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CABARRUS COUNTY, N.C. – The growing opioid epidemic is such a concern that the D.A.R.E. program is creating special lessons across the nation to teach kids about it.

Cabarrus County Deputy Keith Drake, the resource officer at Bethel Elementary in Midland, showed Eyewitness News how he uses flash cards to teach kids about crossing the street and stranger danger. Soon, he’ll have new materials showing the dangers of prescription pills.

“It is young but unfortunately in the world that we live in right now, with everything that’s going on with the opioid crisis, these kids they see it,” Drake said.

D.A.R.E. America announced it is creating an opioid abuse curriculum for elementary, middle, and high school students.

The organization posted an animated presentation with a quiz on its website, breaking down the drugs and how people become addicted. It also warns kids about taking drugs prescribed to other people, or taking their prescriptions for longer than prescribed.

Parent David Teague thinks the lessons are needed.

“I have a few family members that have suffered from that so I think the younger you get started making it a reality to those kids the better off they are,” Teague said.

Drake said some students have already been exposed.

“They may not be doing the drugs, but they see what their parents are going through the same with their uncles, brothers and sisters, they see that,” Drake said.

Drake said he wants them to have trusted role models to guide them to make the right choices.

D.A.R.E. officers will start going through their new materials and the new curriculum during training over the summer and schools with D.A.R.E. programs will see the changes next school year.

Depending on where you live, your child’s school may not offer the D.A.R.E. program. Learn more about North Carolina’s program here.

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