Pubdate: Wed, 13 Sep 2000
Source: Cincinnati Post (OH)
Copyright: 2000 The Cincinnati Post
Author: Kevin Osborne
Bookmark: MAP's link to Ohio articles is:


Heeding widespread criticism from school children and their parents,
Cincinnati Mayor Charlie Luken is asking city administrators to restore
money to the city's DARE program - despite voting to approve $250,000 in
cuts late last year.

Luken said his reversal was prompted by the outpouring of support for the
program, and the importance of having children interact with police
officers in a non-adversarial situation.

"My opinion about its value has changed," Luken said. "It's clear from the
reaction of children and school administrators that the contact with police
was healthy. I would like to get that going again, and I think so would the

During budget negotiations last year, City Council considered eliminating
funding for DARE - Drug Abuse Resistance Education - citing several
national studies that question whether it's effective in preventing school
children from using illegal drugs and alcohol.

Eventually, City Council settled on a compromise that reduced one-third of
the program's fund ing. The deal was approved by six council members
including Luken.

Before the reduction, the city spent about $700,000 annually on the

DARE still is taught at 62 schools. Of the 30 schools where the program was
eliminated, 20 were Catholic institutions.

"The perception was this was a targeted cut," Luken said.

Under Cincinnati's form of government, the mayor alone cannot set spending
priorities or ap prove a municipal budget, which requires a majority vote
by City Council.

But in a memorandum Tuesday to City Manager John Shirey, Luken wrote: "Next
year, (the) safety (department) will be one of the only departments spared
new budget cuts. I urge you to work within that budget to recommend the
restoration of DARE."

City administrators are working on a budget recommendation, which will be
presented to City Council in early November. Public hearings will be held
later that month and in December, before City Council approves a final
budget by year's end.

Council Member Pat DeWine, who didn't support the initial cuts, still said
the program's worthiness must be proven to justify spending three-quarters
of a million dollars.

"I'd be willing to go back and look at restoring the cuts," DeWine said.
"The question I have is whether DARE has been effective and if it's a wise
use of drug prevention money. We need to look at what the studies say."

Locally, more than 6,000 fifth- and sixth-grade students participated in
the program in 1998, with 5,700 passing the course. Uniformed officers
teach drug resistance skills and methods for handling peer pressure and
DARE promotes a zero-tolerance approach to use, and advocates that any
alcohol, drug or tobacco use can lead to addiction.



About DARE

About 80 percent of U.S. schools use the Drug Abuse Resistance Education
(DARE) program.

More than a dozen studies have indicated the 20-year-old program has
minimal effect on reducing drug, alcohol or cigarette use; it doesn't rank
in the top 10 of programs rated most successful at curbing substance abuse,
and the U.S. Department of Education said its effectiveness is unproven.

Cost is about $5 per student, which rises up to $50 per student once police
time is added. It costs about $4,000 to train DARE officers.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Eric Ernst