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The Purpose

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 DARE 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.

The DARE program offers preventive strategies to enhance those protective factors - especially bonding to the family, school and community - which appears to foster the development of resiliency in young people who may be at risk for substance abuse or other problem behaviors. Researchers have identified certain protective and social bonding factors in the family, school, and community which may foster resiliency in young people, in other words, the capacity of young people for 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 Organization

The program content for DARE is organized into 45 to 60 minute lessons to be taught by a law enforcement officer with suggested extended activities to be integrated into other instruction by the classroom teacher. A specially trained officer is assigned to the school one day a week for one semester to conduct weekly lessons in grade 5. Student participation in the DARE program may be incorporated as an integral part of the school's curricular offering in health, science, social studies, language arts, or other subject(s) as appropriate. The classroom teacher should maintain a supportive role in classroom management while the officer is teaching and should incorporate DARE program participation by students as an integral part of the student's final evaluation.

Comprehensive Program Approach

The DARE program - 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 Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act. A comprehensive program within the school offers such educational activities as the following to heighten awareness and knowledge about alcohol and other drug dependencies:

_ A comprehensive program of instruction of the harmful effects of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs that are commonly abused.

_ Ideally, this instruction should be offered as an integral part of the school's comprehensive health curriculum.

_ Faculty in-service training.

_ Instruction by DARE officer in target classrooms.

_ Parent education, including a DARE evening for parents.

_ Interest groups.

_ Parent outreach and support.

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