Pubdate: Sun, 26 May 2002
Source: Times Daily (AL)
Copyright: 2002 Times Daily
Author: Tom Smith
Bookmark: (D.A.R.E.)


RUSSELLVILLE - When school starts back in August, a new face will be 
visiting the middle school classrooms of Franklin County.

Thanks to a grant through the State of Alabama Division of Public 
Health, the Franklin County Sheriff's Department is preparing to 
launch a new drug, alcochol and tobacco prevention program.

The new program, according to department officials, will be an 
extension of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program.

"This will be the first time we've been able to implement this 
program,'' said Mike Franklin, the department's DARE officer. "This 
new program will go hand in hand with what we're already doing.''

He said the grant provides materials and an officer's salary.

Franklin said the middle school program will target grades 7 and 8 in 
the Franklin County and Russellville city school systems, while the 
DARE program is for fifth-grade students.

Deputy Shannon Oliver will be leaving his duties as a patrol officer 
and taking over the middle school program. "I know it's going to be 
different for me,'' said Oliver, who has been a patrol officer for 
seven years. "But I'm really excited about the program and looking 
forward to working with the students.''

Oliver said the middle school students will study a curriculum 
similar to the DARE program.

"I'm going to be teaching the students the ill effects of drugs, 
alcohol and tobacco,'' Oliver said. "Most of these students will have 
already gone through the DARE program, so this will just build on 
what they've already learned.''

Franklin said he had about 2,000 students involved in the DARE 
program. He anticipates the new program adding 1,000-1,200 students 
into this upcoming school year.

Sheriff Larry Plott said the program is a preventive program.

"And that's the type of programs we like to get involved with. We 
want to give the students the tools to make some wise choices. We 
believe it will make a difference in their lives,'' Plott said.

"The whole intent of DARE is to give students the tools to stay 
drug-free,'' Franklin said. "We're trying to educate the students on 
not only just saying no to drugs, but how to say no.''

Oliver said the program would also help students handle peer pressure 
and other programs that the middle school students face.

Franklin said the department is going to have a program geared toward 
high school students.

He said a DARE Role Model Program will begin this fall. The program, 
Franklin said, uses students' in grades 10-12 as role models for the 
younger students. Franklin said the department already has a safety 
program for students in early elementary grades.

With the two new programs, Franklin said the department would be 
involved with most of the students in the two school systems.

"We're trying to reach as many students as we can,'' Oliver said.

"And these programs will allow us to take the department's prevention 
programs to another level in Franklin County.''
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