Pubdate: Tue, 24 Jun 2003
Source: Western Star, The (CN NF)
Copyright: 2003 The Western Star
Author: Melanie Callahan, Star Staff Writer
Bookmark: (D.A.R.E.)


Students at C.C. Loughlin Elementary School will be better prepared to
make the right decisions about drugs and alcohol following their
completion of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program.

Seventy-six Grade 6 students at C.C. Loughlin were the first in the
school district to graduate from this program. DARE is a collaborative
effort between police and educators.

DARE teaches kids how to recognize and resist the direct and subtle
pressures that influence them to experiment with alcohol, tobacco,
marijuana, and other drugs. The DARE program is usually introduced to
children in the 5th or 6th grade. Sgt. Paul Murphy, who was specially
trained, went into C.C. Loughlin one day a week for 17 weeks to teach
the children.

"I heard students say that it was excellent and that they could see a
difference in the choices they were making," said Sgt. Murphy. "They
saw that it is easy to make mistakes without thinking about the
consequences of their decisions. (The program) talked a lot about
consequences and taking responsibility for your actions and that is
life-related, not just for alcohol and drugs."

Student Robin Park praised the DARE program because she said she
learned how to avoid drugs and alcohol.

"It has taught me a lot about how harmful drugs can be," said Park.
"Everyone needs to be drug-free and you need to lead a healthy life.
DARE teaches you how. I have learned that drugs can kill you and will
kill you. Drugs can turn some people against you and you could lose
your family. Drugs can get you in trouble with people and can get you
involved with the wrong people."

Classmate Samantha Torraville said she would recommend the program to
her friends.

"I think it is good for young people to learn about drugs and
violence," Torraville said after completing the program. "And if
anyone I knew couldn't decide if they were going to do this program, I
would tell them to go for it. It is a chance of a lifetime.

"I think it is important to be drug-free and to avoid violence because
you could get sick and have to go to the hospital. It is also
disgusting pumping drugs into their bodies. This program has taught me
a lot."

Principal Mike Luedee recognized that the pressure to use drugs and
alcohol is prevalent among young people. He hoped that through
participation in the DARE program, students would be better equipped
to handle that pressure.

"If you have not been approached to try drugs, I guarantee you that
you will be in the next three years," said Luedee. "That will be an
important moment to make a decision. Do not be like the great majority
of students who make a decision and later realize the importance of
your decision."
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