feedback on DRCNet's D.A.R.E. site


Thank you for your informative site. I am a journalism student at the University of Colorado and I chose the DARE program as my topic for my term paper because I am just now seeing the effects it has had on my peers. My class was the first one at my elementary school to participate in the program. Basic, bottom line--it did not work. My class did not have magic powers vested in us when we received our diplomas at our DARE graduation. Comparitively, we were not any more drug-free than the classes above us, and sadly, drugs are becoming increasingly more prevailent in the grades below us. It is disturbing to admit but I would almost think that the DARE program has made matters worse for children. There are so many problems associated with the program that I cannot go into detail, but the worst flaw is that none of it has stuck with me or any of my peers. For my term paper I asked 30 of my high school classmates what they thought of DARE--every one of them said that it did not work. Reasons were: educating about the drugs doesn't make a child not want to do it, not enough emphasis on the long term effects, not talking about cigarettes (yet I think this has been incorporated into the program recently), two years is not enough, 5th and 6th grade are not good target grades because drugs are not really a part of a child's life yet, no follow up (this was probably the biggest complaint) and the overall attitude of the program. I think that the DARE program is sucking money out of the budget to make parents, teachers, law enforcement officals and the government feel like they are doing something good for their children. This is absolutely false. The DARE program is doing nothing to prevent children from doing drugs. If you would like any more input from myself or my peers please contact me, I would be happy to help.
Thank you,
Alissa _____

Hello. My name is Anthony _____, and i participated in the DARE program not when i was in fifth grade, but raher when i was a junior in Highschool...which was the first year. When i was a senior, i was enlisted to be a Peer DARE Counsiler...i down't know if this is still done. I do know that now, at the age of 24 i feel that i was mislead and minapulated. Basicly i feel i was outright lied too to serve some purpose. What purpose i don't know. By the time i realized exactly how false everything i learned was, i was angry, but mature enough to make intelligent decisions regarding my use of both legal and illegal drugs. And left with the question "Why would someone go out of there way to mislead and lie to someone about anyhting, let alone something like the use of ALL drugs, which demands that informed, intelligent decisions be made." I still don't understand. But i think that DARE especially and any program which simply trys to controll people with fear is not only a waste of time, but also dangerous. Because you will not stay afraid forever. And when you find out you've been lied to, it makes you bitter and angry. And we've got too much of that already, haven't we?
Thank you.

If D.A.R.E. isn't the answer then what is? Do nothing? Sometimes we have to bond together on on issue and I think drug abuse is one of those issues. Maybe if there is bad parts in the curriculm...lets fix them. One of the problems today is that parents have NO control over there children and are afraid to admit that there children have done something wrong. Worse...they don't care or have time for their children. If the parents would have the courage to son or daughter made a mistake.....lets work it out. Instead we question the credibility of Teachers, Police Officers and other adults. Lets wake up American and come together as a team instead of picking apart every program that comes along. :)

I had a DARE officer come to my class for 8 years. I went to a relatively small private school in Johnson County, Kansas. I would have hoped that more of the kids from my school would stay on a straight path, but very few of us did. I think the problem may have been that it was a boring class. It was boring because we covered the same material for 8 years in these workbooks that made it pretty dull stuff to learn about. It wasn't a life skills class, rather it was just another elective busywork class. We had our officer come once a week and give us more homework. He didn't especially make himself ready available for us to talk to him about our own experiences with drugs, let alone our fears. The year after graduation we had several girls in rehab, but they were only the ones who got caught. I think the DARE program could be improved alot more if it weren't police officers giving the talks. Maybe young recoverers, or young adults, someone that kids could relate to in their own generation.
Thanks- Maggie ____, 15

In response to your request for what it was like to go through the DARE program, I have been through DARE in fifth grade, though it's really not a big event that stands out in my mind. There was the whole bit where we were graded on these anti-drug projects they made us do like all these reasons why we shouldn't do drugs, and the police officers came to school and all that. I did it, and got a good grade, and that was all I cared about. Looking back on it, I can see why it obviously doesn't work: we had already listened to and believed what mama TV had told us, and literally didn't have the slightest hunch that there were people who actually had an opposing view to the whole thing. At least other than those evil drug dealers, who we had heard of, but we didn't really worry about them much, because just like killers, they're people that live somewhere else and nobody spends much of their time actually worrying about. The question was always a no-brainer- drugs were obviously these evil things with many bad things and no good things about them. All of us believed what we were told, but it didn't matter, because we weren't about to be using drugs anyway. Then we got older and realized drugs actually weren't evil incarnate. For me it was when I saw an ad... in SPIN magazine, I think... that was a button that said "Just Say Nothing" part submerged in a mound of white powder. I think it was when I was 13 years old, two years ago, when I saw that ad. That was the first time I realized their was a whole other side to this drug issue than the DARE side. When one knows the facts about a drug, or even so much as takes any illicit drug, it becomes easy to see what a joke DARE is. The entire DARE experience is wasted, just another campaign that you see commercials for from time to time.

