Administration of Justice 153: Juvenile Delinquency
Instructor R. Crothers
The Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) Program is described as "a validated, copyrighted comprehensive drug and violence prevention education program" for children in kindergarten through 12th grade (Carter, 1995, p.1). DARE is a collaborative effort between school and law enforcement personnel, which is nationally coordinated by DARE America with input from state and local agencies and communities (p.1). To date, DARE has been the largest and most widely implemented drug and violence prevention program in the world and was recognized as a key element of community-based policing efforts (p.2).
The DARE curriculum is intended to prepare elementary, middle, and high school students to resist substance abuse, violence, and gangs. As of 1993, more than 22,000 community-oriented law enforcement officers from 7,000 communities throughout the United States had taught the DARE curriculum to more than 25 million elementary school students (p.1). Moreover, also as of 1993, DARE was being taught by law enforcement officers in 19 countries and was being implemented in Department of Defense Dependent schools worldwide (p.2).
Social influences programs such as DARE are the most recent approach to drug use among youth (Ringwalt, Ennet, Iachan, Clayton, Leukefeld, 1994, p.2-4). These programs operate on the assumption youth use drugs because they do not have the social competencies to resist social pressures to use them. These programs typically include interactive learning experiences such as modeling, role-playing, and practicing behavioral skills (p.2-4). Their strategies also usually involve "peer leaders" as teachers, in role-playing, or to facilitate discussion (p.2-4). The DARE Program is such a social influence strategy.