D.A.R.E or Drug Abuse Resistance and Education is a drug abuse prevention education program designed to equip elementary and junior high school children with knowledge about drug abuse, the consequences of abuse, and skills for resisting peer pressure to experiment with drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Developed in 1983 by the Los Angeles Police Department in conjunction with the school district, the program was based on the premise that prevention is the only long-term answer to drug abuse. The purpose of DARE is to encourage students in the 5th and 6th grade to DARE to say No!The four main areas that DARE focuses on are: 1.Providing accurate information about drugs, alcohol and tobacco 2. Teach students good decision-making skills 3. Show students how to recognize and resist peer pressure and 4. Give students ideas for positive alternatives to drugs. DARE is taught by students to officers in a classroom setting; they work with children to raise their self-esteem, teach them how to make decisions on their own, and help them identify positive alternatives to drugs. Through role-playing, the D.A.R.E., curriculum emphasizes the negative consequences of drug use, and reinforces the skills to resist peer pressure and intimidation.
The question at large regarding the D.A.R.E program is whether or not it is an effective way to decrease the use of drugs and problems with children’s self-esteem. People argue both sides of the fence suggesting that DARE is a pseudoscience, while other proclaim it has helped them or their children. Personally, I believe that the D.A.R.E. program did not do much for me or my friends. I think the DARE programs progress depends on the parenting a child also receives. It is not enough to just send your fifth grader to school and let her learn about drug prevention through DARE. Parents make the world a difference.