Pubdate: Wed, 20 Mar 2002
Source: Fort Saskatchewan Record, The (CN AB)
Copyright: 2002 The Fort Saskatchewan Record
Author: Dick Easton
Bookmark: (D.A.R.E.)


Dick Easton, Fort Saskatchewan

I note, with dismay, a recent plaintive call for financial support from 
Strathcona County reeves for the DARE program. There seems to be a hope 
that fear and superstition will win out over rational thought.

DARE is a commercial for profit program designed for the population of a 
large American urban area. It is generally regarded by professionals as 
being, at best, problematic.

"One school-based universal prevention program meets the criteria for Does 
Not Work: Drug Abuse Resistance Education, or DARE.

DARE is the most widely implemented youth drug prevention program in the 
United States. It receives substantial support from parents, teachers, 
police and government funding agencies, and its popularity persists despite 
numerous well-designed evaluations and meta-analyses that consistently show 
little or no deterrent effects on substance use.

Overall, evidence on the effects of the traditional DARE curriculum, which 
is implemented in grades 5 and 6, shows that children who participate are 
as likely to use drugs as those who do not participate.

However, some positive effects have been demonstrated regarding attitudes 
toward police.

"Youth Violence: A Report of The United States Surgeon General Why then is 
the program so popular?

Politicians like it because it gives the appearance of real action without 
spending much money.

Police like it because it improves their community profile. DARE is 
operated by local police forces.

Parents like it because it places the responsibility for drug education on 
somebody else's shoulders.

No fuss, no mess, and no accountability. These are our kids. Are we not 
compelled to do our homework and to make certain the programs we fund in 
our schools are adequate and effective.

In the end there is probably not a serious drug problem in Strathcona 
County. I have sent two kids through the Elk Island school system from K-12 
and have examined the curricula with a professional eye.

There is, in that system, no need for a DARE type program. The issues are 
dealt with in normal classroom activities, in Health, in Science, in Career 
and Life Management, in English and in Social Studies, Most kids leave such 
an effective well run school system as immune from drug abuse as is possible.

I challenge the parents of our kids to do their homework, read about DARE, 
talk to AADAC and like reputable organizations, and make your own choices. 
In the end I will bet they too will suggest we put the cops back on the 
street where they belong, and use the money we save to buy some basketballs.
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