D.A.R.E. stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education. It is a drug abuse prevention education program designed to equip elementary, middle and high school children with knowledge about drug abuse, the consequences of abuse, and skills for resisting peer pressure to experiment with drugs, alcohol and tobacco.
Based on the premise that prevention is the only long-term answer to drug abuse, the program, which was founded in 1984 in Los Angeles, CA, now includes all 50 states and 53 countries. The D.A.R.E. program is taught in over 75% of the nation’s school districts, creating a positive atmosphere for students to interact with uniformed law enforcement officers. This unique program uses uniformed law enforcement officers to teach a formal curriculum to students in a classroom setting.
D.A.R.E. lesson plans focus on 4 major areas:
- Giving students ideas for positive alternatives to drug use
- Providing accurate information about drugs, alcohol, prescription drug use, tobacco, peer pressure, bullying, stress and internet safety.
- Showing students how to recognize and resist peer pressure and how to choose the right friends.
- Teaching students good decision-making skills.
D.A.R.E. officers work with children to raise their self-esteem, teach them how to make decisions on their own, and help them identify positive alternatives to drugs. Through role-playing, the D.A.R.E. curriculum emphasizes the negative consequences of drug use, and reinforces the skills to resist peer pressure and intimidation.
Key Program Elements
D.A.R.E. is a cooperative effort by the police, schools, parents, and the community - all 4 working together to help our children make the right choices concerning drug use.
One of the unique features of D.A.R.E. is the use of uniformed police officers as instructors. D.A.R.E. officers are assigned to a classroom “beat” for a 12-week program. Gleaming with the latest in prevention science and teaching techniques, D.A.R.E. is reinventing itself as part of a major national research study that promises to help teachers and administrators cope with the thorny issues of school violence, budget cuts, and terrorism. The need for an effective education program to inoculate students against the threat of drugs is critical to the well being of our children and their future.
- Scare tactics - D.A.R.E. relies on accurate information and a straight-forward approach.
- “Witch Hunts” - D.A.R.E. officers never encourage students to “turn in” family or friends who may be breaking the law. D.A.R.E. students are taught to say “someone I know…” when sharing stories; never using real names.
- “Hands on drugs” - How drugs are used (methods) are not taught. Drugs are never taken into a classroom as part of D.A.R.E.
Tips For Parents
- Establish family rules that make it clear that drug use will not be tolerated.
- Educate yourself about drugs, so you can talk informatively with your children and answer their questions.
- Spend time with your children listening to their concerns and showing how much you love and care for them.
- Recognize that you are their most important role model.
- Discuss with your children what they have learned in D.A.R.E. each week.