Prince Edward Island RCMP have decided to take an international drug education program and tailor it to suit the needs of Island youth.
The move makes a lot of sense because the one currently being offered in Island schools is based in the United States.
The Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) is a comprehensive school-based drug prevention program taught by police officers to children at the Grade 5 level. The DARE officers partner with classroom teachers to build protective factors for children by providing information and social skills needed to live drug- and violence-free.
Students are taught to use a four-step DARE decision-making model designed to help them engage in critical thinking, empowering them to make healthy choices and take charge of their lives. It provides them the skills to analyze each decision and evaluate their choices.
The program is usually delivered over a 10-week period, and each lesson is presented in a fun and factual way, designed to maximize student participation using an interactive workbook.
Sgt. Andrew Blackadar, media relations officer for L Division RCMP said the DARE program is being looked at to see if an alternative can be developed for Island schools.
It’s true that while students across North America are faced with similar pressures related to drugs, the solutions to these problems could be quite different. In short what may work in Texas may not work on P.E.I.
As well, what may have been the drug of choice a decade ago is completely different today.
Blackadar made that point saying police see a lot more prescription pill abuse on P.E.I. compared to 10 to15 years ago.
The change in mindset of marijuana use, that’s another change police are dealing with.
“We want to re-evaluate and get a program that is current with the times but also something we can say is RCMP owned,” Blackadar said. “We could tailor it if one school or one area is having an issue with prescription pills, we want to be able to go in and hit that school hard with prescription pill information.”
Island RCMP are firm in their position to deal with drug issues in schools and are looking to find the most effective and efficient way of doing that.
The idea to make the solutions fit the problems is a good one.
Parental involvement is another area Island RCMP are looking to enhance – giving parents the information and education on how to deal with drug issues. Bring in certain experts from certain fields and have a panel discussion instead of having one police officer give the program. A panel of four or five experts could be assembled saying here’s what a parent can do.
Dealing with drug issues doesn’t always have to end up in a courtroom.