Abstract

The paper reviews the DARE program as the strategy of the demand-side drug control of war on drugs. It discusses and evaluates the policy making emphasis on its influence on teenagers and their families. The paper aims at answering the question related to the drug war consequences, the impact of policies on families, and the ways to improve the current situation. Analysis has shown that the system is ineffective due to the inappropriateness of the approaches.

How the War on Drugs Hurt Families?

Introduction

The war on drugs is considered to be the longest war in the USA. It has been more than 40 years since the launch of the modern war on drugs. However, there are still many drugs as ever (Bushway & Reuter, 2011). Creating a drug-free society is impossible. Moreover, the consequences of the war on drugs are disastrous for the whole families and society in general (Levy-Pounds, 2014).

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The war on drugs touches many families. Instead of positive influence, it presents the destruction of numerous issues people care about and value. The war seems to be unwinnable as the policies it suggests are ineffective (Geller et al., 2011).

Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) is an international education program that seeks substance abuse prevention. It focuses on the prevention of the controlled drug use, gang membership, violent behavior, etc. It was developed as a demand-side drug control strategy of war on drugs (Reuter, 2013).

Despite DARE and other policies, the war on drugs failed. People have reasons to oppose and be outraged by the unsuccessful war on drugs (Hickman, 2011). It is essential to enhance our efforts and continue to deal with the consequences of the war as the number of war casualties continues to grow. Therefore, the paper will focus on the way the war on drugs hurts families.

The first section of the project will provide an overview of the problem and the analyzed policy. The second section will summarize the policy making emphasis on its origin, description, and goals. The next section will be a research justification. Also, it will contain a problem statement, research question, and the statement of researcher interest. The fourth section will be policy analysis, including theoretical framework, policy evaluation, and the influence on community and society. The discussion and recommendations section will summarize the policy analysis, provide policy implications and policy recommendations. The final section will represent concluding remarks.

Policy Summary

A. Policy Origins

In the early 1960s, many college students were involved in the marijuana popularization. Richard Nixon, the President, decided to declare a new war on drugs that targets youth, namely students. However, the latter were not distracted from the drug use. Therefore, Congress began to question the rehabilitation effectiveness and the ability of parole boards to appropriately identify people ready for release (Sevigny et al., 2013).

B. Policy Description

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Unfortunately, the war on drugs is a complete failure when it comes to preventing the use of drugs by young people. The long-term use of the DARE programs, which suggested saying no to using drugs, did not show any positive results. Nearly 50 % of teenagers had tried marijuana before they graduated (Bushway & Reuter, 2011). Also, young people feel the marijuana enforcement brunt and constitute the majority of arrests. As a result, the detention of youth caused more damage to them than the use of drugs itself (Monaghan, 2012).

C. Policy Goals

The primary goal of the program is to prevent the teenage use of drugs. Students who enter the DARE program signed a pledge stating that they would not use drugs or join gangs. Also, it aims at increasing public safety, getting information about offenders, etc.

Research Justification

A. Statement of the Problem

Ineffective drug education has led to the elimination of trust bonds between teenagers and their parents (Fleetwood, 2011). It is essential to support policies that treat drug abuse as a health-related problem, not a criminal issue. Families should have autonomy and privacy when dealing with substance abuse issues. Therefore, it is essential to analyze the policies to get a better understanding of their influence on families, drawbacks, and benefits. Hence, the paper examines the DARE program developed as a war on drug policy.

B. Research Question

The paper answers the following questions:

1. What are the consequences of the drug war?

2. How did the drug war policies influence families?

3. What can be done to improve the situation?

C. Statement of Researcher Interest

The desire to help families cope with the drug-related issues and the consequences of the drug war explain increased interest to the research question.

Policy Analysis

A. Theoretical Framework

Social control theory and General Strain Theory may be effective and useful in understanding the analyzed theory.

B. Policy Evaluation

Analysis has shown that the policy does not work due to the inappropriateness of the approaches implemented.

C. Impact on Community & Society

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The DARE program affects young people. When teenagers are behind the bars, their families undergo numerous negative influences (Caulkins et al., 2011).

Discussion & Recommendations

A. Summary of Policy Analysis

The policy is highly criticized as it uses children as informants. As a result, children and teenagers involuntary or voluntary confided the names of people who illegally used drugs. In that way, they become the source of additional problems in families, the members of which are drug-addicted people.

B. Policy Implications

If the policy is maintained, it will continue to have a negative influence on teenagers and their families (Smith & Estefan, 2014).

C. Policy Recommendations

It is essential to reconsider the approach and do not use children as informants. Proper education and public campaigns will definitely help teenagers cope with the drug-related problems.

Conclusion

The war on drugs suggests the policies that comprise the teenagers safety and a strong influence on the whole family. The DARE program seems to be ineffective. Also, it is among many policies leading the war on drugs to fail. There is a belief that the discussion of the prohibition alternatives may send a wrong message to children and teenagers.

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