Monitoring and Evaluation
January 15, 2003 a letter from the General Accounting Office wrote a letter to Senator
Richard Durbin of Illinois referencing that evaluations of six long term studies with D.A.R.E
proved that there were no significant differences in illicit drug use between students who
received D.A.R.E. and those students who didn’t. All six evaluations suggested that D.A.R.E.
had no statistically significant long-term effect on preventing illicit drug use in youth (West,
Edward Shepard of LeMoyne College studied showed that the program had a neutral or
negative effect after the completion of the program. Shepard went on to mention that students
and the community are receiving no measurable benefit from participation in the program and
that from an economic perspective the program should be discontinued due to its costs. The Chicago Tribune wrote in an August 11th, 1999 editorial that the program created pseudo
solutions for the hazardous decisions to be made about substance abuse (ProCon, 2017).
In Houston, TX a study showed that there was a 29% increase in drug usage and a 34%
increase in tobacco usage among students participating in the D.A.R.E. program (Hanson, 2002).
D.A.R.E. released a statement that implied that most of the criticisms of the programs are
coming from groups advocating for drug legalization. University of Kentucky performed
researched funded by the National Institute of Health that found the programs effectiveness
insignificant especially when accounting for the amount of money spent to run the program
(Hanson, 2002).

GCHB 7220- Final Paper

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The D.A.R.E. program does not represent a good model for conducting a community
based program because since inception it went against researcher recommendations. When the
information was first shared with Officer Gates, he made it clear that he wanted uniformed
officers implementing the program in schools. That decision did not sit well with the Head of the
Research team Andy Johnson who refused to go on with the advancement of the D.A.R.E.
program. He realized that children in the classroom may want to appeal to officers by saying
what is right and may not always be willing to make mistakes in front of an authority figure with
such power.
After much research, I do not see that the community was involved efficiently in the
programmatic creation for the D.A.R.E. program. Parents were able to participate in officer-led
focus groups to evaluate the effectiveness of the program that they saw in their child’s ability to
“Just Say No”. These focus groups had the same issues that Andy Johnson addressed prior to the
programs start.
The D.A.R.E. program did not focus on community assets when creating the program, it
focused on resources and in part that is how funding came so easily for this program. The
D.A.R.E. program was not individualized in addressing what drugs it chose to address in
communities. In some instances, students reported D.A.R.E. introducing them to new drug
choices. The climate of country when this program was introduced was when the “War on
Drugs” was public enemy number one according to President Nixon (Carter, 1995). The country
was ready to stop drug use by any means necessary and did not take a moment to step back to
critically analyze to feasibility of the program going nationally using the exact same curriculum.
GCHB 7220- Final Paper

The same police force that jailed parents in some instances were in the classrooms
teaching their children to “Just Say No”. The workbook examples, peer-to officer role playing
were not representative of actual real world scenarios of drug interactions. The D.A.R.E.
program focused on eradication of the acceptance of drug use within school age students with a
no tolerance approach. This approach does not focus on preventative measures on getting
involved in these high risk situations.


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