I am sorry to say that I graduated from the DARE program. I had it from late elementary school on and off till 8th grade. I was a sucker then but not now. I now know how much they lied to us and I am outraged. They actually have a DARE program in the high school, too! What a waste of school time. We could be learning something important in all the time that is wasted. I would loved to have started learning French in elementary school. It would be alot easier now.

I am a 11th grade high school student and I went through  the DARE progrem in elementry school. A lot of good it did for me! (I smoke marijuana often & have become an policy reform for activist) This program does not work!!! looking back to the people I went to elementry school with, I would have to say at least 1/3 of them have become pot heads, and I can think of 9 off the top of my head that are now dealers. One of my best friends won the DARE essay contest at her old school, and guess what..... she now smokes all the time. I think that the DARE program is an insult to the intellegence of elementary school children. They tried to teach us to "just say no". It like they were brain washing us. I remember looking through the picture books and reading the story boards of the cool teens presuring the little innocent kids into useing marijuana, and thinking, how dumb do they think we are? I'm not going to smoke pot just because somebody else says it's cool. I have confidence enough in todays youth to say that they have brains of their own & can make their own disicions in life.
thanks for your concern. & can make their own disicions in life.

mollyns in life.

I was in DARE when I was in fifth grade, or maybe sixth grade, I'm not entirely sure. I found most of the information compiled and taught by this program to be a farce, a smokescreen to hide behind while waging a war on drugs. I have since found out that the information that they inform our children with is filled with hyperbole, and is a campaign crammed to the gunwales with disinformation.

Nathan ______

I have recently completed a critical assessment of evaluation studies concerning DARE for one our board of crime control. I am both pleased and disappointed in your page. Pleased in that your efforts and intentions appear to be more genuine then many pages of this nature, but disappointed in that you are not presenting the facts about DARE in an objective manner. Personally, I do not support the DARE prorgam, but as a researcher and social scientist, I must keep my personal feelings aside. Granted you may not belive yourself to be either (social scientists or researcher) however you have an obligation to disseminate the facts and let the public digest and interpret as they choose. Don't make decisions for them.
In spite of what you may feel as negative criticism, I am happy to browse your page periodically, and encourage you to keep it running - just make it more objective. I, of my meager stature, commend your efforts and wish you well.

Thanks for indulging my comments.


Dennis _______
Research Analyst, MA

Dear Dennis ______:

	Thanks so much for your response to the DARE page. It's good
	to know that people are looking at it critically.

	Are there any inaccuracies in the site? We'd appreciate your
	drawing our attention to any mistakes we have made, and we will
	correct them. Or, if there are any valid studies or evaluations
	of DARE that we have not included, that you think should be,
	we'd appreciate your bringing our attention to them as well.

	Thanks again.
					-- Dick Evans
					   Voluntary Comm. of Parents

I am trying to make an informed decision about DARE before my 5th grader starts school. I have read all of your articles and feel it has provided me with an unbiased look at DARE. I wanted to ask a specific question. Am I as a concerned parent allowed to sit in on the DARE sessions with my child. I read in another article that there is a "mandatory exclusion of parents from the DARE sessions". Is this true? I hope not. Please let me know what information you have on this aspect. THANKS!!
Teri _______

Dear Teri,

		Thanks for your note about DARE. We're very glad that
	you found the materials on our site of use. You may also want
	to check out a site called, which has additional 
	materials (but not, perhaps, quite so unbiased).

		As to your question about parents sitting in on the
	class, I'm not aware of any prohibition of it in the DARE
	materials, although it is certainly clear that they don't
	encourage it.

		My opinion is that the practice would be governed by
	school policy, not DARE policy. If it is the school's (or
	school district's) policy to permit parents to sit in on
	classes, then one is hard pressed to see how they could make
	an exception in the case of DARE.

		So, my suggestion is to take it up with the teacher,
	principal or school board (in that order).

		As you are probably aware, there is a plethora of
	www sites by and from DARE officers from all around the
	country. You might also post an inquiry on some of those
	sites, asking if it is DARE policy to exclude parents.

		We'll be interested to hear what sort of response you

		Again, thanks for visiting our site, and we are very
	pleased that you found it helpful. Please don't hesitate to
	let us know how we can make it better.

		And...congratulations for having the good sense to look
	into the program before your child is enrolled in it. 

					Dick Evans, for
					Voluntary Comm. of Parents

Is it possible to receive the text from this site. I would like to read it all and present it to our school if possible. Thank you.

We would be delighted for you to present the text for our DARE site to 
your school.  You should be able to print out each section from your web 
browser (by entering the file menu and selecting print) and/or download 
the text into a file and print that out.  However, if you are unable to 
do so, please write back and I'll be glad to either pull the text 
together and e-mail it to you, or print it out and send it to you via 
the US mail.  
Thanks for writing.

David Borden
Director, Drug Reform Coordination Network


I was a DARE counselor for two years in high school. (Pembroke Academy, New Hampshire) I was also involoved in peer counseling at the high school. I never drank, smoked, or even saw any drugs while I was there. I did go to one party where there was beer, that was after we won the state basketball championship.

