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The Effectiveness of Drug Abuse Resistance Education (Project DARE): 5-Year Follow-Up Results

NCJ Number
Preventive Medicine Volume: 25 Issue: 3 Dated: 1996 Pages: 307-18
Richard R. Clayton; Anne M. Cattarello; Bryan M. Johnstone
Date Published
12 pages

This paper examines and discusses the effects of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program on students’ general and specific attitudes toward drugs, their resistance to peer pressure, and estimated level of drug use by peers.


This article reports the results of a five-year, longitudinal evaluation of the effectiveness of Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE), a school-based primary drug prevention curriculum designed for introduction during the last year of elementary education. DARE is the most widely disseminated school-based prevention curriculum in the United States. No significant differences were observed between intervention and comparison schools with respect to cigarette, alcohol, or marijuana use during the seventh grade, approximately one year after completion of the program, or over the full five-year measurement interval. Significant intervention effects in the hypothesized direction were observed during the seventh grade for measures of students' general and specific attitudes toward drugs, the capability to resist peer pressure, and estimated level of drug use by peers. Over the full measurement interval, however, average trajectories of change for these outcomes were similar in the intervention and comparison conditions. The authors conclude that findings of this five-year prospective study are largely consonant with the results obtained from prior short-term evaluations of the DARE curriculum, which have reported limited effects of the program upon drug use, greater efficacy with respect to attitudes, social skills, and knowledge, but a general tendency for curriculum effects to decay over time. They suggest that the results of this study underscore the need for more robust prevention programming targeted specifically at-risk factors, the inclusion of booster sessions to sustain positive effects, and greater attention to interrelationships between developmental processes in adolescent substance use, individual level characteristics, and social context. Publisher Abstract Provided