Educational experts agree that helping children develop good decision-making skills and understand the consequences of their actions needs to start at an early age and continue through high school. And that’s exactly why D.A.R.E. has developed a series of curricula and programs that collectively offer the most comprehensive education program of its kind. D.A.R.E. curricula have been created through partnerships with some of the most respected institutions and individuals in America including Penn State University, Arizona State University, University of Akron, as well as leading experts in the field of drug abuse and prevention science.
D.A.R.E.’s keepin’ it REAL Elementary School curriculum continues a more than thirty year commitment to providing cutting edge instruction that helps prevent drug use by developing basic, core skills needed for safe and responsible choices…skills that extend well beyond drugs to healthy and mature choices in life.
The curriculum, designed based on the Socio-Emotional Learning Theory (SEL), identifies fundamental, basic skills and developmental processes needed for healthy development including:
- Self-awareness and management
- Responsible decision making
- Understanding others
- Relationship and communication skills
- Handling responsibilities and challenges
SEL theory teaches youth to control their impulses and think about risks and consequences resulting in more responsible choices. D.A.R.E. believes that if you can teach youth to make safe and responsible decisions, it will guide them to healthy choices, not only about drugs, but across all parts of their lives. As they grow to be responsible citizens, they will lead healthier and more productive drug-free lives.
The course’s ten lessons are arranged in a scaffolding process, starting with the basics about responsibility and decision making and then building on each other allowing students to develop their own responses to real life situations. The very first lesson starts with responsibility and introduces decision making with subsequent lessons applying these skills in increasing complex ways to drug use and other choices in their lives.
Based upon more than 20 years of research by the Drug Resistance Strategies Project about why our youth use drugs, D.A.R.E. America collaborated with Penn State University and Arizona State University to create keepin’ it REAL, a state-of-the-art, middle school substance abuse prevention program.
Grounded in cultural norms, the program teaches youth how to live drug-free lives confidently, drawing on the strengths of the students, their families, and communities.
Like the elementary school curriculum, the acronym “REAL” is the central message of the curriculum and teaches youth four ways to refuse drug offers — Refuse, Explain, Avoid, and Leave. These strategies help youth stay away from drugs by preparing them to act decisively and responsibly in difficult situations.
Evidence Based; Proven Efficacious
The curriculum is evidence-based and has been evaluated in a randomized controlled trial and found to be efficacious. The 10-lesson middle-school curriculum is highly interactive, involves multiple media materials that youth find engaging, and, like the elementary school curriculum, is based on Social Emotional Learning (SEL) principles that fit well with current research and practice in teaching middle-school youth.
The rigorous, scientific evaluations of the D.A.R.E. keepin’ it REAL curriculum for students in grades six through nine, show students completing the course evidenced a:
- 32% to 44% reduction in marijuana, tobacco, and alcohol use;
- 29% to 34% decrease in intent to accept substances; and
- Reduction and cessation of substance use.
D.A.R.E. High School Curricula
myPlaybook: Core is a four-lesson curriculum designed for delivery to High School Students, ideally in 9th or 10th grade. The lesson content is aligned with D.A.R.E. Elementary and Middle school program concepts, continuing the focus on understanding risk behavior and making decisions that support safety and health.
Lesson 1: Your Community and Perceptions of Alcohol and Other Drug Use
- Identify themselves as important members of their school community.
- Understand the relationship between Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) use and being a good community member.
- Understand the role social norms play in shaping their behavior.
- Understand that high school students who choose not to drink or do drugs are in the majority.
Lesson 2: Consequences
- Understand how alcohol and drugs affect the adolescent brain.
- Describe the negative consequences of alcohol and drug use.
- Accurately understand risk for experiencing consequences of alcohol and drug use.
Lesson 3: Reasons for Use and Resisting Pressure
- Understand the reasons some people use AOD and alternatives to use.
- Understand why people might pressure others to use AOD.
- Have a personal plan for opting out of pressure or offers to use AOD.
Lesson 4: Being an Upstander
- Understand themselves as important members of their high school community.
