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Does D.A.R.E. work? Read about D.A.R.E. in the 21st Century

What is D.A.R.E?

D.A.R.E. to Say NO

Learning to say "No" and not feeling compelled to go along with the crowd is the essence of D.A.R.E., an anti-drug program started in Ohio in 1987. The program is co-sponsored by the Ohio Attorney General, the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police, and the Ohio Department of Education.

D.A.R.E. - Drug Abuse Resistance Education - is a preventative program originally developed in Los Angeles. Uniformed law enforcement officers teach the curriculum in school, aiming to equip young people with the skills to resist peer pressure to experiment with harmful drugs. The concept is straightforward and simple- D.A.R.E. to say NO!

Since its creation, D.A.R.E. has become the largest anti-drug program in the world. The program is taught in more than 54 countries to over 36 million children each year. The program is taught in 80% of the schools in the United States and is taught in every state.

Approximately 650 Ohio Law Enforcement Officers who have been trained to teach the D.A.R.E. program work in nearly every county of Ohio. Since 1987, close to two million Ohio school children have gone through the D.A.R.E. program. The program's primary focus is fifth and sixth graders because studies indicate that children in these grades are most responsive to prevention education. The curriculum is reinforced throughout Middle School and High School.

A Serious Problem

D.A.R.E. was initiated because there continues to be an alarming increase in drug use among young people. Statistics show that the average age for kids to begin experimenting with illegal drugs is 13. While use of illicit drugs overall is declining nationally, the trend of drug abuse among young people continues to grow.

Every day, 3,000 children nationwide begin smoking, and close to 10 million people under the age of 21 had a drink within the past month.

Resistance Education

Many teens think smoking, drinking and using exotic drugs are passports to adulthood. Rather than emphasizing traditional scare tactics that highlight the harmful effects of drugs, D.A.R.E. tries to teach students what being grown-up really means: not giving in to peer pressure, making your own decisions, and learning to cope with life's challenges in positive ways.

A Heavy Dose of Instruction

One of the unique features of D.A.R.E. is the use of police officers as instructors. The D.A.R.E. officer's main audience is fifth and sixth grade students. He/she visits each class once a week and stays on campus all day, interacting with students during lunch and recess.

Officers selected for this "classroom beat" have been carefully screened, and are trained by specialists in education and psychology to present D.A.R.E.'s 17-lesson program in an engaging and effective manner.

The D.A.R.E. curriculum focuses on four major areas:
· Providing accurate information about alcohol and drugs;
· Teaching students decision-making skills;
· Showing them how to resist peer pressure;
· Helping them develop alternatives to drug use.

D.A.R.E. Officers employ a variety of activity-oriented techniques to involve students in group discussions, role-playing exercises, and a healthy exchange of ideas and feelings.

An Effective Program

Recent studies have found that children who have been through the D.A.R.E. program are less likely to get involved in alcohol and drug abuse than those who have not experienced the D.A.R.E. curriculum. In Ohio, nine out of 10 teachers and principals say D.A.R.E. makes a positive difference in students' attitudes toward drugs. Another benefit is the opportunity for students to interact with police officers in a positive environment. D.A.R.E. officers spend additional time at the schools outside of the classroom to give students the opportunity to get to know them in a friendly, less formal way.