Pubdate: Fri, 27 Nov 2009
Source: Kelowna Capital News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2009, West Partners Publishing Ltd.
Bookmark: (D.A.R.E.)
Bookmark: (Youth)


A long-running drug education program is being cut from Kelowna
schools in January due to dwindling police resources.

RCMP Supt. Bill McKinnon said that given the resource pressures
presently being experienced, the RCMP in Kelowna could no longer
continue to teach the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program
and would re-allocate the position to the Serious Crime Unit.

The DARE program has run in area schools for 11 years. It involves
RCMP school liaison officers teaching 10 lessons per class on healthy
choices and decision models children can use when faced with drugs.

RCMP Insp. Cam Forgues said the detachment is supportive of the DARE
program and the benefits it provides both to area youth and the
detachment. "It's a difficult decision to make, but is necessary to
re-allocate the funds from the program into our homicide
investigations," Forgues said.

"Our detachment is committed to bringing forth an alternate program
that will involve fewer resources and yet still be effective in our
schools. Our detachment is just tapped out, and we have to make
cutbacks within."

RCMP Sgt. Ann Morrison has been teaching the DARE program for 11
years. She said the alternate program being developed in Kelowna would
deliver one or two lessons on making healthy choices regarding drugs.

Morrison said she saw benefits of the school-based program in a
positive relationship between officers and children, and in providing
the children with a decision model they can use well into adulthood.

Morrison noted the cut is ultimately a decision about resources, and
pointed out McKinnon is having to do more with less. She said it is
difficult to have a full-time police officer allocated to teaching
DARE. Morrison added the school district is under similar

She noted that the RCMP detachment is committed to staying in schools.
"We believe that is where we need to be." 
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