Perry, C.L., Komro, K.A., Veblen-Mortenson, S., Bosma, L.M. et al. (2003). A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Middle and Junior High School D.A.R.E. and D.A.R.E. Plus Programs. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 157(2), 178-184.
Location in the Matrix; Methodological Rigor; Outcome:
Individuals, General, Highly Proactive; Very Rigorous; No evidence of an effect
What police practice or strategy was examined?
This study tested the impact of Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) and D.A.R.E. Plus programs on drug use and violence. In addition to the standard D.A.R.E. curriculum, which includes ten sessions administered by police officers providing skills in resisting influences to use drugs and in handling violent situations, D.A.R.E. Plus included a peer-led parental involvement classroom program, youth-led extracurricular activities, community adult action teams, and postcard mailings to parents.
How was the intervention evaluated?
A randomized control trial included all seventh-grade students in 24 schools (primarily in Minneapolis-St Paul) in the academic year 1999-2000. The intervention was randomized at the school level with three conditions: D.A.R.E., D.A.R.E. Plus, and delayed program control. Students finishing seventh grade were asked to self-report tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, multidrug use, violence, and victimization before the intervention, providing a baseline. They were asked the same questions again a year later at the end of eighth grade. The study had 84% retention at final follow-up.
What were the key findings?
There were no significant differences between D.A.R.E. only and the controls. There were significant differences among boys between D.A.R.E. Plus and controls for tobacco alcohol, and multidrug use and victimization. Boys receiving D.A.R.E. Plus also showed significantly better outcomes than boys receiving D.A.R.E. only for tobacco use and violence. They found no significant behavioral differences among girls when comparing the three conditions.
What were the implications for law enforcement?
The D.A.R.E. program alone did not demonstrate any significant behavioral effect. The authors suggest that the results showing that D.A.R.E. Plus significantly enhanced the effectiveness of the D.A.R.E. curriculum among boys underscores the potential for multiyear, multicomponent prevention programs.
Where can I find more information about this intervention, similar types of intervention, or related studies?