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How D.A.R.E. You? Some background, an overview and an interview

By: Hana McCarthy and Gavin Bennett/Senior Writers

D.A.R.E., Some Background

From 1983 to 1990, the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, known as D.A.R.E., could be found in 75% of U.S. schools, but studies from the time show the program was not highly successful.

Today, however, the program has been redesigned and most prevention specialists believe it makes a difference for today’s school children.

According to American Addiction Centers, “Several controlled studies of the new curriculum, called “keepin’ it REAL,” have shown a reduction in student drug use compared to peers who did not participate. In only a few years, the new DARE program has succeeded.”

D.A.R.E., an Overview

D.A.R.E. is a comprehensive K-12 prevention education program taught in thousands of schools in America, including Blue Ridge School District.

The program, taught by Blue Ridge’s SRO officer Greg Deck and other highly trained law enforcement officers, aims to deliver science/evidence-based curricula that teach students good decision-making skills.

According to Officer Deck, “The idea is that when students learn good decision-making skills, they learn how to lead safe and healthy lives and cope with high risk circumstances including drugs, alcohol, violence, bullying, and internet safety.”

“The program is one of the most influential programs in the United States,” says Deck.

The D.A.R.E. website states: “The program’s history of collaboration is further demonstrated in its curricula that have been developed through partnerships with some of the most respected institutions and individuals in America including the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, US Drug Enforcement Administration, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Penn State University, Arizona State University, University of Akron, as well as leading experts in the field of drug abuse, prevention science, and medicine.”

“Overall,” says Deck, “D.A.R.E. is an important part of health and safety for our kids and for children across the United States.”

The program is taught at Blue Ridge over a ten week period, allowing Deck to teach multiple grades throughout the year.

This year, Deck says, “There will also be some featured guests at the DARE graduation, including representation from the Barron County Sherriff’s Department, the Pennsylvania State Police, the Susquehanna County Sherriff’s Department, and the Susquehanna County District Attorney, Marion O’Malley, who funds the Blue Ridge D.A.R.E. program.

BR students are pictured at the high school’s library for a lesson from the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program. Photo by: Hanna McCarthy/Senior Writer.

The lessons Deck teaches are as follows, Lesson 1: Purpose and Overview of the D.A.R.E Program; Lesson 2: Tobacco and You; Lesson 3: Smoke Screen; Lesson 4: Alcohol and You; Lesson 5: The Real Truth; Lesson 6: Friendship Foundations; Lesson 7: Putting it Together; Lesson 8: Personal Action; Lesson 9 Practice! Practice! Practice!, and Lesson 10: Special Event. (For more information about the D.A.R.E. curricula, see: https://dare.org/education/)

Interview with S.R.O. Greg Deck

Hanna McCarthy: What initiated the start of D.A.R.E. at Blue Ridge?

Greg Deck: It was already going on when I started here six years ago. In August of 2019 I went to two weeks of D.A.R.E. training at Fort Stewart, Georgia, where I was in class with officers from all over the Northeast for D.A.R.E. officer training.” 

McCarthy: When did you start teaching D.A.R.E.?

Deck: In January of 2020, I started fifth grade D.A.R.E., but the program was sadly not finished due to COVID. 

McCarthy: When was D.A.R.E expanded to the BR Middle School?

Deck: This January it was expanded to seventh grade. 

McCarthy: Do you plan on continuing the D.A.R.E. program at Blue Ridge?

Deck: Yes I believe it has been very beneficial, because it helps me to establish a relationship with kids that are coming into middle school and high school. 

McCarthy: When does DARE take place in the school day?

Greg Deck: Throughout the morning on Wednesday, it is a 10 week course. 

______

Read “The Addiction Diaries: An Open Letter from Drugs.”

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Hanna McCarthy
Hanna McCarthy
Hanna McCarthy is currently a senior at Blue Ridge. She is the president of National Honor Society, the president of Science Club, the vice president of FBLA, the vice president of Leo Club, the vice president of Student Council, the vice president of SADD and Secretary of the class of 2023. Hanna loves to play golf and basketball for the Lady Raiders. Her favorite thing to do outside of school is spending time with her friends and family.
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