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The D.A.R.E. is a pro-active attempt to address the drug and violence problem at its foundation. It is a prevention effort to solve drug and violence problems of our youth. D.A.R.E. focuses on teaching students the facts about alcohol, drugs, and violence. The program offers children the practical skills necessary to resist negative peer pressure, problem solving, and to build and maintain high self-esteem. D.A.R.E. uses a core curriculum consisting of lessons taught to either fifth or sixth-graders. The emphasis of the program is placed at these grades since, statistically, experimental drug use for most kids starts at or around the seventh grade. The D.A.R.E. program has lessons for kindergarten through second grade which address safety issues, recognizing and reporting unsafe or harmful situations such as stranger danger and learning about having good feelings about themselves. Third and fourth grade curriculums have lessons concerning the importance of rules, drug safety, learning to say no, and self-esteem. D.A.R.E.'s keepin' it REAL elementary curriculum is aligned with National Common Core Standards to provide a framework for core instruction in today's classrooms. The curriculum meets multiple National Core Standards in the areas of Reading (literature, informational text, and foundational skills), Writing and Speaking and Listening. Standards are stated exactly as noted on www.corestandards.org
According to the finding of a Gallup poll (July 1993) of students who have completed the D.A.R.E. program, more than 90 percent of those polled believe that the D.A.R.E. program provided them with the skills to avoid drugs, alcohol and violence. It further increased each student's self-confidence in dealing effectively with negative peer pressure. Approximately 94 percent of those students surveyed indicated that they now know how to respond when a friend asks them to do something they don't want to do. In terms of personal behavior and attitudes toward drugs and alcohol, 93 percent of students surveyed reported they have never tried marijuana, cocaine, heroin, crack or inhalants. Seventy five percent stated they have never tried a cigarette; and 70 percent stated they have never tried alcohol. Perhaps most important, seven of ten students stated that alcohol use is very dangerous and more than nine of ten students believe drug use is very dangerous to their health and well-being. The National Institute of Justice update (September 1994), study revealed that "D.A.R.E. has been extremely successful at placing substance abuse education in the nation's schools." Support for D.A.R.E. and user satisfaction were reported as "strong". In fact, compared to other prevention programs, D.A.R.E. received "substantially higher" ratings from such key audiences as school staff, students, parents and community representatives. D.A.R.E. showed to be most effective at increasing student's knowledge about substance abuse and enhancing their social skills. The effects of D.A.R.E. include increased positive attitudes toward law enforcement officers, the ability to resist drugs, and building of self-esteem. The study also found that D.A.R.E. appealed to students regardless of race. "Student's receptivity to D.A.R.E. was rated higher than other programs, particularly in districts with large proportions of minority students." Demand for D.A.R.E. is also reported as high. The study discovered that more than 40 percent of the drug use prevention coordinators plan to expand the program and 21 percent of those districts which do not have D.A.R.E. said they are interested in adopting the program.