Happy DARE Day

Today is DARE Day in Alpena, a celebration of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education programs that aim to teach our kids the best ways to live lives that are free from drugs, violence and other dangers.

According to the DARE website, the program was founded in 1983 in Los Angeles and now reaches kids in kindergarten through 12th grade in 75 percent of American schools and more than 50 other countries, teaching them “how to resist peer pressure and live productive drug and violence-free lives.” Some 1.5 million students are reached every year.

Alpena County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Jim Marquardt is credited with bringing DARE to Northeast Michigan in 1989.

The program has been successful. According to what DARE called “rigorous, scientific evaluations,” sixth- through ninth-graders who went through the program saw a 32% to 44% reduction in marijuana, tobacco, and alcohol use and a 29% to 34% decrease in intent to accept substances, when compared to students who didn’t go through the program.

We honor the law enforcement officers in Northeast Michigan and across the globe working to not only keep our kids free from the dangers of drug abuse, but also more broadly to arm our students with the tools they need to resist peer pressure to do other dangerous things.

The program also allows students to interact with law enforcement officers in friendly, informal, and — as anyone who’s ever been through or witnessed a DARE class knows, fun — way. And that shows students that our police can be trusted and are there to help them.

Good all around.

Happy DARE Day, Alpena!

(THE ALPENA NEWS)