Seattle is the latest city to pull the plug on the popular but apparently ineffective Drug Abuse Resistance Education program. (See "Drug Prevention Placebo," March 1995.) Spokane, Washington, and Oakland, California, also recently cancelled the program--as did towns in Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, and Texas. Explained a Seattle police spokeswoman, "the long-term effects on reducing drug and alcohol abuse [are] unknown and [haven't] been substantiated."
If anything, a scholarly consensus is forming that D.A.R.E. is all flash and no substance. A five-year study by researchers at the University of Kentucky found no significant difference between participants and non-participants when it came to drug use and attitudes. The Research Triangle Institute in North Carolina agrees that the program has no measurable effect on youthful drug abuse.
The news for D.A.R.E. supporters isn't all bad: This year, New York City and Washington, D.C., along with over 250 smaller cities across the country, signed on to the program. According to parent organization D.A.R.E. America, about 10,000 cities in 49 countries participate in the program.