Surgeon general commends efficiency of D.A.R.E. program

The United States surgeon general’s landmark report on alcohol, drugs and health entitled “Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health,” concludes that alcohol and drug misuse, disorders and addiction are among America’s most pressing public health concerns. As noted in the report, nearly 21 million Americans – more than the number of people who have all cancers combined – suffer from substance use disorders.

The exhaustive report’s chapter dedicated to prevention programs concludes that evidence-based prevention interventions, carried out before the need for treatment, are critical because they can delay early use and stop the progression from use to addiction resulting in costly individual, social and public health consequences. As the study states, “The good news is that there is strong scientific evidence supporting the effectiveness of prevention programs and policies.”

The report concludes that interventions for adolescents ages 10 to 18 have been shown to affect either the initiation or escalation of substance use. D.A.R.E.’s “keepin’ it REAL” curriculum is among a number of select programs the surgeon general identifies as building social, emotional, cognitive and substance refusal skills that provide children with accurate information on rates and amounts of peer substance use.

D.A.R.E. America formed an alliance in 2008 with Pennsylvania State University for adoption of the curriculum as the D.A.R.E. middle school program. The program was developed by PSU with support from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, utilizing rigorous longitudinal scientific evaluations to create this evidence-based program. D.A.R.E. adopted the “keepin’ it REAL” middle-school curriculum that same year and its elementary school curriculum in 2013. D.A.R.E.’s “keepin’ it REAL” Elementary and Middle School Curricula adhere to relevant National Institute of Health’s Lessons from Prevention Research principles.

In 2014, Scientific American magazine commended D.A.R.E.’s Keepin’ it REAL curricula in its article, The New D.A.R.E. Program — This One Works. The “keepin’ it REAL” substance-abuse curriculum focuses on elementary and middle-school students’ decisions, not drugs (


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