Ineffectiveness of the D.A.R.E Program | My Paper Hub
Adolescents and teenagers continue to
Adolescents and teenagers continue to
reap benefits from outreach programs across the country. The programs look to promote
a healthy development of this category of people while promoting the highest
ideals of character as they transition to the next level of development which
is youth. Several programs, however, seem not to achieve these goals even with
the massive funding and lots of time investment. An example of this kind of a
program is the Drug Abuse Resistance Program (D.A.R.E) (Freiheit,
Montague and Wiggington). Despite the use of approaches like;
development of personal goals and self-esteem and the one on resistances of
peer pressure and advertisements, the D.A.R. E program and its administrators
never seem to get things right. The program continues to take up millions of
funding from the government yet not achieving any long-term effects on the
children going through it. The administrators have always changed the
curriculum and their tack ticks, but they have not worked out. Some of the ways
they use to teach were using role playing, lectures and a few questions allowed
for the students and finally the use of discussions in class. The last method
is the one currently in use. The organization has changed their slogans several
times in efforts to curb the failure in the program. The slogan in use
currently is the “keepin’ it REAL” (Cima). This
paper gives in detail on how the program has continued to fail and the reason
why it should be terminated. The results of this will be saving time, money and
the children it affects.
Since its inception in 1983, the D.A.R.E
program has continued to receive negative criticisms on its workability. The
program began in the city of Los Angeles where Daryl Gates the then chief of
police in the LA Police Department (LAPD) assisted in creating the program,
therefore became its first figurehead. Daryl Gates came up with the program due
to the increase in the number of drug busts on school campuses hence, the
creation of a preventative education program instead of punishment. A
collaboration between, LAPD, LA Unified School, and the local Rotary Club by
the name Drug Abuse Resistance Education Program (D.A.R.E) was created. Before
the inception of this program, research on drug prevention education was
already taking place with a title “SMART” and with which the D.A.R.E formed its
basis. Gates believed that the police were more credible in matters of drug use
than any other professionals involved in the case. Therefore, they were to
teach these students a 45 minutes’ lecture based on the curriculum developed by
Dr. Ruth Rich the district’s specialist in health education. Due to Gates move
of proposing the program to be run by police officers, some of the original
authors of the SMART program backed off from the program leaving to in the
hands of Gates and Rich to spearhead it. The program had grown to be a regular
fixture in LA schools and was popular among parents and children within a few
years. By mid-nineties, the program had developed to be a national organization
with the highest annual revenue. The positive reaction from people was as a
result of them viewing it as a proactive act towards the elimination of the
drug use problem among teenagers and young adults. The positivity was not to
last long since; researches were conducted to determine whether the program is
doing well and the results were not favorable to the program (Cima).
Among the many adverse effects of the
program on the adolescents and teenagers is the potential harm the therapy
causes and which is in violation of the hypocritical oath taken by physicians.
Recent studies have proven that several psychological treatments can cause
detrimental damage to the individual undergoing the program. The treatment
methods that cause harm to the patients are known as the potential harmful
therapies (PHTs). It is until recently that these harmful treatments have been
found to cause the individual to deteriorate instead of improving. D.A.R.E can
be classified as a PHT. The reason to conclude this is that many kids in this
program ignore the program’s message which is zero-tolerance to drugs. The
reason behind this could be to the fact that these children have relatives at
home or neighbors who partake these drugs with no adverse effects. This results
in children thinking that the program is just an exaggerated thing to prevent
them from indulging in “fun” things like the family members do. In a few pieces
of research conducted earlier, there has been an increase in the number of
children involved in drugs and alcohol intake instead of reducing. This is
another indicator that the program is a PHT. The program overestimates the
number of children engaging in drug use and make the use of things like alcohol
a normal thing. It is however not done intentionally, but the excessive focus
on hard drugs like heroin and cocaine make the children see alcohol as a not so
but thing to try out. The mind of a child or an adolescent is vulnerable, and
especially teens are prone to trying out new things, therefore, normalizing
alcohol intake opens an opportunity for them to try out ("D.A.R.E.
The harm caused by this program is also
in violation of the physicians’ hypocritical oath. The oath requires the doctor
to do no harm to the individual. Development of these program involved
teachers, the police, and medical personnel. One of the medical staff involved
in the original creation of the program was Dr. Ruth Rich a district health
specialist in LA at that time. Through the various pieces of research on the
program, it has been proven over and over again that the program causes harm
since it is just short term benefits seen. In the long run, the individuals are
not able to resist the use of drugs. This is to show that the medical personnel
involved have continues to violate the oath of doing no harm to the children.
Therefore, to redeem themselves from this, it is only prudent to discontinue the
program and advocate for another that causes no harm to any of the people
involved ("D.A.R.E. - Procon.Org").
