Maryland D.A.R.E.
6852 4th Street, Sykesville, MD 21784
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Maryland D.A.R.E.


D.A.R.E. has adopted “keepin’ it REAL” (kiR) as the NEW D.A.R.E. junior high/middle school curriculum.

D.A.R.E. America and The Pennsylvania State University have joined forces for D.A.R.E.’s delivery of "keepin’ it REAL “kiR.” Detailed information about “kiR” can be found on the SAMHSA National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) web site

“kiR” was developed by Pennsylvania State University (PSU) and the Arizona State University (ASU) with funding provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Implementation of the D.A.R.E.-“kiR” curriculum will commence following introduction of the program during the D.A.R.E. International Training Conference, July 2009.

The D.A.R.E.- “kiR” curriculum represents over 20 years of research by the Drug Resistance Strategies Project about why our youth use drugs. Out of this research a school-based substance abuse prevention program, “kiR”, was developed collaboratively by PSU and ASU.

Grounded in cultural norms and values, the program provides youth the skills to live drug-free lives confidently, drawing on their strengths and the strengths of their families and communities.

Within “kiR”, the acronym REAL is its central message, providing students with skills to employ in refusing offers to use drugs and engage in other high-risk behaviors -- Refuse, Explain, Avoid, and Leave.

These strategies help youth stay away from drugs by preparing them to act decisively, confidently and comfortably in a difficult situation.

The curriculum teaches students how to say no by presenting practical drug resistance strategies that are easy for them to remember and use. Students also learn how to recognize risk, value their perceptions and feelings, and make choices that support their values.

"kiR” an innovative, culturally-grounded, multicultural curriculum was developed to allow students to recognize themselves in the prevention message. The objective of the “kiR” curriculum is to reduce substance abuse by teaching students and allowing them to practice risk assessment, decision making, as well as valuable communication and life skills.

The “kiR” curriculum is organized as a 10-week, 10 lesson program. Each lesson requires one 40 - 45 minutes class period and is designed to promote interaction between students and officers. Fun activities are included to involve students in their learning and allow them to exercise "REAL" resistance strategies.

The program’s key learning tool is a series of videos involving high school youth and based on students’ real stories. The videos demonstrate how students have used "REAL" strategies to resist drugs in real life situations.

Efficacy of “kiR” was established during a rigorous scientific evaluation of program implementation in 35 middle schools in Phoenix, Arizona. Over 6,700 students participated in the evaluation, the results of which document that "kiR” reduces alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco use, teaches anti-drug norms and changes attitudes and expectations.

Based on the effectiveness of the program D.A.R.E America is partnering with PSU and “kiR” to bring the curriculum to students in classrooms throughout the nation and around the world.

D.A.R.E. America:
Since its inception in 1983, Drug Abuse

Resistance Education has become the largest school-based prevention education program worldwide. To date, D.A.R.E. has spread to 80 percent of America's school districts, encompassing 36 million students in all 50 states, as well as many foreign countries. D.A.R.E. is pleased to be part of the partnership and fully supports the research project and the new curriculum. Visit D.A.R.E. on the web at

D.A.R.E. began in 1983 as a partnership between the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Unified School District. The success of D.A.R.E.'s innovative approach soon attracted the attention of law enforcement and education nationwide, and it quickly spread from a local program involving 10 officers and 50 schools to a national and international icon.

Maryland D.A.R.E.:
D.A.R.E. debuted in Baltimore County in 1986. With the help of the Maryland State Police and other key agencies, D.A.R.E. soon spread to every sub-division under the direction of the Maryland Police & Correctional Training Commissions. The Maryland D.A.R.E. Coordinator's Office was established to provide training, guidance, and resources free of charge, as well as to establish policy, standards, and communications with D.A.R.E. America. It monitors programs and officers, while coordinating efforts for and among local agencies. The statewide D.A.R.E. effort culminates each year with the production and dissemination of an annual report.

Program Components:
K-4 Visitation - Acquaints children with the officer and lays the foundation for later curricula. Visits focus on child safety and prevention issues.

Elementary School - Designed for 5th / 6th grade, these ten lessons develop the capacities needed to enable students to take charge of their lives with particular emphasis on substance use and abuse. Lessons focus on: risks & effects, normative beliefs, pro-social behavior, refusal strategies, communication skills, forming relationships, assertiveness & resistance skills, and anger management.

Middle School - Ten lessons designed for 7th grade are integrally related to the elementary program, and facilitated to address the complex reasoning behind decisions and actions. The curriculum uses research and problem-based content and activities that are authentic, life- like and problem-based. It focuses on ways to deal with a specific set of problematic life situations, such as: understanding health, social and legal consequences, understanding their own beliefs, developing and using communication and resistance skills; and making positive quality of life decisions regarding drugs and violence.

High School - Ten lessons designed for 9th grade as a booster program. Designed to reinforce elementary and middle school objectives, this program addresses more mature teens with interactive learning strategies targeted to their authentic real-life issues.

D.A.R.E. Parent Program:
The prevention triangle includes police and schools, but parents (family) remain foundation. Much of the success of prevention programs rests in the reinforcement of concepts. Parents and family have more influence on a child's behaviors than any other source. These six sessions are designed to assist parents in preventing unhealthy destructive behaviors among children, and establish those protective factors, which enable children to grow up healthy despite negative influences.

Law Enforcement:
D.A.R.E. has the "gold standard" delivery system in the prevention field, according to the new curriculum developers. Seasoned law enforcement officers, who are specially trained, bring their experience and expertise into the classroom. Agencies that scrutinize the selection of their D.A.R.E. officer provide an exemplary role model who is seen as teacher and confidant by students. Maryland has approximately 105 such D.A.R.E officers representing 32 agencies from the majority of its counties.

In Maryland, D.A.R.E. is provided in the majority of counties through public and private schools. The program has the overwhelming support of teachers and administrators. D.A.R.E. aligns with health education learning outcomes and performance indicators approved by the Maryland State Department of Education. The D.A.R.E. curricula fulfill the requirements of a variety of cross-curricular outcomes. This allows D.A.R.E. to be incorporated into local school curriculums and augment instructional goals.

To meet the needs of the new program design, a new D.A.R.E. Officer Training course has also been developed. Graduates are certified in three program areas: K-4 visitation, Elementary, and Middle School. Because of their unique function on school campuses, D.A.R.E. Officers now receive training as School Resource Officers in this new training model. Since the new design focuses on student centered active learning strategies, officers are trained in facilitation skills and cooperative learning techniques rather than pure instructional techniques and lecture-based delivery.

Homeland Security:
The largest daytime populations in communities are confined to school campuses. In the event of a crisis, domestic or foreign terrorism, or other security threat, timely crisis response at these usually safe havens is critical. Specially trained D.A.R.E. Officers can be instrumental in the development and implementation of a school's action plan. They also serve as liaison, resource, and first line of defense for the school community and governmental agencies.

School Violence:
The officer's presence on campus and interaction with students proactively work to reduce the atmosphere for violence, while curriculum objectives address conflict and anger management.
We are interested in your comments. Please contact Claude Nelson, 410-875-3426 or email us.
Revised: February 04, 2008
© 2008 Maryland D.A.R.E.