This year 36 million children around the world will benefit from Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E), a highly effective program that gives kids the skills they need to avoid involvement in drugs, gangs, and violence. D.A.R.E. was founded in 1983 in Los Angeles and has proven so successful that it is now being implemented in 75 percent of our nation's school districts and in more than 43 countries around the world. D.A.R.E. is a police officer-led series of classroom lessons that teaches children from kindergarten through 12th grade how to resist peer pressure and live productive drug and violence-free lives.
D.A.R.E. is a collaborative effort between the Santa Cruz County Sheriff Department, local schools, parents, and community leaders. D.A.R.E. works because it surrounds children with support and encouragement from all sides.
The program teaches kids how to recognize and resist the direct and subtle pressures that influence them to experiment with alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and other drugs. Deputy Alejandra Estrada, Santa Cruz County’s trained D.A.R.E. officer, comes into the classroom one day a week for seventeen weeks and presents curriculum that is design to inform kids about the dangers of drugs and provides them the tools they need to resist peer pressure.
D.A.R.E. curriculum is designed to integrate easily into other lessons. Student participation in the D.A.R.E. program may be incorporated as an integral part of the school's curriculum in health, science, social studies, language arts, or other subjects. The D.A.R.E. program doesn’t stop with elementary school; the lessons learned are reinforced and continued into middle and high school.