Throughout history, America has been fighting against drug and alcohol abuse in teens and adults. Many ways companies and anti drug groups try to prevent drug and alcohol abuse is through education in school systems and out of school systems. They teach young students about drugs and alcohol before they risk being around them, and they teach older students about drugs while they are around in their daily lives. Are these education programs really necessary? That’s the question many people ask, and also the question I’m going to attempt to answer.
The government is usually the group that attempts to educate people about the causes and effects of drugs and alcohol through programs such as D.A.R.E (drug abuse resistance education) or S.M.A.R.T. (Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Time-Specified objectives). D.A.R.E. tries to educate kids about drugs and alcohol while S.M.A.R.T. conducts studies to see how effective these programs really are. There have been several studies done that failed to find any value in the DARE program. About 26 million American school children are taught to resist the lure of drugs and alcohol by the DARE program, a studied showed that most of the students who took the 17 week DARE program ended up using drugs and alcohol at the same rate as children who learned about them in a normal health class. Many people think that DARE is the magic bullet to solve the drug and alcohol problems in the nation. Another study conducted in Illinois on about 1800 students, showed that DARE students used the same amount of drugs who did not take the program, and another study concluded that DARE students were more likely to use drugs than students without the education.
Many tax payers demand to see what impact their money is having on substance abuse. The SMART program conducts many tests to show how effective or ineffective the use of drug and alcohol prevention or education programs really are. SMART has come to a conclusion that there is a ?Null Hypothesis?, which means that X education programs has no significant effect in bringing substance abusers into long term abstinence. In 1995 SMART studied nearly 1000 people, from these they were able to find 99 who were discharged with the notation of ?treatment complete.? Of these 99 they selected 50 people at random and were able to find only 18 of those 50 people, and of those 18 people, only 11 people said they had remained clean and sober since leaving the treatment and being educated about drugs. These studies are proof that the null hypothesis is true and most education programs do not have any effect on the people who are being educated about drugs and alcohol.
Although the government is trying to help with the problem, they aren’t doing a very good job. It is a common observation that there is a hug lag time in the government’s response to a social problem such as drugs and alcohol. A problem will affect a society for quite some time and cause damage before the government will support any funds or a means to stop the problem. After they fund education programs to teach children about drugs and alcohol, they keep funding unnecessarily increasing taxes, which send money nowhere. The government needs to spend more money on realizing what they are doing wrong in educating students who only go off to use drugs anyways .There is a general theme of a Cultural Revolution of Drug Treatment programs seen in America. The revolution beings with the heroic phase where the problem begins and spreads rapidly and the use of drugs and alcohol increases. Next is the classical phase where the social problem reaches its peak and the use of drugs is the highest. During the Classical phase, education programs are being used to try to stop and prevent drug and alcohol use. Then there is an Imperial stage where the problem begins to decline and comes to an end after people have learned about drugs and alcohol. The final stage is the Decadent phase when the previous users who quit, being to use drugs and alcohol again the process continues. This shows that drug and alcohol education programs don’t really do much in the way of preventing drugs, except a short term of no drug use.
There are also many education programs in older groups of people such as college students. Alcohol abuse prevention programming on college campuses presents special challenges. Although many people think of college students as young, they legally are adults. Since 1972, when the legal age of majority was lowered to 18, college students have all of the same rights and privileges as older adults, except they cannot drink legally until they reach the age of 21. Despite all the education that occurred when they were younger, they are now drinking under age and buying alcohol underage. Many college students are killed due to alcohol poisoning. What did all that education about alcohol do? Absolutely nothing if they ended up drinking themselves to death. College administrators can no longer treat college undergraduates as children and have no authority to act the place of parents, since the parents of an 18 year old themselves have no legal authority over the student. The extent of a college’s control over its students is a matter of contract. Colleges can enforce conduct codes only through contract rights. At Indiana University-Bloomington, alcohol is prohibited in all on-campus undergraduate residences supervised by the University, and in all other areas open to the public. While that is the rule, enforcement is difficult. Using a strong enforcement hand is very difficult, and not well accepted by students and many parents. These students were educated about the rules of alcohol at their college and also about the causes and effects of alcohol to the body and brain, but they still do not listen and studies show that they still drink regardless of what prevention program they underwent when they were teens.
As you can see, and as the results from all the studies done show, drug and alcohol education programs have little and sometimes absolutely no effect on the use of drugs and alcohol among students any age. Teens in high school, or adults in college, they all abuse drugs and alcohol no matter what drug education program they went through. Many people are even killed through the use of drugs and alcohol. The government needs to realize that educating people about drugs only makes them aware that the drugs are out there and available to them.