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The New D.A.R.E. Program

Great news! D.A.R.E. has adopted a new curriculum for middle and elementary schools called keepin’ it REAL, and it is now being implemented in all the schools that use D.A.R.E.’s programs. With D.A.R.E. being used in approximately 75% of school districts across the nation, we are pleased to learn that the new program has been demonstrated effective in changing students’ attitudes and behaviors.

The new program was selected from SAMHSA’s database of evidence-based substance abuse programs and has been rolled out to schools by D.A.R.E. since 2009. Rather than using lectures filled with statistics on drugs, in the keepin’ it REAL program, students learn by practicing how to act and develop the communication and decision making skills to say “No” by using the slogan - Refuse, Explain, Avoid and Leave.

The lessons include interactive roll play so children can practice with their friends. The models are simple: Refuse the offer to try an illegal substance; Explain why you don’t want to try it; Avoid situations where substance may be available; and Leave situations if you feel uncomfortable or substances are being used.

According to Scientific American, keepin’ it REAL has been deemed highly effective. And it makes sense. The new program teaches kids the behavior and self-confidence they need to go against peer pressure. It also emphasizes communication – something we at have focused on as well.

So kudos to D.A.R.E. for rejuvenating the popular program and selecting curriculum that has been shown to be effective and interactively teaches positive behaviors.

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