By: Bethany Winkel
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D.A.R.E. New Jersey Faces New Challenges
The well-known D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program which educates students about the dangers of drug abuse, will soon be replaced in New Jersey. The new program, called L.E.A.D. (Law Enforcement Against Drugs), has been established to teach the same curriculum as New Jersey D.A.R.E., a curriculum that has been retired by the national D.A.R.E. organization.
The new program is being instated after months of litigation over which curriculum to use, with New Jersey D.A.R.E. preferring the old curriculum (“Too Good for Drugs”) and the national D.A.R.E. insisting all its chapters use the new curriculum (“Keepin’ It Real”).
D.A.R.E. has faced its share of problems in recent years, with many arguing that its program is ineffective at preventing teen drug use. However, officials hope that L.E.A.D. will help the community address the issue of drug abuse among young people. “L.E.A.D. was started by a bunch of police chiefs and school superintendents in New Jersey to address the academic needs and comprehensive needs of drug prevention in the state,” said Nick DeMauro, who is currently the executive director of L.E.A.D., but previously served as the CEO of D.A.R.E. NJ for 17 years. “We have to educate our children, youth and residents, as much as we can. It should encompass everything from alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.”
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