Individuals – Becker et al. (1992)

Study Reference:

Becker, H. K., Agopian, M. W., & Yeh, S. (1992). Impact evaluation of Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE). Journal of Drug Education, 22 (4), 283-291.

Location in the Matrix; Methodological Rigor; Outcome:

Individuals; General; Highly proactive; Moderately rigorous; No evidence of an effect

What police practice or strategy was examined?

The study examined the impact of Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) on fifth-grade student drug use in Long Beach, California. Students received 17 lessons of approximately 50 minutes each taught by police officers in the fall of 1989, during which students received instruction about drugs and their effects; ways to deal with attitudes, feelings, and values; and ways to deal directly with behavior using alternative activities and role models.

How was the intervention evaluated?

The study evaluated the impact of DARE on drug-related behavior of fifth-grade students using a quasi-experimental design with pretest and posttest measures for an experimental group (N=1,884) who received the DARE curriculum and a control groups (N=994) who did not. Students were asked to self-report their drug use before and after the intervention.

What were the key findings?

DARE was most effective in slowing or maintaining current levels of substance use. Substance usage increased for students in the control group but underwent little change for those in the experimental group. Additionally, DARE students did not experiment with new illicit substances, as compared with the control group students. DARE did not demonstrate its claim to prevent or reduce a broad variety of substance use by students, especially the use of alcohol, which is nevertheless minimal at the fifth grade level.

What were the implications for law enforcement?

The authors suggest that the DARE program increased experimental students’ knowledge about drug and their views that they could resist solicitations from friends to use drugs, but it did not reduce the amount of drug use among students.

Where can I find more information about this intervention, similar types of intervention, or related studies?