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ELLSWORTH – The drug battle in Hancock County is shifting to elementary schools.

An old ally in the drug war is being enlisted to teach kids the dangers of drugs.

The official name is Drug Abuse Resistance Education. It’s known as the D.A.R.E. program. It’s more than 30 years old.

It was started by the Los Angeles Police Department, spreading rapidly across the country.

The Hancock County Sheriff’s Office offered the program in the past, “but being able to offer it to all the county schools has been gone since 2002,” said Scott Kane, Hancock County Sheriff.

Now, the sheriff says it may have the same name, but the content has changed.

“And, it’s a program that teaches kids how to make good decisions. And that’s what we’re looking for. We’re looking for kids to make good decision,” said Kane.

While the D.A.R.E. program offers a wide-range of content, the Hancock County lessons will target 5th and 6th graders.

That’s because “they became exposed to an older group of kids at that point,” Kane said during an interview Monday morning.

A local group, Healthy Acadia, is funding the training of the officers.

Kane says he expects to have officers trained and ready to teach the course by fall 2017 at the latest.

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