D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) teaches our children—from kindergarten through high school—that popularity can be found in positive behavior, that belonging need not require them to abandon their values, that self-confidence and self-worth come from asserting themselves and resisting destructive temptations. D.A.R.E. teaches them not just that they should refuse drugs and alcohol, and not participate in violent activities, but how to do so. D.A.R.E. goes beyond traditional drug abuse and violence prevention programs. It gives children the skills needed to recognize and resist the subtle and overt pressures that cause them to experiment with drugs or become involved in gangs or violent activities.
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. The D.A.R.E. curriculum is designed to be taught by police officers whose training and experience gave them the background needed to answer the sophisticated questions often posed by young students about drugs and crime. By getting the message from a street-wise police officer—one who's been out there, one who knows how drugs and alcohol can destroy lives—kids take that message seriously. Prior to entering the D.A.R.E. program, officers undergo 80 hours of special training in areas such as child development, classroom management, teaching techniques, and communication skills. 40 hours of additional training are provided to D.A.R.E. instructors to prepare them to teach the high school curriculum.
D.A.R.E. is universally viewed as an internationally recognized model of community policing. The United States Department of Justice has identified how D.A.R.E. benefits local communities:
In January 1990, the Tennessee Highway Patrol trained experienced troopers from each of its eight enforcement districts to teach D.A.R.E. and today we are still instructing Tennessee's school children in ways to safely resist drugs and violence. The Highway Patrol D.A.R.E. Unit is also continually training law enforcement officers across Tennessee and throughout the world to go into their communities and teach D.A.R.E. Tennessee currently has more than 350 certified D.A.R.E. officers. D.A.R.E. is taught in over 85 percent of the school districts in the state with more than 60,000 students taught each year.