Sheriff’s department changes drug education curriculum
After several years of teaching D.A.R.E. in Dickinson County schools, Deputy Brandon Depew switched to L.E.A.D. While both programs have similar end goals, the delivery is different.
In comparing the two, Depew said he believes the Law Enforcement Against Drugs is more effective and updated than Drug and Abuse Resistance Education.
The L.E.A.D. program is updated every two years whereas the last update to D.A.R.E. was in 2009.
“This program has been great for our students but in all honesty, the program has not changed much since I went through it back in 1995,” he said. “In law enforcement, we are seeing constant changes in drug trends, as in who is using along with what and how they are using.”
For example, between 2011 and 2015 there was a 900% increase in vaping among middle and high school students.
There have also been changes in drug laws, which are not addressed in D.A.R.E.
“With the current trends and the legalization of marijuana, we are seeing more of that end up in the hands of our youth,” Depew said. “One big thing that we appreciated with the [L.E.A.D.] program, is that they actually talk about marijuana. That was something that wasn’t really discussed in the D.A.R.E. program.”
Both programs use lecture and activity-based learning but L.E.A.D. takes this one step further and has adapted its program to go along with social-emotional learning styles, Depew said.
“D.A.R.E. has one lesson that is dedicated to drugs, which simply goes over the difference between a prescription and illicit drugs,” he said. “During this lesson, it goes over the health effects of tobacco and alcohol on the body. Following this D.A.R.E. goes into the resistance aspect of the program which is very communication-based. This is where I believe L.E.A.D. sets itself apart from D.A.R.E. as it lays out the program in a more familiar timeline.”
L.E.A.D. starts out helping students set goals for their future and form relationships. Once the students have become familiar with their goals, it then shows where the students can lose their goals and relationships with the use of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs.
Like D.A.R.E., L.E.A.D. is a 10-week course comprised of 45-minute lessons. Depew will start teaching it again in the fall at all Dickinson County schools with the exception of Abilene.