As anybody who ever traded a solemn promise to never snort cocaine for a kick-ass T-shirt back in the ’90s knows, the D.A.R.E. program used to be a pretty big deal in America’s schools. But the drug and violence resistance program has taken a number of hits over the years, with numerous scientific studies disputing the effectiveness of its “But you promised to say ‘No!’” approach to youth education. The end result has been a heavy slashing of the program’s budget—which must have come as a huge blow to its T-shirt printers—and its gradual disappearance from America’s schools.
But never fear, nostalgic fans of Drug Abuse Resistance Education: hip ’50s kid Jeff Sessions wants to bring the program back. “D.A.R.E. is, I think, as I indicated, the best remembered anti-drug program today,” the attorney general said at a D.A.R.E. training conference in Texas today, pinpointing the organization’s biggest selling point: brand loyalty. After all, it doesn’t matter if Scientific American reported in 2014 that “the program does little or nothing to combat substance use in youth,” or that the National Criminal Justice Reference Service issued a 1998 report to Congress that stated, “No scientific evidence suggests that the D.A.R.E. core curriculum as originally designed or revised in 1993, will reduce substance use in the absence of continued instruction.” People remember the letters E, R, D, and A, and that’s what’s going to keep our kids drug-free.