D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) is a collaborative program in which local law enforcement and local schools join together to educate students about the personal and social consequences of substance abuse and violence. D.A.R.E. was founded in 1983 in Los Angeles. It has proven so successful that it is now being implemented in 75 percent of our nation's school districts and in more than 43 countries around the world. D.A.R.E. is a police officer-led series of classroom lessons that teaches children from kindergarten through 12th grade how to resist peer pressure and live productive drug and violence-free lives.
The mission is to equip kids with the tools that will enable them to avoid negative influences and instead, allow them to focus on their strengths and potential. And, that's exactly what D.A.R.E. is designed to do.
Additionally, it establishes positive relationships between students and law enforcement, teachers, parents, and other community leaders. Every youngster should have the opportunity to grow-up healthy, safe, secure, and equipped with the skills needed to succeed in life. Contemporary America, however, is rampant with challenges that could keep children from a positive life path.
Since 2003, D.A.R.E. America has engaged in a total organizational renewal. The new D.A.R.E. K-12 curricula focus upon the abuse of gateway drugs (tobacco, alcohol, marijuana and inhalants). The program offers a preventive strategy to enhance protective factors - especially bonding to family, school and community - which research has shown to foster development of resiliency in students who may be at risk for substance abuse or other problem behaviors. The program employs the use of the D.A.R.E. decision making model in which students are provided skills to use in developing and assessing choices they make in life. Students build skills to:
D - Define problems and challenges
A - Assess available choices
R - Respond by making a choice
E - Evaluate their decisions
The D.A.R.E. Instructor, using techniques of facilitation – gone are the days of the didactic lecture – guides students as they work in small cooperative learning groups using the D.A.R.E. decision making model to apply to real life situations.