I started attending the U of Colorado in 1991. I was ill prepared for what I was to encounter. In the next dorm room, and the one two doors down, pot plants were being grown. My roomate was a dealer. The kid 5 doors down was a dealer (heavy volume, psilocybin and pot). There were two beer brewing operations on my floor.

I was taught how to drink by my dormates in a 'get drunk' situation, instead of responsibly, by my parents, at home, in a social situation. By the end of the year, I was on three types of probation, academic, residence hall, and university disciplinary. I was known as the 'dorm drunk', and became introduced to the U Police more than once! I was forced to go through alcohol counseling, and letters were sent home to my parents. I still love to drink, and I still like to get drunk, and I even work at a microbrewery!, but I feel that my drinking is under control. I haven't purged but once in 2+ years, and can't remember my last blackout (pun intended, it was prob in 92ish). My brother went to Cornell, joined a frat, and became a drinking legend for theages.

I saw tons of pot smoked, and acid and mushrooms in the dorms. Never saw negative consequences beyond F's. Tryed mushrooms in the spring of my fresh year, LSD soon afterward. Still will do both, but only a couple times a year at concerts, or in the mountains. Took one or the other weekly for one summer, great summer.

Didn't try pot until after I turned 20, near xmas of my soph year in college. Was 'habitual' by march, stoner by summer, sat on the couch watching Beavis and Buthead all day.

Got busted twice this summer for pot, once in Utah in a complete bullshit pullover and search, (supreme court decisions violated include mapp v. ohio, miranda v. arizona) but because I am broke, the justice system doesn't work for me, unlike for retired black football players. Thrown in jail, treated like a hard core felon, cost me all the money that I had just won in Vegas, for a couple of joints. The other two guys in the car don't smoke, one didn't even know I had a stash. $600 fine, 130 mph ride in cop car, 6 hours of sleep in 3 days.

2nd bust, in Boulder (where I have lived for 5 years, at the U), in a park surrounded by 100ish hippies, 3 pipes going around. I'm walking through the park on the way back from work, sit by the creek behind the smokin' hippies, start rollin' a joint, looked up at a bike cop. The hippies had hid their stuff, using their communication system. Petty offense, minimal fine, no record.

Still smoke daily, taken a couple of days off every couple of weeks. 'Detox' when I go to visit my parents in NH.

I knew, even when I was a counselor, that I was going to do drugs. That is because my favorite band, Pink Floyd, was largely inspired by LSD. When I found out that the Beatles had smoked a J' in Buckingham Palace, what was left sacred?

Now my favorite music/bands are Alice in Chains (heavy heroin), reggae (heavy pot), and funk (just about everything). X is so common at the clubs now, its ridiculous. Why is most of my favorite music inspired by drugs? It was long before I ever even took any!

Had the acid I took at the Pink Floyd show been good, 5 of the top ten best times of my life were on mushrooms/LSD, usually at concerts. Instead, just 4/10, including the best time ever (seal concert, at red rocks)

I don't think I can tell my parents about my usage, they are fully conditioned against all drugs, put pot in the same category as crack probably.

My best GPA was the semester I smoked the most.

Rashaan Salaam (Heisman Trophy winner here), Al Gore, Newt Gingrich, Mike McMurry, Trent Lott, all admitted habitual pot smokers.

I have seen drugs (pot included) ingested thousands of times, but I have neverseen anyone freak out, or go the hospital, or commit crime greater than dealing, petty theft, or sleeping through class.

I see people every day go to the hospital, break the law, or make complete retards of themselves over alcohol.

I have stopped believing that fat, old men who drive the beltway, and whose sole interest is getting reelected, are the ones who should be making decisions for us. When we get a good bag of pot, a fingernail shaving's worth is enough to get you high. How bad can that be? I work in a kitchen, where everybody smokes. One guy got caught the other day by the GM, and was fired. During the subsequent kitchen meeting, the Kitchen Manager said "DOn't do it on property, go out into the alley, and sometimes I might even join you."

I am very addicted to sugar, and my teeth will fall out.

Television is the most powerful and evil drug in the history of the world. Idon't have TV

Hope this is helpful, let's chat!

Matthew _______

I recently went through DARE. The police officer that came to our school told us how to make opium, how to smoke marijauna, and many other drug tidbits. This bothers me because if these kids do start taking drugs they'll know all about them.
Thank You

Last year, when my daughter was in 5th grade. A permission slip came home about DARE. We would not sign it if it was going to condemn wine. We have a winery and have raised our children to practice moderation, not abstinence. The DARE officer and the guidance counselor secretly met with my daughter, to tell her of all the DARE paraphenalia she could get for being in the program ( ie. a DARE teddy bear). Then they called my husband and I in for a conference, with my daughter present, to let us know what our daughters wishes were. We explained to them that the DARE program was against everything we have taught thus far and that I could already see the program turning the children against the parents by meeting with my child after I had said no to the program. This occured in South Carolina. I am completely against the DARE program and feel that our federal, state, and local funds could be better spent elesewhere.

To Whom It May Concern,
I am interested in knowing more about your organization and how we could work more closely. Could you please send me an e-mail, letting me know who I should contact. I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Steve ______



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