D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) is a collaborative effort by DARE certified law enforcement officers, educators, students, parents, and community to offer an educational program in the classroom to prevent or reduce drug abuse and violence among children and youth.
The emphasis of the program in fifth grade is to help students recognize and resist the many direct and subtle pressures that influence them to experiment with alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, inhalants, or other drugs or to engage in violence. This DARE program offers preventive strategies to enhance protective factors – especially bonding to the family, school, and community – which has been proven to help foster the development of resiliency in young people who may be at risk for substance abuse or other problem behaviors. It also helps to build the capacity of young people in making healthy, independent growth in spite of adverse conditions. These strategies focus on the development of social competence, communication skills, self-esteem, empathy, decision-making, conflict resolution, sense of purpose and independence, and positive alternative activities to drug abuse and other destructive behaviors.
The middle school program, “Keepin’ It REAL”, was added this year for all seventh graders. The core of the program is the REAL strategies for resisting drug offers: Refuse, Explain, Avoid, and Leave. By highlighting these four methods of communicating, the program helps kids understand the risks of drugs, teaches them to make good decisions and resist the temptation to use drugs.
Keepin’ It REAL is based on research begun in 1989 which examines how youth are offered and competently resist drug offers as well as how they assess risks and make good decisions. After applying a narrative prevention approach, stories from youth were collected and transformed into ten interactive lessons using videotapes and other highly motivating teaching techniques. In Evesham, the seventh grade program is taught in quint cycles during health class for a condensed 7 week schedule throughout the school year.
The multicultural Keepin’ It REAL curriculum has proven effective in reducing adolescent alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco use in students by preparing students to act decisively in refusing offers to use drugs, and helping students to recognize the risks and avoid drug-related situations. It also focuses on building strong decision-making, communication, planning and assertive refusal skills. At the core of the program is empowering youth to value their own perceptions and feelings and make choices that support drug-free values.
The DARE programs – offered in concert with other school-based prevention activities and intervention strategies for the identification, early intervention, and aftercare support of students at risk for substance abuse – may be viewed as a comprehensive substance abuse program that meets the goals of the federal
For more information on DARE & Keepin’ It Real, click here www.dare.com.
Last Modified on October 3, 2011