The DARE program is an extremely effective and beneficial program. In schools it not only informs but also gives students a much needed boost in their self-esteem. Students who take part in the program learn about how to say no to using drugs even under peer pressure. Role models are also built into the program, with schools assigned a DARE officer that comes in and talks to the student about how to say no to drugs. The DARE officers also give presentations to the students. At the end of the program, the officers will often host a celebratory event in which the students get to see that their hard work has been rewarded. Students also have peer support because in many schools the DARE program is a part of the curriculum. Informal discussions about the topics that are brought up in the program allow students to see that they are not alone.
The DARE program also has positive long range effects on behavior. As a student myself, I took part in the DARE program that was offered at my school. It helped me see the importance of saying no, and the self-esteem boost that I was given by taking part in this program has translated to other areas in my life. We often forget that once we get out of school peer pressure doesn’t end with a diploma. In the work arena we are constantly under the pressure to conform or do something that we may find to be ethically or morally wrong. By learning the valuable skills that I learned by taking part in the DARE program, I learned that no matter what, if I didn’t feel comfortable in a situation, I had the right to say no. This valuable program is essential now more then ever. Our students are bombarded on all sides with more peer pressure then we realize and programs like the DARE program helps them to combat these pressures by teaching them the ways to handle each and every situation that they will be faced with as they grow and face the world outside of the classroom.