- Understand pressures that they and their peers may be facing.
- Feel confident stepping into a scenario safely.
EVIDENCE-BASED. IMPACTFUL. EFFECTIVE.
D.A.R.E.’s high school curricula program consists of three distinct modules that offer educators and law enforcement flexible and cost-effective options for providing students with relevant and timely information and tools to exercise responsible decision-making. The curricular components are independent, yet supportive of one another. The modules can be implemented individually, as companion pieces, or as a complete suite.
REAL Messages, 9th or 10th Grade
D.A.R.E.’s REAL Messages is a health and media literacy curriculum that reduces alcohol, tobacco, and other drug abuse. It promotes healthy and safe behavior by improving students’ abilities to analyze and critically evaluate the promotion of substance use in media such as social media, TV, print, and other forms.
REAL Messages is designed to promote positive officer/student relationships without serious demands on law enforcement personnel resources. The on-line module consists of five brief, highly interactive lessons delivered through state-of-the-art e-learning format. The officer delivers an introduction and concluding lesson while students complete the rest of the curriculum online. The program for 9th or 10th grade students can be delivered in a flexible format in one week or spread over 5 weeks.
D.A.R.E.’s REAL Messages is adapted from an evidence-based curriculum shown to change attitudes and intentions to use drugs. A self-paced curriculum, REAL Messages engages students to create their own anti-drug messages that they can share with friends and the community. REAL Messages is an immersive and fun way to teach students to analyze ads they see every day and develop critical thinking ability.
- Is an engaging and fun way to teach students toanalyze ads they see every day and develop criticalthinking ability
- Meets state standards for health education and other9th or 10th grade classes
- Provides teachers feedback on student performancein the lessons
myPlaybook High School Curriculum 9th, 10th or 11th Grade
Designed for a high school’s general student body, myPlaybook is modeled after an evidence-based program that has been shown to reduce alcohol and drug use. Created through an alliance between D.A.R.E. America; Prevention Strategies, an official affiliate of the University of North Carolina; and REAL Prevention, myPlaybook has demonstrated truly exciting results!
High school students who completed the course experienced:
- Greater improvements in skills to resist drug offers
- More accurate perceptions that friends view drug use as unacceptable
- Decreased intentions to use alcohol and cigarettes in the next 30 days
- Reductions in past month alcohol use
The curriculum engages students with interactive tools and is delivered using state-of-the-art instructional design that is both engaging and fun. Students do not just simply read and click through information; rather, they answer questions, make predictions, and evaluate their own behavior.
Like all other D.A.R.E. courses, myPlaybook is taught by highly trained law enforcement officers with one significant difference – as a web-assisted curriculum designed to afford continued positive officer/students interaction, it actually reduces the demands upon law enforcement personnel resources. The D.A.R.E. officer delivers two lessons and students complete the rest of the course on-line.
myPlaybook high school curriculum meets many state Standards of Learning for health education and has been used successfully in 9th/10th grade health classes.
myPlaybook Student Athlete Supplemental Lesson 9th, 10th or 11th Grade
The myPlaybook curriculum for the general student body also includes the Student Athlete Supplemental Lesson. This lesson, provided at no extra cost, is an evidence-based curriculum is intended to address the unique challenges drugs and alcohol present to student athletes.
Additionally, the Student Athlete supplemental lesson is…
- Tailored to educate on substances that can inhibit abilities to reach full athletic potential and develop effective strategies to deal with potentially harmful situations
- Constructed so students develop good decision-making skills regarding multiple substances that can negatively affect athletic performance
- Designed to attend to state Standards of Learning for health education and has been used successfully in 9th/10th grade health classes
“We saw the brain and how drugs can affect the brain and memory. The lessons were easy to understand because of all the pictures.”
– High School Student who completed the myPlaybook curriculum
“Celebrating Safely” A Supplemental Resource Packet, 11th or 12th Grade
D.A.R.E.’s high school curricula also provide a unique Resource Packet for a high school’s homecoming, prom, and graduation seasons addressing underage drinking and providing guidance for celebrating safely. “Celebrating Safely” is the first entry what will become a library of D.A..R.E. high school standalone presentations.
