each school day; DARE is taught in every state and in
The Washington Times August 27, 2000, Sunday, Final Edition

three-quarters of the nation's school districts. The DARE curriculum is taught
by police primarily to fifth and sixth graders, though children in kindergarten
and in high school also receive DARE instruction. The police are supposed to
serve as role models and trusted confidants.

America is deluged with DARE paraphernalia - including bears, bumper
stickers, buttons, hats, and jeeps. DARE has everything - except good results.
Many independent experts have found that DARE miserably fails students.

cThe federal Bureau of Justice Assistance paid $300,000 to the Research
Triangle Institute (RTI), a North Carolina research firm, to analyze DARE's
effectiveness. The RTI study found that DARE failed to significantly reduce
drug use. Researchers warned that "DARE could be taking the place of other,
more beneficial drug-use curricula."

cDennis Rosenbaum, professor of criminal justice studies at the University of
Illinois at Chicago, surveyed and tracked 1,800 kids who had DARE training and
concluded in 1998 that "suburban students who participated in DARE reported
significantly higher rates of drug use . . . than suburban students who did not
participate in the program."
The Washington Times August 27, 2000, Sunday, Final Edition

cA 1999 study by the California legislative analyst's office "concluded that
DARE didn't keep children from using drugs. In fact, it found that suburban
kids who took DARE were more likely than others to drink, smoke and take drugs,"
the Los Angeles Times reported.

cA 1999 University of Kentucky study, funded by the National Institutes of
Health, examined the effect of DARE on students' behavior over the subsequent 10
years. The report concluded: "Our results are consistent in documenting the
absence of beneficial effects associated with the DARE program. This was true
whether the outcome consisted of actual drug use or merely attitudes toward drug
use." One Kentucky researcher observed: "The only difference was that those who
received DARE reported slightly lower levels of self-esteem at age 20."

Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson recently denounced DARE as "a fraud on
the people of America." Mr. Anderson, who yanked DARE from Salt Lake City
schools, complained: "For far too long, drug-prevention policies have been
driven by mindless adherence to a wasteful, ineffective, feel-good program.
DARE has been a huge public-relations success but a failure at accomplishing the
goal of long-term drug-abuse prevention."

Dare America President Glenn Levant defends DARE by pointing to the reported
13 percent decline in teen-age drug use in the most recent annual survey.
The Washington Times August 27, 2000, Sunday, Final Edition

However, the percentage of eighth-graders who used marijuana, cocaine and LSD
tripled between 1991 and 1997. DARE cannot claim credit for the most recent
decline without accepting blame for the huge increase in the preceding years -
at a time when DARE already saturated the nation's public schools.

DARE also suffered a stunning defeat in April that could cripple its ability
to muzzle criticism. Federal Judge Virginia Phillips, in a case involving DARE
America's libel suit against Rolling Stone magazine, ruled there was
"substantial truth" to the charges that DARE had sought to "suppress scientific
research" critical of DARE and "attempted to silence researchers at the Research
Triangle Institute, editors at the American Journal of Public Health, and
producers at 'Dateline: NBC.' "

DARE's feel-good photo opportunities are no substitute for effective drug
education. American children deserve something more than a drug program that
fails to persuasively inform and warn them of the danger of narcotics.
Politicians, school officials and police need the courage to admit DARE is a

James Bovard is the author of the just-published "Feeling Your Pain: The
Explosion & Abuse of Government Power in the Clinton-Gore Years" (St. Martin's