Drug Abuse Resistance Education, better known as DARE, is an international education program that seeks to prevent use of controlled drugs, membership in gangs, and violent behavior. D.A.R.E., which has expanded globally since its founding in 1983, is a demand-side drug control strategy of the U.S. War on Drugs. Founded by Daryl F. Gates, Students who enter the program sign a pledge not to use drugs or join gangs and are taught by local law enforcement about the dangers of drug use in an interactive in-school curriculum which lasts ten weeks. D.A.R.E. America has its headquarters in Inglewood, California.
In 1998 the DARE program failed to meet federal guidelines that they be both research-based and effective. To date they have not met those guidelines, thereby disqualifying the organization from receiving further federal grant money.
Starting in 5th grade, elementary students are given lessons to act in their own best interest when facing high-risk, low-gain choices and to resist peer pressure and other influences in making their personal choices regarding: Tobacco Smoking, Tobacco advertising, Drug Abuse, Inhalants, alcohol consumption and health, and Peer Pressure in a Social Network.
In 6th, 7th and 8th grades, the new keepin’it REAL middle school lessons are enhanced with activities on Teen OTC(over-the-counter)/Prescription Drug Abuse, Methamphetamine, Bullying, Gangs, Internet Safety, and more. Beginning in the fall of 2009, D.A.R.E. officers across the nation began to teach The keepin’ it REAL program which was developed in partnership with Penn State University. “The Keepin’ It REAL” curriculum has been identified as an Evidence-Based Program on the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
In senior high school, D.A.R.E. is a reinforcement and “Equal emphasis is placed on helping students to recognize and cope with feelings of anger without causing harm to themselves or others and without resorting to violence or the use of alcohol and drugs.”