Individuals – Rosenbaum & Hanson (1998)

Study Reference:

Rosenbaum, D. P., & Hanson, G. S. (1998). Assessing the Effects of School-based Drug Education: A Six-Year Multi-Level Analysis of Project D.A.R.E. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 35 (4):381-412.

Location in the Matrix; Methodological Rigor; Outcome:

Individuals; General; Highly proactive; Rigorous; No evidence of an effect

What police practice or strategy was examined?

A randomized longitudinal field experiment was conducted to estimate the short- and long-term effects of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program (D.A.R.E.) on students’ attitudes, beliefs, social skills, and drug use behaviors. The core curriculum of DARE consists of 17 lessons, one given each week. These lessons are taught by police officers in school classrooms. Lessons last about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

How was the intervention evaluated?

Students from urban, suburban, and rural schools (N = 1,798) were followed for more than six years, with surveys administered each year from 6th through 12th grades. The researcher identified 18 pairs of elementary schools which were matched by type, ethnic composition, number of students with limited English proficiency, and the percentage of students from low-income families. One school in each pair was randomly assigned to receive D.A.R.E. Teachers were also surveyed annually to measure students’ cumulative exposure to supplemental (post-D.A.R.E.) drug education. Multilevel analyses were conducted on one pretest and seven waves of post-treatment data.

 What were the key findings?

The results indicate that D.A.R.E. had no long-term effects on a wide range of drug use measures including smokeless tobacco, marijuana, inhalants, hallucinogens, cocaine, and “other drugs”, nor did it show a lasting impact on hypothesized mediating variables, with one exception. Some D.A.R.E.-by-community interactions were observed: Urban and rural students showed some benefits, whereas suburban students experienced small but significant increases in drug use after participation in D.A.R.E.

What were the implications for law enforcement?

The findings suggest that D.A.R.E. programs are not an effective use of resources.

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