Effectiveness of the Drug Abuse Resistant Education (D.A.R.E.) Program: Its Implication on Drug Abuse Prevention and Education
The Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) Program was originally developed in 1983 as a cooperative program in which law enforcement (Los Angeles Police Department, U.S.A.) and the school district (Los Angeles Unified School District, U.S.A.) joined together to educate students on the personal and social consequences of drugs and alcohol. The D.A.R.E. program has lessons, follow-up activities and strategies that focused on anger management and violence prevention. The concepts and skills covered from kindergarten to senior high school level. The prototype program provided junior high school students with the skills to live drug-free lives with the strong involvement of their families and communities.
The program utilized the police uniformed personnel as instructors during a series of classroom lessons that teach children/youth on how to resist the pressures to experiment with drugs and other harmful substances. The program is offered in all 50 states of the U.S. and in 45 other countries in which the Philippines is the first Asian country who adopted the program.
The Philippine Drug Abuse Resistance Education (PhilD.A.R.E.) was started in 1993 under the initiative by then Vice President Joseph E. Estrada with the approval and support of former President Fidel V. Ramos. On August 24, 1993, a joint Memorandum of Agreement was signed by PHILD.A.R.E., DECS (now DepEd) and PNP-DILG for the implementation of the D.A.R.E. program in the country.
On September 16, 2010, the local government of General Santos City submitted a proposal on the conduct of a Trainor’s Training for D.A.R.E. Police Officers requesting financial assistance from the Dangerous Drugs Board. For some time then, the PhilD.A.R.E. became inactive and the Board under the Chairmanship of Secretary Vicente “Tito” Sotto, approved the proposal of LGU of Gen. Santos City and since then became one of the Board’s program for drug abuse prevention and education for the youth. However, this program targeted only the 5th and 6th graders.
Since its adoption and implementation in 2010, the program’s effectiveness as a drug abuse prevention measure for the youth needs to be assessed/evaluated.
This study aimed to determine what are the participants (D.A.R.E. graduates/instructors, Student beneficiaries, Principals/Coordinators & Mentors) learnings from the program, what they feel or what they do differently after participation in the D.A.R.E. program. It will try to assess the effectiveness under these categories: learning, action and if they recommend to continue the program as one of the drug abuse prevention measures for the youth. Likewise, this study will try to elicit suggestions/recommendations on how to improve the implementation of the program in the school.
- To assess the effectiveness of the D.A.R.E. Program implemented in selected primary schools in the country as a prevention measure;
- To determine if the intended results or the targeted outcomes of this program for the 5th and 6th grade students was achieved by the instructors who were trained law enforcers or police enforcers.
- To determine the problems encountered in the implementation of the program.
A descriptive analysis of the data was done.
The following four (4) target groups were taken to serve as respondents of this study:
- Trained D.A.R.E. Officers (Police Officers);
- Students in grades 5 and 6 who were beneficiaries of the D.A.R.E. program;
- Principals/coordinators who implemented the D.A.R.E. Program in their school; and
- D.A.R.E. Mentors
Purposive sampling technique was used in selecting the respondents.
Coverage of the Study
The study focused on the areas where the D.A.R.E. program were mostly implemented, namely, General Santos City, Bohol, Pangasinan, Laguna, Batangas, Butuan, and Calabarzon. A total of 119 D.A.R.E. Officer graduates were interviewed from the seven (7) areas selected; three hundred fifty-three (353) student beneficiaries of the program; twenty-three (23) principals/coordinators who implemented the said program in their schools and seven (7) D.A.R.E. mentors formed part of the sample size and respondents.
Four (4) instruments were developed to help us gather relevant and needed data/information from the D.A.R.E. graduates/instructor, student beneficiaries, school principals/coordinators who implemented the said program and D.A.R.E. mentors.
Mode of Data Gathering
Quantitative and qualitative means of collecting assessment data was used in gathering information.
The data gathering was undertaken from the period November 2016 – January 2017. Coordination was done through phone call to focal person/coordinator in each area prior to sending of letters to the PNP Regional Directors.
Frequencies, percentages and use of central tendencies were used in the interpretation of the results. For encoding and processing of data, MS Excel and the Statistical Packages for Social Sciences (SPSS) were used in this study.
- The findings of this study points to the direction of the effect of D.A.R.E. program to the student beneficiaries taken from the selected schools where the program was implemented, was generally positive. As revealed by students from the findings above “We have learned so much from the teachings of our D.A.R.E. Officers and have widened our knowledge about drug abuse prevention” (95 or 27%). Apart from the knowledge on drug abuse prevention, they have also adopted personal behavior change such as “I became respectful with my parents and other people, and have adopted good manners” (77 or 22%); I don’t get into quarrels anymore with my schoolmate/siblings/friends; “Hindi na ako makulit, maingay at di na nangbu-bully” (65 or 18%); and “I avoid/stay away from people/friends who have vices, bad influence or are using illegal drugs (52 or 15%).
