Date: Mon, 20 Sep 1993 16:42:26 -0400 (EDT)
From: Thomas Walsh
Subject: Re: DARE
Sender: Drug Abuse Education Information and Research
My colleague and director, Dr. Dennis F. Nalty, has collected a number
of citations for DARE evaluations and has recently abstracted them for
the purpose of making a proposal. Since there have been some queries and
discussion on DARE recently, I am taking the liberty of sending his file
along as is. I am sorry it's rather long, and you may have to scramble to
get addresses, butI hope it will be useful to somebody.
Thomas T. Walsh
Research and Statistics Administrator
South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services
3700 Forest Drive
Columbia, SC 29204
REVIEW OF EXISTING DARE EVALUATIONS
DARE started in Los Angeles in 1983 and has been adopted in school
districts in all 50 states. The DARE program is a 17 week
curriculum (45 min to 1 hr, once a week) which sends uniformed
police officers into 5th and 6th grade classrooms to provide
information about alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs and to provide
strategies for students to resist the use of these drugs.
Consensus of studies
The early DARE evaluations (1987-1989) were generally favorable -
showing decreased alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use, increased
resistance to drug use, increased self-esteem, and other positive
The majority of the recent evaluations of DARE (late 1989 to
present) have shown decidedly mixed results. The majority of these
recent studies attempt to measure the longer-term effects of DARE
(one or more years after the completion of the DARE curriculum).
The current consensus is that DARE does significantly and
positively affect student attitudes toward alcohol, tobacco, and
other drugs (ATOD), but the findings generally indicate that
exposure to DARE does not significantly reduce the actual use of
In general, the better controlled studies tend to show the least
effect of DARE. In addition, follow-up studies, which track
students for several years following DARE exposure, tend to show
little or no lasting effects of DARE.
Los Angeles DARE evaluations
A 7 year evaluation of DARE in Los Angeles was begun in 1985. The
evaluation was conducted by the Evaluation and Training Institute.
Several reports have been released at various stages in this
1988 report on DARE in Los Angeles
This was one of the first evaluations on DARE effectiveness.
DARE Population: Surveyed 8th graders (n=498) who had received DARE
in the 6th grade.
Control Population: Compared these responses to 8th graders (n=163)
who had not been exposed to DARE.
1) DARE students had significantly lower use of alcohol, tobacco,
inhalants, and heroin 2 years post-DARE.
2) The reductions in use were especially significant for the boys.
3) No significant differences were found between DARE and non-DARE
groups in rates of alcohol, tobacco and other drug (ATOD) use by
the student's friends, siblings, and other household members.
1990 report on DARE in Los Angeles
DARE evaluation report for 1985-1989. Conducted by the Evaluation
and Training Institute in 1990.
DARE population: Started with 6th graders who had received DARE.
Then measured the same students 2 years later in eight grade.
Control population: matched population of students who had not
Conducted an annual longitudinal survey of the same DARE and non-
DARE students over a 4 year period and analyzed school records.
The drug use questions were compared over the two-year period from
the 1985-1986 school year to the 1987-1988 school year.
School record reviews were conducted over the entire period from
1985 to 1989.
1) DARE students had significantly lower tobacco use than non-DARE
2) DARE students had significantly lower cocaine use than non-DARE
3) DARE students had more negative attitudes about drug use than
4) DARE students had fewer reported discipline and defiance
problems than non-DARE students, as determined by school record
5) However, no significant differences were found in teacher
ratings of student work habits or attendance between the DARE and
1987 National Institute of Justice DARE evaluation
Reference: DeJong, W. A Short Term Evaluation of Project DARE (Drug
Abuse Resistance Education): Preliminary Indications of
Effectiveness. J. Drug Education, 17, 279-294 (1987).
Funded by National Institute of Justice.
Dare subjects: measured knowledge, attitudes, and self-reported
ATOD use among 7th graders who had received DARE in 6th grade
Control subjects: measured same variables for 310 7th graders who
did not receive DARE
1) Found significantly lower ATOD use among DARE students vs non-
2) Findings were strongest among boys.
3) Those DARE students who had used ATOD were more likely to have
used ATOD only once.
4) DARE students were more likely to refuse offers of ATOD in role
playing, when imagining being pressured into use by friends.