The Resource Packet includes…
- A Presentation that serves as a written guide on underage drinking and provides safety tips for celebrations. The presentation is perfect for assemblies or individual classes
- PowerPoint slides to visually accompany the presentation
- A Film illustrating safety tips for celebrations
- A Script for a live student performance illustrating safety tips for celebrations
- Pamphlets for parents containing safety tips for celebrations and transportation tips
More Than Sad: Teen Mental Health Enhancement Lesson
1 in 5 U.S. adolescents aged 13-18 have experienced a serious mental health disorder1. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in young people aged 10-242.
More Than Sad is a 45 minute enhancement lesson designed for delivery by D.A.R.E. Officers to High School students, ideally in 9th or 10th grade. D.A.R.E. collaborated with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) to adapt this lesson for delivery by D.A.R.E. Officers. The purpose of the lesson is to teach teens to recognize the signs of depression in themselves and others, challenge the stigma surrounding depression, demystify the treatment process, and encourage students to talk to a trusted adult about mental health concerns.
- Identify signs and symptoms of depression in self and others.
- Recognize that depression is an illness that responds to treatment.
- Recognize that alcohol and other drugs have a negative effect on mental health.
- Describe ways to seek help with mental health.
- Identify treatment that is available and effective.
Vaping Enhancement Lesson
Vaping nicotine nearly doubled among high school seniors from 11 percent in 2017 to 20.9 percent in 2018. More than 1 in 10 eighth graders (10.9 percent) say they vaped nicotine in the past year, and use is up significantly in virtually all vaping measures among eighth, 10th and 12th graders1. These are—by far—the biggest one-year increases ever seen for any substance in the history of the MTF survey2.
The Vaping enhancement lesson is a 45 minute lesson designed for deliver by D.A.R.E. Officers. This lesson has two versions that present the information at two developmentally appropriate levels of complexity: one is designed for Middle School students in 7th or 8th grade, and one for High School students in 9th or 10th grade. In these lessons, students will learn about the risks associated with vaping and understand how knowledge of risk factors increases over the lifespan of a product.
- Recognize and identify basic information about vaping.
- Understand that most people in their grade do not vape.
- Identify similarities between tobacco and vape use, attitudes, and effects.
- Identify risks associated with nicotine use.
- Understand that products initially appearing safe may later be considered harmful as research and user data are studied over time.
Today’s youth face unprecedented risks that no prior generation has ever faced. In response, D.A.R.E. has created two “enhancement” lessons that supplement other D.A.R.E. curricula and provide important information for parents as well.
Prescription & Over-the-Counter Drug Abuse
Recognizing the alarming increases in the abuse of prescription drugs and Over-the-Counter medicines, D.A.R.E. convened a meeting with national experts to create specialized lessons to educate students and their parents about the risks and consequences abusing prescription and OTC medicines. These lessons are available for elementary school, middle school, and high school classrooms, as well as presentations for parents and community groups.
Access to the internet has permeated our society creating significant challenges for schools and parents to ensure the safety of their children. D.A.R.E. partnered with the Internet Keep Safe Coalition – an international alliance of more than 100 policy leaders, educators, law enforcement members, technology experts, public health experts, and advocates – to create unique educational materials for D.A.R.E. officers to present in schools to help ensure safe use of the internet.
The D.A.R.E. Mobile App is a free download available through Apple and Google Play stores – Search “daremobile” all one word.
D.A.R.E. Mobile Starter Guide is found under the “Help” tab at DAREmobile.org
D.A.R.E. Mobile Webinar Trainings – Schedule a webinar training by contacting us via email at email@example.com.
Special group webinar trainings available for State Conferences, DOTs or whenever a group of D.A.R.E. Officers are gathered.
Available Now…! English, Spanish and French versions of the Elementary Keepin’ It Real digital workbook!
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