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					                 D.A.R.E. to Change: needed improvements in drug education

Thesis: Program developers of school-based drug prevention programs, especially D.A.R.E.,
need to improve prevention strategies with more age-appropriate curriculum as well as
implement drug education during adolescence when it’s most needed.

   I.     Introduction
          A. America’s history on drug use
              1. Recent rise in teen drug use
          B. Need for studies of programs’ effectiveness

   II.    Why D.A.R.E is ineffective
          A. Unusual positive outlook on teen drug use
          B. Unrealistic teachings
             1. Uses “scare tactics”
             2. Emphasizes abstinence even for legal drugs
             3. Damages credibility with participants
          C. Lacks age-appropriate curriculum and follow-ups
             1. Alcohol education for kindergarteners
             2. Fails to provide follow-ups after 5th or 6th grade when drug activity is most
                 likely to occur
          D. Little or no difference between non-drug education participants

   III.   Effective prevention strategies, new approaches, and new studies
          A. Social Learning Theory
              1. Understanding drug use can be associated with social influences
              2. Emphasizes teaching prosocial skills
          B. Whole-of-school elements
              1. Program should involve parents, peers, and community
              2. Expands drug education outside the classroom
              3. Improves family ties
              4. Brings awareness to community
          C. Together, both can lead to long-term impacts
          D. New approach
              1. Harm reduction education
          E. New studies
              1. Recognizing substance abuse as a mental disease
              2. Determining what makes drugs appealing to adolescents
              3. Childhood factors affecting cognitive development and make youths more
                  susceptible to drug use
              4. Understanding curiosity and experimentation is part of adolescent brain

   IV.    When drug education is most appropriate
          A. During adolescence when drug exposure is most likely to occur
             1. Highly responsive neurons during puberty causes intense stimulation
     B. Risky behavior in adolescence
        1. Corpus Callosum not fully developed yet
        2. Fairly new to hypothetical thinking
        3. Both result in difficulty making logical decisions
     C. Increases credibility and long-term impacts
        1. Participant is able to use learned skills in current social life
        2. First-hand experience helps with learning and allows student to trust new
        3. Instructors will still have access to students if exposed to drugs

V.   Conclusion
     A. Importance of improving drug education
        1. Cost/benefit of drug education
        2. Reduction in drug use, reduction in teen delinquency
        3. Betters society as a whole

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