5) Found no significant differences in self-concept or self-esteem
between DARE and non-DARE students.
6) Found no significant differences in knowledge and attitudes
about ATOD use between DARE and non-DARE students.
Long Beach California DARE evaluation 1989
Reference: Becker H. and Agopian M. J. Drug Education, 22, 283-291
DARE students: 5th graders who received DARE in Fall 1989 (n =
approximately 1500 students). Administered pre- and post-DARE
surveys, separated by approximately 18 weeks.
Control group: approximately same number of non-DARE students who
received pre- and post-DARE surveys.
1) Found no difference among DARE and non-DARE students on ATOD
use. Attributed these findings to the fact that levels of use of
these drugs among 5th graders was minimal to begin with. Did not
ask about intention to use drugs.
2) Found DARE students were more likely to report that they could
resist solicitations from friends to use ATOD.
Charleston, SC DARE evaluation, 1989-1990
Reference: Harmon M. Results from a DARE Study Conducted in
Charleston, South Carolina. Institute of Criminal Justice and
Criminology, University of Maryland, 1991.
DARE students: Administered pre- and post-DARE evaluations to 295
students who received DARE. The pre- and post-DARE evaluations were
approximately 20 weeks apart.
Control students: Pre- and post-DARE time frame evaluations
administered to 307 students who did not receive DARE.
1) DARE students were less likely to use alcohol in the last 30
2) DARE students were equally likely to use tobacco and other drugs
as compared to non-DARE students.
3) DARE students had more healthy attitudes about ATOD use.
4) DARE students were more assertive.
5) DARE students were less likely to model peer drug use.
North Carolina DARE evaluations
1989 report of DARE in North Carolina, preliminary report
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction conducted an
evaluation of DARE in Fall 1988.
Paper presented by Christopher Ringwalt at American Public Health
Association meeting, 1989.
Conducted a short term evaluation, with pre- and post-tests given
immediately before and immediately after the DARE curriculum
(separated by approximately 17 weeks).
Examined students in 12 schools with DARE and 13 schools without
DARE. The two groups were approximately equivalent on racial and
socioeconomic factors. Both DARE and non-DARE groups received the
pre- and post-tests at about the same time.
1) DARE students were significantly more likely to view drug use
and its consequences as undesirable.
2) DARE increased students' assertiveness (and thus, potentially,
their ability to say no to drugs).
3) DARE students were more likely to recognize deceptive and
misleading images and messages in alcohol and tobacco advertising.
4) DARE students more likely to report that their friends and peers
held unfavorable attitudes about ATOD.
5) However, there was no evidence that DARE increased student's
6) Also, there was no evidence that DARE actually reduced students'
use of alcohol, tobacco, other drugs (ATOD).
7) Also, there was no evidence that DARE reduced students'
intention to use ATOD at some point in the future.
1991 report of DARE in North Carolina, full report
Report of the full study of DARE in North Carolina.
Reference: An Outcome Evaluation of Project DARE (Drug Abuse
Resistance Education. Health Education Research, 6, 327-337 (1991).
Evaluated 10 schools with DARE, 10 schools without DARE.
Conducted pre- and post-testing for both groups with tests
separated by 17 weeks.
n = 635 DARE subjects
n = 635 non-DARE subjects
1) No evidence that DARE reduced adolescents' use of alcohol,
cigarettes, or inhalants.
2) No evidence that DARE reduced adolescents' future intention to
use these substances.
3) DARE did increase students' awareness of media portrayals of
4) DARE did increase adolescents' awareness of the consequences of
5) DARE did increase students' assertiveness.
Kentucky DARE evaluation 1989
Kentucky conducted a 5 year longitudinal DARE evaluation and
Funded by National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Research
conducted by the Center for Prevention Research at University of
This study monitored approximately 1500 students who received DARE
in the 5th grade in Lexington KY during the 1987-1998 school year,
compared to approximately 500 students in the same school system
who did not receive DARE during the 6th grade in 1987-1988.
These students were tracked and surveyed annually through the 10th
grade (1991-1992 school year) to determine whether DARE influenced
their ATOD use and attitudes.
Reference: DARE in Kentucky Schools 1988-1989. An Evaluation of the
Drug Abuse Resistance Education Program. Faine, J. and Bohlander E.
