From the moment of birth we begin learning skills which enable us to succeed in a complex world.

Unfortunately, today's child is subject to many stresses and is faced with tough decisions long before coping skills and decision making skills have been learned. Lacking those skills, a child often makes unhealthy decisions under pressure from peers.

Teaching children the necessary skills to say "NO" to alcohol and drugs are the focus of D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education). The curriculum which was developed by educators is an elementary school drug prevention program taught by specially selected and trained police officers.

Through D.A.R.E. children are provided with the coping skills necessary for managing the personal pressures which lead to drug and alcohol experimentation.


No longer can we associate substance abuse with only the criminal element of society. America's drug epidemic is costlier and more dangerous than ever. Seventy percent of violent crime and 90 percent of property crime in the U.S. are now drug related. Drug Abuse also takes an astounding toll on the American economy, costing an estimated $400 billion a year. In the work place studies show that an alarming one in five members of the adult work force use drugs at any one time. All of us pay the price. Despite millions of arrests and the routine confiscation of tons of narcotics, 23 million Americans currently use illegal drugs. It is clear that law enforcement efforts alone are not enough to overcome this pervasive problem. Statistics show that one in 16 high school students smoke marijuana daily, and in excess of 60% of all students will have used an illicit drug by the Twelfth grade.

Some believe the solution to the substance abuse problem is to pass more laws, employ more policemen, prosecutors and judges, and build more prisons. The truth is that enforcement alone cannot solve the problem.

Demand reduction, especially among young people is vital. We must educate our children and give them the tools they need to resist peer pressure to use illegal drugs and alcohol, join gangs and participate in violence. Most importantly, we must help them build and maintain self-esteem.


Establish family rules that make the use of drugs non-negotiable.

Educate yourself about drugs, so you can talk informatively with your children and answer their questions.

Since peer pressure is a major factor in teen drug use, know your children's friends.

Spend time with your children, teach them the right way by presenting a positive example in your daily life.

Talk with other parents. Try to establish uniform rules that make obtaining 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.

Tell your children you love them and encourage them to come to you when they have a problem.

If problems arise, try to seek advice and counsel from someone your child respects and can relate to.


D.A.R.E. was started in Los Angeles, California in 1983. The D.A.R.E. curriculum was a joint effort between the Los Angeles Unified School District and the Los Angeles Police Department. The curriculum was written not only by officers but by Educators as well.

D.A.R.E. is taught by certified law enforcement officers who go into the schools and teach a 17-week curriculum to the students.


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