NEWS BLOG (WSAU) Does DARE work? Years ago there was some independent research that concluded drug education in schools didn't do any harm, but didn't reduce youth drug-use rates at all. There have been other studies done by state justice departments around the country suggesting that DARE does help from negative attitudes about illegal drugs.
I have no statistics, no facts, just gut feeling. My sense is we are losing the war on drugs in our schools. When I was in school, drug use was unheard of outside of high school and college. The drug of choice would have been marijuana, and only a handful of students were users. My younger sister said by the time she was in school should could identify dozens of high school drug users, and most of those habits started in middle school. The people I've talked to in their 20s and 30s tell me that some level of drug experimentation was almost universal when they were in high school - even if they only tried it once. DARE officers will tell you today that almost any kid at any high school can score pot, and that harder drugs are also widely available. DARE targets kids in 4th and 5th grade, because these are skills they'll need in middle school. There's a push to start DARE earlier.
Today is my oldest daughter's DARE graduation at Thomas Jefferson School in Wausau. She's one of the speakers at the event. I will be there to celebrate her achievement. But in the back of my mind I'm thinking, "I sure hope this works."
Operations Manager-Midwest Communications, Wausau