Sample: Approximately 1000 5th grade students receiving DARE in
1987-1988 and 437 5th grade students not receiving DARE.
Conducted pre-test for both groups 1 week before DARE and a post-
test 1 week after completion of DARE (approximately a 20 week
separation) for both DARE and non-DARE groups.
In addition, follow-up surveys were given to both groups 12-17
months after completion of DARE, near the end of the 6th grade.
These results are based on the follow-up survey, 12-17 months after
the initial pre-test.
1) DARE did not significantly increase resistance to general peer
pressure (on topic other than ATOD).
2) DARE students were actually had lower resistance to peer
pressure to alcohol/drug use than non-DARE students (the opposite
of expected direction).
3) There were no significant differences in DARE vs non-DARE
students on positive attitudes toward drugs.
4) DARE did not change students attitudes toward cigarette use.
5) DARE did not change students attitudes toward alcohol use.
6) DARE did not change student attitudes about marijuana use.
Colorado DARE evaluation 1990
Reference: An Evaluation of the 1989 DARE Program in Colorado.
Dukes, R. Center for Social Science Research, University of
DARE sample: n=1250 students 5th and 6th graders who received DARE.
Control group: no non-DARE control group.
DARE-exposed students received pre- and post- tests during 1989.
The pre- and post- tests were separated by approximately 18-19
weeks within a semester.
1) DARE students had significantly more negative attitudes toward
drugs on the post-test as compared to the pre-test.
2) DARE-exposed students' self-concept, personal skills, and
attitudes toward police also improved pre-test to post-test.
Illinois DARE evaluation 1991
Reference: Second Year Evaluation of DARE in Illinois. Rosenbaum,
D. et al. University of Illinois, 1991.
The DARE evaluation project began during the 1989-90 school year.
The evaluation is scheduled to continue as a longitudinal study
tracking DARE and non-DARE students for 7 years.
To date, the DARE and non-DARE students have received one pre-test
and two post-tests.
The pre-test was administered prior to the DARE program.
Post-test1 was administered immediately after completion of the
Post-test2 was administered 9 months after completion of the DARE
program and 12 months after the initial pre-test.
Tested DARE and non-DARE 5th and 6th graders at pre-test February
1990 and tested the same students at post-test2 as 6th and 7th
graders 12 months later in February 1991.
Sample size: Obtained completed pre- and post-test data on
approximately 1330 DARE-exposed students and a similar number of
Results as measured at post-test2 (9 months after completion of
1) DARE did not reduce adolescents' alcohol use.
2) DARE did reduce lifetime cigarette use, which was attributed to
preventing non-users from initiating smoking.
3) However, DARE did not reduce 30 day cigarette use (ie DARE did
not influence current smokers to quit).
4) DARE did change students' perception about media influences
concerning beer and cigarettes.
5) DARE did increase resistance to peer pressure.
6) The immediate effect of DARE on self esteem and assertiveness
(as measured immediately after the completion of the DARE program)
did not persist to the post-test2 period (9 months after the
completion of DARE).
School record results from the Illinois DARE evaluation:
The school records of a separate post-hoc selected sample (control
group) of matched students who did not receive DARE were compared
to the school records of students receiving DARE.
The school performance information was obtained by school record
abstraction and from a short survey of academic issues administered
to the students approximately 15-16 months after the DARE pre-test
Sample size: approximately 250 DARE and 250 non-DARE students.
7) DARE did not improve academic performance, as measured by the
students' self-reported GPA or by the actual GPA as abstracted from
8) DARE did not decrease the number of times tardy a student was
9) DARE did not decrease the number of times students reported
being "in trouble at school".
10) DARE did not decrease the number of times students reported
that they had cut classes.
11) DARE did not decrease the number of times a student had been
referred to the school social worker.
12) However, DARE did improve some social behaviors at school. DARE
students were less likely to have school disciplinary records than
Gallup Survey, July 1993
Telephone survey of a national sample of n=632 young people age 11-
18 who have completed DARE. Margin of error was +/- 5%.
Results: More than 90 percent of youth felt that DARE helped them
avoid alcohol and drugs, increase their self confidence and deal
effectively with peer pressure.
No control (non-DARE) subjects were surveyed. No pre-DARE surveys
Used by Erowid with permission of T. Walsh Estate