Press Release April 6, 2003
Media Contact

Tony Newman at 510-812-3126 or Shayna Samuels at 212-613-8037

In 1983, the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles School District launched the current drug-education program of choice in the United States, Drug Abuse Resistance Education, or “D.A.R.E.” Since then, numerous research studies have shown the program ineffective at deterring young people from experimenting with drugs.

In January of 2003 the U.S. General Accounting Office found “no significant differences in illicit drug use between students who received D.A.R.E. and students who did not.” In 2001 the U.S. Surgeon General placed D.A.R.E. under the category of “ineffective programs.” And mayors in numerous cities across the country, including Salt Lake City, UT, Minneapolis, MN and Oakland, CA have removed D.A.R.E. from the public school curriculum. D.A.R.E. America, the non-profit group that creates and sells the curricula, estimates the annual costs of police officer services alone to be about $215 million.

Critics say that D.A.R.E. is not only ineffective and a waste of taxpayer money, but that it can actually put young people in harm’s way by disallowing honest drug education for those who choose to experiment. According to the most recent Monitoring the Future survey, 53.9% of high school seniors experiment with illegal drugs at some point in their lifetime. Rather than an abstinence-only approach to drug education, critics charge that young people would be better served by credible information about drugs, the differentiation between use and abuse, and the importance of moderation and context.

WHAT: Press Teleconference marking D.A.R.E.’s 20th Birthday

WHEN: Tuesday, April 8 — 1:00 PM EST (10:00 AM PST)

HOW: Call 800-351-6806 Passcode: “DARE”

WHO: Professor Rod Skager, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Psychological Studies in Education, UCLA; Jane Marcus, Mother of two teenagers, member of Palo Alto, CA PTA; Shawn Heller, DARE graduate, National Director, Students for Sensible Drug Policy; Dr. Marsha Rosenbaum, PhD, Drug Policy Alliance, author of Safety First: A Reality-Based Approach to Teens, Drugs and Drug Education

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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