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Anne Arundel "D.A.R.E.(S)" To Expand Opioid Prevention Education

NCJ Number
Date Published
Becky Lewis
This article discusses the rationale for the revival of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) school-based instructional program under a revised curriculum in three middle schools in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, as a means of broadening the county’s efforts to counter its opioid epidemic.
As the county’s opioid overdose numbers continued to increase (51 deaths in 2015, 119 in 2016, and 155 in 2017), several new community-based prevention programs were launched. The county discontinued the D.A.R.E. program after the 2002-2003 school year, due to the loss of funding and concern about D.A.R.E.’s effectiveness. In February 2018, however, the county reinstated the D.A.R.E. program in three middle schools. D.A.R.E. has changed significantly from its original format, which consisted of a lecture and minimal discussion. Under its new format, D.A.R.E. has adopted a research-based, peer-centered approach called “Keepin’ it REAL,” which is an acronym for “Refuse, Explain, Avoid and Leave.” The instruction is student-centered, with the police officer as a facilitator. There are currently nine officers who are trained to deliver the D.A.R.E. curriculum, and plans are underway to train additional officers for more schools in fall 2018. To supplement the D.A.R.E. instruction, the county sheriff’s department recently introduced its D.A.R.E. car, which features the contest-winning design of a group of children from Freetown Boys & Girls Club. The car will be used to promote the program at schools and community events. The D.A.R.E. website also offers materials that can assist with education at community events.
Date Created: April 8, 2018