The program lures parents into false
believe that the program works hence the children continuously engage in the
use of drugs ("D.A.R.E. - Procon.Org").
The program is very popular among parents, which is one of the things that made
it spread to the national level as it spread through word of mouth. Due to this
false believe, parents neglect their children because the program is taking
care of advising the children. The teachers, on the other hand, leave the job
to the police and the parents because their work is teaching the normal
curriculum. The result of this is getting a child who is left alone with
pressure from friends to try out new things. There is the portion of
responsibility that a parent is supposed to take care of when bringing up a
child, but when the program is there, the parents think that the program is
taking care of everything a parent does. On the police department side, the police
officers believe that the parents are taking care of that. Finally, the child
ends up losing because of what the program is doing which is normalizing soft
drugs. The kids end up using them but if the parent had taken the
responsibility to explain to the child that all drugs are not good for their
health, then maybe they would not get involved.
Parent’s responsibility towards their
children is to guide them and advise them when they are at home. A study in
2011 revealed that the program is ineffective in the long run. The results were
due to, normalization of alcohol use in the program, make the children try it
out. This is done when parents are not around and as they grow and go to
colleges the intake of alcohol is not restricted since they feel that they are
adults and should not be controlled. If the program were to change in the
approach and stop overestimating its effectiveness, maybe there could be ways
to save it. The parents also need to understand when something is too good
hence need to take charge of their children’s lives while they are still young
so that when they are old, they can be able to resist drug use ("D.A.R.E. - Procon.Org").
The number of schools administering the
D.A.R.E. program has declined over the years which is an indicator that the
teachers and school administrator do not believe that the program reaps any
favorable fruits ("D.A.R.E. - Procon.Org").
Schools in areas like Asotin and Pomeroy in Washington are examples of the many
that have declined to offer the D.A.R.E program. It is their third year now
since they discontinued. This is not only because the program does not work,
but also due to a staffing issue. The D.A.R.E has been having a problem with
revenue which has been on the decline. As a result, the do not have enough
stuff to take care of each and every school. Another reason to believe that the
program does not work, this is because, if it was efficient and did not have
any contested issues, the organization world be receiving funds from the
government and from other individuals or organizations in support of the good
work they are doing (Stone). According to a study
conducted in 2012, 60% school districts have eliminated the D.A.R.E program in
their curriculum from around mid-200s to the year 2012 which was in thirty-two
states where data on this was available. The D.A.R.E program annual report for
the year 2011 showed a total revenue of $3.7 million a 62% decline from 2000’s
$9.7 million. This with no doubt indicates a massive failure in the
organization ("D.A.R.E. - Procon.Org").
Alternative programs that are run by
teachers and parents seem to reap positive fruits. An example is one called
Just Say No to Drugs. It was similar to D.A.R.E, but the difference was in
administration. With the help from the police department, the program becomes
very expensive for nothing. This is because parents do not need training to
advice their children and teachers do not need extra training because they
already know how to handle the children. Besides, some of the teachers are
parents too which makes them the suited candidates to run a program that will
help eliminate the drug problem. The D.A.R.E. spends approximately $700 million
a year which makes it one of the most expensive drug programs in the country
which is not good at all because it is the list effective. The money would be
useful if it were given to other programs that work and the results can be seen
(Freiheit, Montague and Wiggington).
D.A.R.E program has been there since
1983, their policies and messages have remained the same even though there have
been efforts of trying to change this, they have not achieved it. A repeated
message over and over again, makes the program sound boring to the kids who
have been hearing it since elementary to seventh grade. The children end up
just ignoring it since it is a cliché in their life (Reaves).
The reaction is a negative one and which any program is supposed to avoid. A
survey of the program in California by the California Department of Education
showed that 90% of the high school students had a negative or indifferent
feelings towards the program, 70% were said to have reported negative feelings
towards those who were administering the program. 40% students were reported to
have been zero influenced by the program and 33% of middle school children
reported negative or indifferent feelings towards the program. This, therefore,
impacts significantly of the failure of the program ("D.A.R.E.
A program that does not impact as it is
desired does not deserve to be funded nor even to exist. It continues to affect
negatively to the children while costing the country a lot of resources that
can be used in other areas. The police officers administering the program could
be helpful in law enforcement duties. The children would have time to work on
school related projects, and the money would be spent on other programs that
work. Examples of these other programs are the YMCA and girls’ and boys’ guide.
The later helps in the development of a child from a young age and which its
activities are fun, and kids get to learn as they grow. The program gives
children a sense of ownership and belonging. The YMCA is a program for the
youth one that provides a platform for young people to develop themselves,
talent wise and career wise.
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