The Pickaway county D.A.R.E. (Drug abuse resistance education) program was established in August of 1990. ” At that time the program was 17 weeks long and was taught in the 6th grade in all four school” districts in Pickaway County. The D.A.R.E. officer at that time was Harold Hopkins, who along with Sheriff Dwight Radcliff, and former County Commissioner Ruth Neff, established funding for the program and set up contracts with the schools to get the D.A.R.E. program started.
In 1997 with the retirement of Sgt. Hopkins the D.A.R.E. program was taken over by Deputy C. Dale Thomas. At that time the program was still a 17 week course taught in the 6th grade. In 2004 the D.A.R.E. program underwent a major transformation with all new books and topics. The program was also shortened to 9 weeks and was moved into the elementary schools exit level grade. This moved the program to 5th grade for Westfall, Teays Valley, Circleville and 6th grade for Logan Elm
At the conclusion of the 2013-2014 school year, Pickaway county will have completed 23 years of D.A.R.E.. Deputy Thomas currently instructs D.A.R.E. in all four districts, in elementary and middle school.
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 sponsored by the Ohio Attorney General, the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police, and the Ohio Department of Education, in cooperation with local law enforcement agencies and school districts across the state.
D.A.R.E. – Drug Abuse Resistance Education – is a preventative program originally developed in Los Angele’s. Uniformed law enforcement officers teach the curriculum in schools, 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!”
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, millions of Ohio school children have gone through the D.A.R.E. program. The program’s primary focus is fourth-, fifth-, and sixth- graders because studies indicate that children in these grades are most responsive to prevention education. The curriculum is reinforced throughout junior high 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 falling nationally, the trend of drug abuse among young people continues to grow.
According to the federal government, in 1998, 36 percent of those from age 12 to 17 had tried an illicit drug at least once in their lifetime. Statistics show that youngsters who use marijuana before they turn 17 are 85 times more likely to use cocaine than those who did not. One in seven American students have used inhalants or sniffed glue to get high. While the percentage of 12-to-17-year-olds who have tried heroin has decreased – statistics also show that as many eighth-graders as 12th-graders have tried heroin in their lifetime. In 1999, 44.1 percent of eight-graders nationwide had used cigarettes – and more than 52 percent of eight-graders had used alcohol in the past year.
Many teens think smoking, drinking, and using exotic drugs are passports to adult-hood. 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 and sheriff’s deputies as instructors. The D.A.R.E. officer’s main audience is fourth, fifth, and sixth-grade students. He or 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 selected for their abilities in human relations and communications. Specialists in education and psychology train them 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. instructors employ a variety of activity-oriented techniques to involve students in group discussions, role playing exercises, and a healthy exchange of ideas and feelings.
Parents, teachers, and school administrators are also trained by D.A.R.E. officers, who teach them how to recognize the signs of drug abuse in young people, how to intervene, and where to seek assistance.
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, a large majority of teachers and principals say D.A.R.E. makes a positive difference in students’ attitudes toward drugs.
TIPS FOR PARENTS
Educate yourself about drugs, so you can talk informatively with your children and answer their questions.
Establish family rules that make the use of drugs non-negotiable.
Since peer pressure is a major factor in teen drug use, know your children’s friends.
Talk with other parents. Try to establish uniform rules that make access to drugs harder for your children and their friends, such as a curfew, the amount of spending money they receive, and their use of a car.
If problems arise, seek advice and counsel immediately from someone both you and your child respect.
CONTACT YOUR LOCAL D.A.R.E. PROGRAM OFFICER
Contact Your Local D.A.R.E. Officer: 740-420-5787
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