How effective is drug abuse resistance education? A meta-analysis of Project DARE outcome evaluations

Am J Public Health. 1994 Sep;84(9):1394-401. doi: 10.2105/ajph.84.9.1394.


Objectives: Project DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) is the most widely used school-based drug use prevention program in the United States, but the findings of rigorous evaluations of its effectiveness have not been considered collectively.

Methods: We used meta-analytic techniques to review eight methodologically rigorous DARE evaluations. Weighted effect size means for several short-term outcomes also were compared with means reported for other drug use prevention programs.

Results: The DARE effect size for drug use behavior ranged from .00 to .11 across the eight studies; the weighted mean for drug use across studies was .06. For all outcomes considered, the DARE effect size means were substantially smaller than those of programs emphasizing social and general competencies and using interactive teaching strategies.

Conclusions: DARE's short-term effectiveness for reducing or preventing drug use behavior is small and is less than for interactive prevention programs.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Curriculum
  • Health Education / methods*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Program Evaluation
  • Self Concept
  • Substance-Related Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • United States