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GREENE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) – The Greene County Sheriff’s Office will soon help educate students on the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

The school division is bringing the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program back into the classroom after more than a decade of its absence.

Greene County Sheriff Steve Smith says the 10-week D.A.R.E. program will help give children the life skills to avoid drugs and build a better relationship with the sheriff’s office.

“D.A.R.E. stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education, it’s to help children to make better choices, hopefully not to fool with drugs, it also covers things like peer pressure,” Smith said.

The sheriff’s office and the school division haven’t had the program in county schools since 2004.

Sheriff Steve Smith says D.A.R.E. will help lead children down the right path.

“Hopefully with reaching out to the kids at this young age, it will help them, like I said, to make better decisions and that will ultimately lead to less calls having to deal with younger people and eventually adults as they grow up,” Smith said. “So it’s a way for us to get them young.”

D.A.R.E. is a 10-week program that will be taught during the school day by a sheriff’s office deputy.

Smith says having a presence in the classroom allows the sheriff’s office to build a better relationship with students.

“Every choice you make has a consequence, whether good or bad,” Smith said. “And to help them make better choices for good consequences, it also allows them to form a relationship with the deputies, to let them know that they’re there as their friends to help them out.”

Smith says after a number of requests from the community and teamwork with the school division, he’s happy the program will soon be up and running once again.

“It just covers a whole area of things as far as safety, as far at the consequences go – good and bad consequences,” Smith said.

The program will initially just be for fifth graders, but school division leaders say they hope to expand the program to other grades in the future.

From WVIR- TV NBC29

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