1,400 law enforcement officers, educators, and government officials from 28 countries attend 22 training workshops.
LOS ANGELES, July 12, 2021 – On July 8th, D.A.R.E. International concluded one of the most productive and successful prevention education training conferences of the past decade. Nearly 1,400 law enforcement officers, educators, and government officials came together virtually for the free, two day training conference consisting of 22 workshops conducted in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.
The D.A.R.E. prevention education program is the largest in the world being taught to millions of K-12 students in dozens of countries. As such, the annual training conference has always had attendees from several countries. However, this year’s free, virtual conference format was unprecedented enabling participants from 28 countries including Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, the Kingdom of Bahrain, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Panama Philippines, Spain, Thailand, Uganda, the United Arab Emirates, and, of course, the United States.
“The tragedies of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States and throughout the world has had an immense impact upon the mental health of our children, and sadly also resulted in a frightening increase in opioid and other substance abuse, increased depression among students, and a dramatic spike in suicide ideation by teens. Consequently, this year’s conference focused heavily on student mental health issues which have been exacerbated by the high use of social media by children and teens.” stated Francisco Pegueros, President & CEO of D.A.R.E. International.
In response, President Pegueros, during his opening ceremony remarks, announced that D.A.R.E. International had formed a groundbreaking collaboration with the Organization for Social Media Safety (www.ofsms.org) to teach essential social media safety skills to students across the country. In just the first year of this initiative, vital lessons on social media-related dangers, like cyber-bullying, screen addiction, sexting, human trafficking, and the sale of illegal substances will potentially reach thousands of classrooms across the country through the D.A.R.E. program and parent programs presented by OFSMS.
“Accidental overdose is now the leading cause of unintentional death in the United Sates, and a lot of the drugs causing these deaths are being sold to our teens through social media,” said Dr. Laura Berman, a member of the Board of Directors of the Organization for Social Media Safety and this year’s conference Keynote Speaker. Earlier this year, Dr. Berman lost her 16-year-old son, Sammy, to Fentanyl poisoning after he connected with a drug dealer on social media.
Other topics covered in the 22 workshops included student mental health; social media safety; the impacts of COVID-19 on drug abuse; teen suicide update; teen vaping trends; what the marijuana industry doesn’t want you to know; and updates on D.A.R.E curricula and training.
Highly respected speakers from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, SAM – Smart Approaches to Marijuana, Stanford University, University of North Carolina Greensboro, the United States Public Health Service, and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention were among the many individuals presenting the workshops.
Launched in 1983, D.A.R.E. is the largest and most comprehensive K-12 prevention education program in the world taught in thousands of schools throughout America, as well as in dozens of other countries. D.A.R.E.’s official mission today is teaching students good decision-making skills to help them to lead safe and healthy lives. While D.A.R.E. curricula address drugs, it also focuses on violence, bullying, internet safety, and other high risk circumstances that could be a part of the daily life of students.
In response to a fast growing crisis of teen suicide ideation, attempts and tragic deaths, D.A.R.E. America partnered with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to adapt the Foundation’s “More Than Sad” mental health lesson for presentation to middle school and high school students.
“It’s really hard when you see someone that you know going down a bad path.” “There’s a lot of issues that confront these children today.”
“We’re a prevention program, prevent things from happening,” says Rafael Morales, the North Central Regional Director of D.A.R.E.
You probably remember yourself – or your kids– learning about ‘D.A.R.E.’ in school.
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Copyright © 2021 D.A.R.E. America. All Rights Reserved.
Copyright © 2021 D.A.R.E. America.
All Rights Reserved.