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Deputies Neil Larrivey, Christine Reilly, Jeff Cuda, Nancy NichollThe D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) Program was started in 1983 by the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Unified School System. The D.A.R.E. program has since spread to fifty states and many countries around the world. The purpose of the D.A.R.E. program is to help children stay off drugs and avoid violence.

The core curriculum is taught to either 5th or 6th grade: whichever grade is highest in the elementary school. The 5th and 6th grades are selected because students are less supervised once they enter middle school, thus they are more likely to be introduced to the “gateway” drugs: Tobacco, Alcohol and Marijuana.

The D.A.R.E. curriculum has been updated recently to keep current with evolving society. The D.A.R.E. Program is presently ten weeks long, with six weeks optional. The D.A.R.E. Instructor can utilize as many optional D.A.R.E. lessons as necessary, based on the needs of the school. DARE lessons are intended to explain tobacco, alcohol and marijuana, and the dangers of these drugs. Students are paired or grouped, given a situation, and then break it down according to the second meaning of D.A.R.E.:

Students roll-play and talk about stress, peer pressure, ways to say “No”, alternatives, consequences and violence. At the end of the D.A.R.E. program, a graduation takes place in which family, friends and dignitaries witness students receive a certificate of graduation and D.A.R.E. shirts.

The Oneida County Sheriff’s Office provided D.A.R.E. instruction from 1992 to 2008. The program has been discontinued and replaced with a School Resource Officer program.