Despite studies challenging its effectiveness, the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) seems to be alive and well in Kentucky, says the Lexington Herald-Leader. DARE was taught in taught in more than 100 Kentucky counties in the 1980s, but the number of schools in the program later dwindled as researchers questioned whether the drug prevention program really worked. Now some Kentucky schools are reinstating DARE as the program’s leaders alter teaching styles and add lessons suitable for growing concerns about bullying, gangs, and prescription drugs.
Today the program is in schools in 46 counties, taught mostly to fifth-graders and seventh- or eighth-graders. In the past four years, six districts have added the program. A University of Kentucky study that followed Lexington students from fifth grade to 10th grade concluded in 1996 that students in the program were not decidedly different from those who did not receive it. Some schools were more apt to drop DARE if studies suggested it wasn’t working, especially if money was an issue. There were many factors not measured by the study, said Richard Clayton, who conducted it, such as the role DARE officers play in educating teachers about drug prevention for students. Those teachers sit in the classrooms with the students and DARE officers.