On the other hand, the learnings gained by the D.A.R.E. graduates/instructors after attending the D.A.R.E. training program was “All about teaching strategy on how the students / community can resist the lure of illegal drugs and understand its harmful effects (42 or 35%). Further, on the account of personal behavior change that they have adopted after participating in the D.A.R.E. training program were: 1) “Became assertive, gained self-confidence and became active” (38 or 32%); 2) “Being able to stand in front of people, overcome stage fright and give lectures / public speaking” (18 or 15%); and 3) “Acceptance or commitment to teach the D.A.R.E. program and patience because of the many lessons that you will study and needs thorough understanding” (13 or 6%).
- The findings also indicate that the D.A.R.E. program met the intended results or the targeted outcomes for the 5th and 6th grade students as achieved by the D.A.R.E. graduates/instructors who were trained police enforcers. This is evident by the affirmative response from the student beneficiaries: 1) “Appreciated and happy for the knowledge they have gained from the D.A.R.E. teacher/officer; satisfied and enjoyed with the lessons” (83 or 70%); followed by 2) “Positive response because some students have changed their behavior little by little” (16 or 13%); and lastly 3) “They all welcomed and liked the idea to have a police officer teaching in the school” (4 or 3.4%).
Based from the general evaluation of students of the D.A.R.E Program, five (5) out of six (6) statements were given an “Excellent” rating by the student beneficiaries. The only statement about the D.A.R.E. program that got a “Very satisfactory” rating from the students was “Were each topic given enough time for discussion?” (159 or 45%).
- On the actions taken by the D.A.R.E. Officers after attending the training program, it would appear that a positive effect is evident since most of them revealed that they have “Coordinated with concern agencies like DepEd, LGU & Governor’s Office regarding the implementation of D.A.R.E. program (e.g. solicitation for the workbook, token for the students, etc.)” (35 or 28%); followed by “Conducted drug awareness symposium in different schools / out-of-school youths in the community” (31 or 25%); and lastly “Applied all the learnings gained from the training during D.A.R.E. class” (17 or 14%).
- Given the limited time and no budget provision involved with D.A.R.E. program, the trained D.A.R.E. Officers still managed to teach the training module despite of the challenges confronted, no or less support from their superiors and from the local government unit due to lack of understanding of the D.A.R.E. program. The study revealed that out of 119 interviewed D.A.R.E. Officers, a greater part of them were able to apply/practice the teachings of D.A.R.E. program to Grades V and VI students (100 or 84%); only 19 or 16% of the respondents were not able to apply and teach the module primarily due to lack of resources to implement it; time constraints because of multi-tasking work/schedules in their station/office; and lack of support from the head office/officials.
This study asked students, teachers, principals/coordinators and some parents whether they like the program. Although irrelevant to effectiveness, most people report satisfaction with D.A.R.E. program with the following revelations of respondents on the succeeding paragraphs.
Almost all of the D.A.R.E. Officers said “Yes” (117 or 98%) they recommend to continue the program. This is because they believed that teaching D.A.R.E. in every school /community can help in preventing drug addiction (72 or 53%).
On the part of the students, majority of them recommended the continuation of the conduct of Training of Trainer’s for the D.A.R.E. program (353 or 100%). They believed that “D.A.R.E. program is needed to equip all students/youth who are easy prey to drug use and to be aware of its ill effects, how to avoid it and how to say no in different ways” (140 or 40%).
On the part of the D.A.R.E. mentors, they all answered “Yes” they would recommend to the Board the continuation of the conduct of Training of Trainer’s for D.A.R.E. program. For them it is very effective in raising drug awareness and prevention in the school in their locality.
In the light of the above findings, the following are recommended:
- With the positive feedback, there is simply no reason not to continue the D.A.R.E. program despite the problems encountered by D.A.R.E. Officers in implementing the said program. It is important to remember that the D.A.R.E. program entails expenses such as workbooks, manuals, teaching materials, transportations and other incidental expenses borne by the D.A.R.E. Officers. To address this issue of the D.A.R.E. Officers, there is a need to establish/create a policy and guidelines for the smooth implementation of this program. To indicate in the policy, the provision of budget or where to charge/get funds as basis to get support for these trained D.A.R.E. Officers in the application of their learnings in the drug abuse prevention and control among youth/students.
- There should be a Memorandum of Agreement between and among DDB, LGU, DepEd and PNP regarding the continuous and effective implementation of D.A.R.E. Program in the different schools and community.
- From the limitations that have been found out in this study with the implementation of the D.A.R.E. program, it would appear also that continued efforts should focus on innovations of the program to adapt in the Philippine setting, other techniques that might produce more substantial effects in the prevention of drug use on students in the schools and in the community. This is an important consideration for those involved in program planning and development.
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