The United States has the highest number of drug abuse and addiction cases in the world. The rise of alcohol related problems in the country has seen adoption of various substance abuse models and programs to address the problems. While many young people in the country continue to reap the benefits of some of outreach programs, that seek to build highest ideals and character, some national programs continue to absorb huge national funds without measurable results. .Many critics have highlighted Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E) program as one such youth outreach program that have shown shortcomings (West & O’Neal, 2004). D.A.R.E program should be discontinued.
Reasons Why the Drug Abuse Resistance Education Program Should be Discontinued
The D.A.R.E program aims to impart skills that enable the learners to desist from violence, resist peer influence and live drug free life (Gorman & Huber, 2009). The program is led by police officers and is integrated in the learning process with a series of lessons that do not interrupt the learning process. Although the program appeals to parents due to the ideal results it alleges to attain, however, the Justice Department points that the program has insignificant impact on drug abuse. Moreover, the National Institute on Drug Abuse refers to evidence-based addiction and substance abuse programs such as the NIDA substance abuse preventions programs other than the D.A.R.E program.
According to (West & O’Neal, 2004), the D.A.R.E program costs the federal government millions of dollars annually with no evidence that it keeps the youth away from drugs. The evidence-based programs such as the National Institute on Drug Abuse have been shown to increase outcomes and contribute to reduced abuse of alcohol, smoking and other substances among the school-going children (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2003). The federal government spends more than $750,000,000 annually on D.A.R.E program with insignificant evidence of improvements in the outcomes (West & O’Neal, 2004). Such funds could be easily directed to NIDA programs, which are backed by evidence and whose program is comprehensive and involves the community, educators and parents in prevention of drug and deviant behaviors.
According to a research published by (West & O’Neal, 2004), the D.A.R.E program is ineffective, and is a source of interruptions to the school academic programs. Moreover, (Rosenbaum, Flewelling, Bailey, Ringwalt, & Wilkinson, 1994) asserts that inexperienced and unlicensed educators offer the D.A.R.E program. The program employs cops in classrooms as instructors, who merely give the instructions about the program to the learners, with no follow-up activities. It is from the lack of the follow-up that the authors assert that the program is loop-sided and needs licensed educators for it to be effective.
Unintended Consequences of the DARE Program That Should Be Considered When Assessing the Program
Although project Drug Abuse Resistance Education was developed primarily to assist in developing the skills and enhance a violence and drugs free life from those who graduate from the program, the project has had some indented consequences. The program was intended to keep kids away from drugs. However, the number of high school kids who use drugs has increase since its inception (Galloway, 2013). It is important to consider this consequence since it determines the effectiveness and ability of the program to meet is mission. Moreover, it is important to consider the consequence given the huge investment of school time, government enforcement efforts and the huge federal funding that the program consumes annually.
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