Pubdate: Thu, 05 Dec 2002
Source: Jersey Journal, The (NJ)
Copyright: 2002 The Jersey Journal
Author: Marion J. Fritsch


This letter is in response to Mr. Curran's letter in The Jersey Journal 
Dec. 2, reflecting on the impact D.A.R.E. has had on our community. I must 
agree with Mr. Curran. We (The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug 
Dependence of Hudson County, Inc. NCADD Hudson) have for 14 years provided 
quantifiable quality alcohol, tobacco and other drug prevention education 
programs to the Hudson County community. Last year our dedicated staff 
provided over 900 classes in the Hudson County schools, recorded the 
increase in knowledge via pre and post testing, disseminated materials on 
any topic related to alcohol, tobacco and other drugs (ATOD) to the 
community, gave technical assistance to other agencies wishing to enhance 
their knowledge of addiction, and conducted parenting programs in two 
public housing sites. For a number of years we have partnered with The 
Jersey Journal in informing the community about ATOD.

As professionals in the prevention field have long known, D.A.R.E., 
although a popular program, is extremely limited in scope, and 
statistically has no quantifiable outcomes indicating any lasting effect on 
the students who participate.

I most particularly agree with Mr. Curran, that the hundreds of millions of 
dollars spent on D.A.R.E. could be put to better use; we are spending 
limited resources on a program that produces minimal results. Again I 
concur with Mr. Curran that prevention education and strategies require a 
multi-faceted approach. Ideally, prevention education begins before 
kindergarten and continues throughout high school utilizing age appropriate 
curriculums, peer leadership groups, parental involvement and education, 
and alcohol and drug-free alternative activities. If a comprehensive 
prevention education strategy were implemented in schools from kindergarten 
through high school, including strong parental involvement, there would be 
a marked decrease in the need for early intervention on students.

NCADD Hudson is a private nonprofit agency serving the Hudson County 
community and is itself a member of the New Jersey Prevention Network (a 
organization of non-profits providing quality ATOD prevention education) in 
every county in New Jersey. We are considered the "experts" in prevention 
education and programming by the state funding agencies and are extremely 
willing to demonstrate our expertise in the community.

Marion J. Fritsch,

Executive Director, NCADD Hudson
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