ELKINS - Elkins Mayor Van Broughton said he is in talks to reinstate the D.A.R.E program to educate Randolph County students about drug and alcohol prevention.
D.A.R.E., which stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education, is a prevention program dedicated to "teaching students good decision-making skills to help them lead safe and healthy lives" and a vision that includes "a world in which students everywhere are empowered to respect others and choose to lead lives free from violence, substance abuse, and other dangerous behaviors," according to the D.A.R.E. website.
The program was launched in 1983 by former Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates and the Los Angeles Unified School District to curb the "unparalleled drug abuse among youth in the 1970's and early 1980's." D.A.R.E. has grown through the leadership of educators and cooperating police officers throughout the U.S. and around the globe, the site states.
The program was previously coordinated in Randolph County by former Sheriff Jack Roy. The program is no longer taught in Randolph County schools and no program has been instituted to replace it.
And that's one of the motivating factors that led Broughton to try to bring it back.
"I think it's important to look into the various drug prevention and awareness programs," said Broughton. "D.A.R.E is the first one that came to my mind because it is a program that had a successful history in the county, even though it's been quite a few years since it had been instituted."
Broughton said he believes it is important to teach Randolph County youth about the full gamut of drug awareness, including how to identify drugs and those who use them as well as paraphernalia. He said it's important that a program is instituted that is both informative and interactive.
"D.A.R.E. is not our only option but we are definitely looking into it," he said. "We are looking into what it would take to cooperate with the school board and the local police departments to bring a program like this back to Randolph County."
Broughton said that right now the idea is in it's beginning stages and he is looking at different officials in the community to gauge their interest in bringing the program back.
"I'm definitely in support of the program," said Randolph County Sheriff Mark Brady. "I would love to see it come back to our schools."
For more information on D.A.R.E., go to the website www.dare.org.
Contact Chad Clem by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.