Pubdate: Fri, 12 Mar 2004
Source: Daily Herald (IL)
Copyright: 2004 The Daily Herald Company
Author: Beth Sneller
Bookmark: (D.A.R.E.)


A community coalition may have found an anti-drug effort to replace DARE in 
Naperville schools by next fall.

Supporters say the program, Too Good for Drugs, focuses on making healthy 
choices and building character.

It uses "social norms marketing" to stress to students how few of their 
classmates use drugs and alcohol and encourages youngsters to interact with 
parents through homework assignments.

Representatives from Naperville schools, drug prevention groups and the 
police have been meeting since November to find an alternative to the 
long-running but increasingly controversial Drug Abuse Resistance Education 

Naperville police officers have brought the DARE curriculum to 
fifth-graders since 1993. But criticism the program is outdated and doesn't 
really work have taken their toll, Sgt. Mark Ksiazek said.

"We were defending it on a regular basis," he said Thursday. "It's a 
wonderful program, but it didn't keep up with the times."

Even the state dropped funding for DARE at the beginning of the 2003-04 
school year.

Police Chief David Dial asked Ksiazek to form a committee to research other 

The panel includes representatives from Naperville Unit District 203, 
Indian Prairie Unit District 204, Breaking Free, NCO Youth & Family 
Services and Ss. Peter and Paul School.

Members said the curriculum should be scientifically valid, cost-effective, 
meet state and federal standards, and include character-building activities.

There also has to be some method of measuring how effective it is, members 

"There are a lot of programs out there," Ksiazek said. "But we were 
specifically looking for one that met these criteria - and there weren't many."

The committee came upon Too Good for Drugs, which has been named a model 
program by the U.S. Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration.

"It has been scientifically researched and has been shown to have positive 
outcomes in many different settings," said Shari Johnson, assistant In 
Touch coordinator at Breaking Free and a committee member.

Too Good for Drugs is a 10-week program. DARE originally lasted 17 weeks, 
but will be shortened to 10 next year.

Although Too Good for Drugs doesn't specifically include a "graduation," 
Naperville schools likely would add their own, Ksiazek said.

"That was always a big hit with the DARE program," he said. "There should 
be a recognition component there."

Districts 203 and 204 and the other organizations in the coalition still 
need to decide if Too Good for Drugs is the right approach, Ksiazek said. 
The city council also has to take a look at the program.

If all organizations give their stamp of approval, it could be implemented 
in time for the 2004-05 school year, officials said.

The District 204 curriculum committee began discussing the program this 
week for the schools in the Naperville portion of the system.

Aurora schools in District 204, however, will continue using the 10-week 
DARE curriculum.

Drugs: City council to look at program
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom