May 1, 2024 – DARE was not only ineffective by its own standards, but potentially counterproductive. Young people continued saying yes to drugs, despite the weekly DARE class that taught them to say no.

(University of North Carolina Press, 2024) is a much-needed, extensively researched history of DARE. Author Max Felker-Kantor traces its origins and explains its wide-ranging impact on US society. In the process, he removes any remaining doubt that DARE was pure copaganda.

The book illustrates just how easy it was for law enforcement to win support from educators and researchers to send uniformed police officers into schools. The curriculum was full of misinformation about drugs, and deployed scare tactics, threats and lies to dissuade drug experimentation.

Felker-Kantor also exposes the roles of Fortune 500 companies, sports teams and celebrities in promoting DARE. It’s a fascinating, infuriating read that will leave readers shaking their heads and asking how anyone could have thought the program a good idea.