About The Massachusetts
D.A.R.E Program

The Massachusetts Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program has a rich history, marked by its rise, fall, and inspiring resurgence.

A History of the
D.A.R.E. Program

In the 1990s, D.A.R.E. emerged as a popular initiative, gaining widespread recognition for its proactive approach to drug education for young people. Unfortunately, in the early 2000s, the program faced a significant setback due to a lack of funding and negative research findings. This financial strain led to a regrettable decline in the program’s reach and influence, leaving a gap in our community efforts to keep children drug-free.

However, the spirit of D.A.R.E. wasn’t easily extinguished. Following incidents of mass school violence and the opioid pandemic, the program slowly began to resurface in some communities through the efforts of dedicated school resource officers. Initially, these revived programs focused primarily on law enforcement.

Yet, the winds of change were blowing. In 2019, police reform legislation encouraged a shift in focus for school police officers — from law enforcement to community policing. This shift sparked renewed interest in the D.A.R.E. program, setting the stage for its comeback.

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The keepin’ it REAL Program

Boosting the Impact of Massachusetts D.A.R.E.

The Massachusetts D.A.R.E. Program's Revival

Today, the Massachusetts D.A.R.E. program is experiencing a revival and the program continues to thrive, thanks to generous contributions from corporate and private donors who believe in our mission to keep kids drug-free.

The current state of the program is a testament to the power of community and the enduring belief in the importance of drug education. With approximately 85 certified D.A.R.E. officers representing about 50 communities, the program is growing steadily in Massachusetts.

Research-Based keepin’ it REAL Program

At the core of the Massachusetts D.A.R.E. program’s success is the research-backed keepin’ it REAL (kiR) program. Developed collaboratively by Pennsylvania State and Arizona State Universities with the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and reinforced by Rutgers University and the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, this innovative program has consistently shown its effectiveness. Studies on the kiR elementary and middle school programs have proven significant reductions in negative outcomes, including drug use, bullying, and other problematic behaviors among participating students.

Community Relations in Massachusetts

The D.A.R.E. program promotes unique collaboration among key community stakeholders, including police, schools, parents, and businesses. This partnership initiates vital conversations about drug abuse, its consequences, and prevention, fostering knowledge and unity within our communities.

In Massachusetts D.A.R.E., we understand that drug education is just a part of our comprehensive substance abuse prevention approach. Equally vital is nurturing positive police-community relations, erasing mistrust, and forging strong community bonds—essential tools in our collective fight against drug abuse. Beyond the classroom, the D.A.R.E. program’s impact extends through sustained community involvement, leaving lasting impressions that steer children towards a drug-free future.