Drugs Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E) America, a national non-profit organization, was founded in 1983 by Los Angeles Police chief Darryl Gates and Glenn Levant. Narcotics-related crimes were the main problems that the LAPD faced. D.A.R.E. was based on his contention that the present generation had already surrendered to drug dependency and that the country's future lay with the readiness of its children to resist involvement. Gates believed that uniformed police officers were the best equipped to deliver the message that drug use has adverse effects.
CRO (Community Relations Officers) were the first DARE Officers to present high-stakes, peer-pressure refusal techniques in the classroom. DARE's regional program was so popular, it quickly expanded into a national and international research-based curriculum.
The instructors of the D.A.R.E. curriculum are local police officers who must undergo 80 hours of special training in areas such as child development, classroom management, teaching techniques, and communication skills. Police officers are invited by the local school districts to speak and work with students. Police officers are permitted to work in the classroom by the school district and do not need to be licensed teachers. There are programs for different age levels. Working with the classroom teachers, the officers lead students over a number of sessions on workbooks and interactive discussions.
The D.A.R.E. program enables students to interact with police officers in a controlled, safe, classroom environment. This helps students and officers meet and understand each other in a friendly manner, instead of having to meet when a student commits a crime, or when officers must intervene in domestic disputes and severe family problems.
It is also an important tertiary crime and violence prevention education program. The D.A.R.E. program cites cases where assertiveness and self-defense education helped prevent students from being harmed. D.A.R.E. officers also help schools when children are threatened, and their presence helps alleviate concerns about situations like school shootings and other threats of violence to children while at school.
Starting in 5th grade, elementary students are given lessons to act in their own best interest when facing high-risk, low-gain choices and to resist peer pressure and other influences in making their personal choices regarding:Tobacco Smoking, Tobacco Advertising, Drug Abuse, Inhalants, Alcohol Consumption and Health, and Peer Pressure in a Social Network.
In 6th, 7th and 8th grades,the middle school lessons are enhanced with activities on Teen OTC(over-the-counter)/Prescription Drug Abuse, Methamphetamine, Bullying, Gangs, Internet Safety, and more.
In senior high school, D.A.R.E. is a reinforcement and "Equal emphasis is placed on helping students to recognize and cope with feelings of anger without causing harm to themselves or others and without resorting to violence or the use of alcohol and drugs."