The modern world is filled with vast information relating to the dangers and consequences of drug abuse in the society. Despite the vast knowledge present and the numerous laws that have been legislated for the sole purpose of curbing down drug manufacture and abuse of drugs, many people than before are indulging themselves in the use of the illegal as well legal drug abuse. Drug abuse is not known to be a respecter of persons as anyone despite of his or her status in the society, gender, race or even background can become a drug addict. Prior to one becoming a drug addict there are at least three main simultaneous changes that take place to the individual. The first change that takes place to an individual is that the individual is attracted to a particular drug in both the psychological and social perspective. In the second stage the individual alters his or her body chemistry by use of the drug and in the last stage the individual develops a desire to satisfy an inborn need created by the drug (Hanson, et al, 2005, p. 4). However over the past two decades, there has been an emergence of prevention science that is regarded as a biopsychosocial discipline which is based on developing and applying research findings to public health problems such as drug abuse and smoking.
Drug treatment and prevention programs
According to Hess and Orthmann, “the three core components of the national control strategy are 1) Stopping drug use before it starts- prevention, 2) Healing America’s drug users- treatment, and 3) Disrupting the market- law enforcement efforts.” Supply and demand have been noted as the main forces behind the illegal drug trade and the best way is to counter attack them by use of initiatives of prevention, treatment and disruption of illegal drug markets (Hess and Orthmann, 2009, p. 344). Prevention has constantly been one of the focus points of the National Drug Control Strategy. One of the crucial and critical strategies of combating drug abuse is by use of education measures. Among the popular and evaluated program that has come to be widely known is DARE, which stands for Drug, Awareness, Resistance, and Education.
The Drug, Awareness, Resistance Education (DARE) Program
The history of DARE dates back in 1983 when it was established in Los Angeles and later on developed to a national wide program. Currently the program has been incorporated in over 10, 000 communities. Within the operations of this program, police officers are incorporated into the school classrooms for the sole purpose of interacting with the pupils as well as educating them on the consequences of drug abuse. The program has faced criticisms that have forced it to revise its operations to a decision based model that is high-tech. DARE officers have been trained and equipped with skills to be more of a coach rather than a lecturer to the kids they are dealing with.
Interviewing a DARE officer
DARE officers are one of the crucial members of the DARE program as first and foremost they have the first hand experience of interacting with the kids in schools and secondly they are mandated with the responsibility of supporting kids who are incorporated in the research-based refusal strategies in the environs of high peer-pressure. In a bid to understand more on the primary function of the DARE program, the clients Served by DARE, Specific aspects of the DARE program and lastly the effectiveness outcome of the DARE program, an interview was conducted with one of the field officers of the DARE program. In the interview it was noted that:
Primary function of the DARE program
The motto that is used by the DARE program is “DARE to keep children off drugs.” The motto hence indicates that the primary function of the DARE program is to educate both the school attending children as well as the children who are not involved with drugs on ways of refusing to indulge in drug as well as alcohol abuse. The main issue is not the intervention that is required for drug addicts and abuser but rather is the preventive intervention required to prevent the drug abuse itself (Orange, 2002, p. 52).
Clients Served by DARE
The DARE program was structured purposefully for school-age children and in particular the grades K-12 children. However the program is taught in the fifth grade. It is these school-age children that are the focus of the trained officers as they try to help them on ways of resisting drugs and educating them to never indulge in the use of the same drugs.
Specific aspects of the DARE program
The original purpose of the DARE program is to educate children on how to resist peer pressure; however its curriculum has expanded to incorporate kidnapping awareness and dispute resolution strategies. A parental program has also been incorporated to assist in the struggle of keeping the children off drugs (Leonard, 1999, p. 33). As part and parcel of the culmination program that is incorporated in the DARE program, the participants are involved in signatory pledges of ensuring their bodies are tobacco, alcohol and drugs free.
Effectiveness outcome of the DARE program
Positive and effective outcomes have been indicated in evaluations that were conducted in different rural as well as suburban schools after the completion of the DARE curriculum in the 17th week. The evaluation also indicated improvement in coping skills as well as self-concept (Stoil and Hill, 1996, p. 61).
Theoretical explanation that suits DARE program to school-aged children
Children are often described as the future generation of tomorrow. With this in mind, the focus will be is directed to them as according to the reflection of the numerous statistics adolescents and teenagers are more involved in drug abuse than any other group in the society. As the young children develop into teenagers with the education background regarding drugs which is instilled in them through DARE, they are bound to make positive judgment in their lives as adolescents in relation to issues involving drugs. Drug abuse is attributed to a combination of both personal and social factors according to the model of “Bandura’s social learning theory” thus DARE as one of the prevention program focuses on social influencing factors of adolescents that have a huge effect as compared to any other prevention efforts (Goldberg, 2010, p. 323).
Although the DARE program has faced many hurdles and barriers in relation to its implementation both in terms of time allocation and funding, the program has continued to develop steadily in America with revised curriculum that is bound to escalate the preventive measures among the children to a whole new level. The program has even gone beyond boarders with some countries at the initial stage of implementing the program.
Goldberg, R. (2010). Drugs Across the Spectrum. CA: Wadsworth.
Hanson, R. G., et al. (2005). Drugs and society. MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.
Hess, M. K. and Orthmann H. C. (2009). Introduction to Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice. CA: Wadsworth.
Leonard, B. (1999). Achieving the goals: all children in America will start school ready to learn. PA: Diane Publishing.
Orange, C. (2002). The quick reference guide to educational innovations: practices, programs, policies, and philosophies. CA: Sage Publications Company.
Stoil, J. M. and Hill, G. (1996). Preventing substance abuse: interventions that work. NY: Plenum Press.