Athens-Clarke County police announced Friday that the D.A.R.E. program would include information about opioids, in addition to existing curricula about drugs.
D.A.R.E., or Drug Abuse Resistance Education, has been taught in Athens-Clarke County for 18 years by law enforcement officers to reach roughly 16,000 students.
The addition of “Opioid and Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention lessons” is intended to “stop the crisis from taking hold at the source: in schools and homes,” according to a press release by the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office.
“What’s needed is prevention to keep people from misusing or abusing these incredibly addictive drugs in the first place,” said Sheriff Ira Edwards Jr. in the press release.
“This is especially important for young people, whose developing brains make them susceptible to lasting damage.”
Nationally, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that opioid-related deaths amounted to 7 per hour in 2016, but prevention programs are expected to diminish that number.
These opioid prevention lessons will be provided for free to Athens’ D.A.R.E. communities.