It’s Time to Revamp the DARE Program Essay

It’s Time to Revamp the DARE Program Essay

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Last year one of my classmates died of a heroin overdose. What went wrong? We all participated in the popular program DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education). DARE told us to "Just say no to drugs" and focused mainly on ways to avoid peer pressure, but is it always peer pressure that causes kids to do drugs? In my friend's case the answer was "no." His drug abuse stemmed from a horrific family life and a past family history that was doused in drug addiction. I imagine it was slightly harder for my fallen friend to just say no when the person asking him to do the drugs wasn't some peer, rather it was, in a way, himself.

Although the DARE program argues that peer pressure is a major cause of teen drug use, my friend was not pressured by his peers to try heroin. Therefore, the DARE program pushes the message that students should resist peer pressure to try drugs, but according to Sarah Glazer, a staff writer for the CQ Researcher, this tactic "may have little impact in a society where drug experimentation is a normal but not necessarily fatal part of adolescence" (Glazer).

It is true that peer pressure is a major force that leads to teen drug use. The DARE program tries to teach kids to resist peer pressure through such catchy phrases as "Just Say No." Kids are taught how to walk away from certain awkward social situations by "Just saying no." Does this work? In theory yes, but one must consider a few things when analyzing this combative technique to peer pressure.

Young people have an extremely hard time with self control. Self control is a key element when considering the current tactics taught by DARE educators; most teens simply do not have the will to just walk away from a conflicting situation such as a peer offering...


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...he schools in the United States. It is so popular because its main focus is to keep kids off of drugs; a problem most Americans will agree on that should be addressed. The program should be continued and money should be available to support the program so long as a conscious effort is made at reconstructing the program to make it a more effective combatant to drug abuse and drug violence.

Works Cited:

Cohn, Jason. “The LAPD Guts DARE.” Rolling Stone, 7/4/2002 Issue 899/900, p57, 1p.

Glazer, Sarah. “Preventing Teen Drug Use.” CQ Researcher, 28 July, 1995

Masci, David. “Preventing Teen Drug Use.” CQ Researcher, 15 March, 2002, Volume 12, No. 10. Accessed October 1, 2003,

Thompson, Michael K. and Zagumny, Matthew J. “Does DARE Work? An evaluation in Rural Tennessee.” Journal of Alcohol & Drug Education; Winter97, Vol. 42 Issue 2, p32, 10p, 2 charts.

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