DARE To Do RightTuesday, October 25, 2011 By Joseph Pratt Sophomore
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tobacco use causes one out of five deaths annuallyout 443,000 deaths per year. Each day 3,540 people, from ages 12-17, smoke their first cigarette. Out of all adult smokers, 70% of them want to quit. Many experts agree the best way to quit is to never start. Fifth graders at Cameron Middle School are learning how “not to get started”. They are doing this through the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program. DARE is a substance abuse prevention program. It is centered on school children between fifth and sixth grade and is used in 7 5% of school districts in the United States. DARE teaches kids about how to avoid drugs, gangs, and violence, as well as the devastating affects of drugs and alcohol. School Resource Officer James Proctor is the DARE teacher for CMS. He said, “I feel DARE makes a big difference. I think this gives them [the kids] a way to say no to the peer pressure. It is a really good program for the kids.” According to DARE statistics , students who participate in the program have lower alcohol, marijuana, and cigarette use then students who did not receive the program. Fifth Gr ader Lauren McBee said, “I’ve learned a cigarette has over 200 known poisons in it, and in one year over 400,000 people die from tobacco use. I also learned that it can cause lung cancer, mouth cancer, bladder cancer, and of bunch of other types of cancer.” During the 45 minute sessions each week, students participate in hand s- on activities and listen to Officer Proctor. “My favorite part of DARE is getting to meet Officer Proctor, and knowing that my future will be brighter if I don’t use drugs or alcohol,” said Fifth G rader Kellie Berry. Fifth graders who participate in DARE graduate from the program at the end of the year. “Usually there is a short ceremony and I supply pizza and water. Then we go to the skating rink and skate or see a movie,” said Officer Proctor. Doing this helps sh ow the kids they can have fun with their friends by doing other things th an doing drugs or alcohol. The fifth graders at Cameron Middle School have a great opportunity to participate in this great program and pledge to stay dru g-fr ee. Hopefully through DARE, many of their lives will be touched, and they will always remember to stay drug free.