Pubdate: Wed, 09 Jun 2004
Source: Daily Herald (IL)
Copyright: 2004 The Daily Herald Company
Author: Beth Sneller
Bookmark: (D.A.R.E.)
Bookmark: (Youth)


It's official: Too Good for Drugs will be Naperville's new anti-drug 
initiative next year.

Police and educators are preparing to learn about the curriculum at 
intensive workshops next week.

The 10-week program will replace the long-running but controversial Drug 
Abuse Resistance Education, or DARE, which has lost state funding.

Naperville City Council last month approved spending $5,000 for materials. 
Training costs will be funded by a private donor, Naperville police Sgt. 
Mark Ksiazek said.

The program will be introduced to fifth-graders in all Naperville Unit 
District 203 and private schools, and in the Naperville schools in Indian 
Prairie Unit District 204.

Created by the Mendez Foundation, Too Good for Drugs 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.

Teachers will be attending next week's workshops to learn about the themes 
the curriculum will be addressing.

"They can look at what's taught in a lesson and bring it into different 
areas of the classroom," Ksiazek said. "The supplementary lesson plans are 
called extenders."

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 But criticisms the program is outdated and 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

"Our administration decided we're not going to try to justify this 
anymore," he said.

Last February, a committee of representatives from both Naperville school 
districts, NCO Youth & Family Services, Breaking Free and Ss. Peter and 
Paul School began looking for an alternative to DARE.

They decided Too Good for Drugs - named a model program by the U.S. 
Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration - was what they needed.

Now, other towns need to decide if they want to follow Naperville's lead.

Representatives from other police departments, including St. Charles and 
Oak Forest, also will attend the training sessions, Ksiazek said.

They want to see for themselves whether the curriculum really is a better 
choice than DARE.

"A lot of departments decided to stick with DARE for one more year," 
Ksiazek said. "But next year, they're probably going to be looking for 
other options."

Program: Fifth-graders the first target
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