Sergeant Michael Sheehy
The primary goal of Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) is to teach effective peer resistance and refusal skills so that adolescents can say “no” to drugs and their friends who may want them to use drugs. The secondary goals of the program are to build students’ social skills and enhance their self-esteem, as these are believed to be linked to adolescent drug use.
DARE was developed in 1983 as a joint effort between the Los Angeles County (Calif.) School District and the Los Angeles Police Department. In 1986, the U.S. Congress passed the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act to promote drug abuse education and prevention programs across the country, and DARE spread rapidly, with many school districts adopting it for their students. By 1994, DARE was the most widely used school-based drug prevention program, showing up in all 50 states in the United States and spreading to six foreign countries.
DARE was initially designed for elementary school students, specifically fifth and sixth graders. Over the years, it has developed curriculum aimed at middle and high school students. The early focus of the program was to inoculate or strengthen children to resist the temptation of drug experimentation and the pressure of peers who want them to engage in drug use.
The core curriculum of DARE consists of 12 lessons, one given each week. These lessons are taught by police officers in school classrooms. Lessons last about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
DARE uses the social influence approach to drug-use prevention. This psycho-social approach emphasizes and aims to strengthen children’s refusal skills so they can better resist social pressures to try and use drugs. It also builds general social competencies to help prevent or at least delay adolescent drug use. The core curriculum was built for and targets children in their last years of elementary school, fifth and sixth grades. It is thought that this is the age where children are most receptive to anti-drug messages and catches them before they experiment or are pressured to experiment with drugs by their peers. DARE officers receive 80 hours of training in classroom management, teaching strategies, communication skills, adolescent development, drug information, and thorough instruction on DARE’s 12 lessons.
If you have any further questions about the program please feel free to contact me. I am very thankful for the continued support of the community. It means so much to me and it means even more to the students at Mathews Local Schools.
Thank you for your time!
Sergeant Michael Sheehy
DARE Officer School Resource Officer