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Daren mascot head What is D.A.R.E.? Daren mascot head


Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) is a validated, copyrighted, comprehensive drug and violence prevention education program for children in kindergarten through 12th grade. There is a parent-training program available for adults in addition to the school-based curricula. D.A.R.E. represents a collaborative effort between school and law enforcement personnel. D.A.R.E. America nationally coordinates the program, with input received from state and local agencies and communities.

D.A.R.E. is a cooperative program by the Virginia Department of State Police, the Virginia Department of Education and local law enforcement agencies and school divisions.

D.A.R.E. was initially funded in 1987 by a grant from the Virginia Department of Criminal Justices Services, and received additional support from the Governor’s allotment of the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act monies.  From July 1, 1988 until August 31, 2001, Virginia was funded as a Regional Training Center by a grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance.  Funding is also received from private donations.  During the 2006 General Assembly session, the D.A.R.E. Training office received funding in the amount of $85,000.00 per year.  These funds provide workbook assistance, increased training opportunities, and D.A.R.E. in-service. 

The D.A.R.E. Program and the value of the program itself are directly related to maintain continuity and the highest degree of integrity possible at local, state and national levels. For example, officers selected to become D.A.R.E. instructors must consistently possess character traits and a background conducive with the philosophy and demands of the program. Instructor training must consistently be conducted in strict accordance with established guidelines, to ensure that officers are provided with the information and skills necessary to consistently and effectively present the copyrighted curricula to children.

The primary goals of D.A.R.E. are to prevent substance abuse among school children (juveniles) and help them develop effective violence resistance techniques. The core curriculum targets young children to prepare them to avoid substance abuse and violence as they enter adolescence. D.A.R.E. lessons focus on the following objectives for all children:

The Department of State Police through the Virginia State D.A.R.E. Training Center is dedicated to the D.A.R.E. Program perpetuation and expansion in Virginia. The agency as a whole supports the mission of D.A.R.E.

Daren mascot standing


D.A.R.E. stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education.  The primary emphasis of D.A.R.E. is to assist students in recognizing and resisting the pressures that influence them to experiment with drugs.  A unique feature of the D.A.R.E. Program is the use of uniformed police officers as instructors.  The Core Program (ten week) is taught in the exit grade of the elementary school (fifth or sixth grade).  In addition to the ten core lessons, optional lessons dealing with bullying, gangs, internet safety, over-the-counter and prescription drug misuse, and role models have been added for delivery, as various agencies deem necessary.

The D.A.R.E. lessons focus on the six major areas:

Daren mascot head D.A.R.E. K- 4 Visitation Lessons Daren mascot head

Since implementation of D.A.R.E., 3,918,464 students in Kindergarten through 4th grade have received “visitation lessons.”  During the 2011-2012 school year, 91,134 students received instruction from D.A.R.E. Officers visiting their classrooms.  This includes public, private, and parochial schools across the Commonwealth.  The emphasis of the K-4 lessons is to assist D.A.R.E. officers in educating children to help keep them safe, drug free, and to teach them to recognize, avoid and report situations that may endanger their personal health and safety.  The following lessons are presented as visitation lessons:

Kindergarten Lesson:  Being Safe
Grades 1 and 2 Lesson 1:  Personal Safety
Lesson 2:  Drugs:  Helpful or Harmful?

Lesson 3:  Learning to Say NO
Lesson 4:  Dealing With Angry Feelings
Study Prints 1-20 Protecting Our Children Helping to Keep Them Safe, Drug-Free, and Violence-Free
  Lesson 1:  Laws and Rules to Keep Us Safe
Lesson 2:  Drugs May Help or Harm
Lesson 3:  Saying No to Drug Offers
Lesson 4:  Handling Conflicts
Lesson 5:  Avoiding Gangs and Gang Violence

A supplemental enhancement lesson is now available that concentrates on Internet safety.


The 5th - 6th Grade Core Program


Daren mascot standing arms crossedDuring the 2011-2012 school years, there were 90 school divisions that were involved in the D.A.R.E. Program at various levels.  There were 163 D.A.R.E. Officers delivering the curriculum either full time or part-time during the year.  With the delivery of the core lessons, 44,035 students received instruction in the D.A.R.E. Curriculum.  Since the implementation of the D.A.R.E. Program, 1,649,718 children have participated in the 5th/6th core curriculum.


The revised 5th/6th grade curriculum concentrates on facilitation and is very activity based in its delivery. The lessons involve a much more “hands on” approach to presenting the material. Students learn to utilize the new D.A.R.E. Decision Making Model that is as follows: Define…Assess…Respond…Evaluate. This model is used throughout the curriculum.


The revised curriculum consists of the following 10 lessons:

The curriculum was designed with the flexibility to allow local agencies to deliver and enhance information that is specific to their respective locations.  During 2005-2006, D.A.R.E. America presented several enhancement lessons that will supplement the current 10-lesson elementary course.  These lessons will deliver prevention information regarding gang involvement, violence, role models, and bullying.  Information has been added to the existing lessons pertaining to methamphetamine danger.

In the spring of 2007, Internet safety was added as an enhancement lesson and D.A.R.E. released its new Prescription Drug and Over the Counter Misuse curriculum that provides two optional elementary lessons, two add on middle school lesson and a stand alone high school presentation as well as an adult presentation.  An evaluation of the new Rx/OTC has been completed and they indicate the material is extremely effective in educating children on the proper use of prescription drugs and over-the –counter drugs and the dangers of misuse of each.  These lessons will be available to all agencies to utilize, as each locality deems necessary.

A new internet safety curriculum developed by IKEEPSAFE is now available to all D.A.R.E. Officers.  This curriculum contains lessons for K-4, fifth grade, and parent/community groups.

Additional lessons are in production and topics may include homeland security.

During the 2012 D.A.R.E. International Training conference conducted in Atlanta, Georgia, the final version to a new elementary curriculum was presented to all attendees.  This new program is entitled “Keepin” it REAL Elementary and was written by Dr. Michael Height of Penn State University.  This elementary version of “Keepin” it REAL transitions into the recently released “Keepin” it REAL middle school program also written by Dr. Height.  As with the middle school curriculum, the new elementary concentrates on decision making skills and refusal skills.  It is designed based on the Socio-Emotional Learning Theory (SEL).  SEL identifies fundamental, basic skills and developmental processes needed for healthy development including:

The curriculum uses this theory to teach youth to control their impulses and think about risks and consequences resulting in more healthy choices.

The program will continue to have ten lessons with the enhancement lessons available as each respective jurisdiction deems necessary.  The ten lessons are arranged in a scaffolding process, starting with the basics about responsibility and decision making and then building on each other allowing students to develop their own responses to real life situations.

The following lessons are included in the revised curriculum:

This curriculum will be PowerPoint based with embedded videos for ease of delivery for both existing and new D.A.R.E. Officers.  It will begin partial implementation at the beginning of the second semester of the 2012-2013 school year with full implementation beginning at the start of the 2013-2014 school year.

Middle/Junior High School D.A.R.E. Program

Daren mascot standing jumping

During the 2011-2012 school years, officers presented this level of D.A.R.E. to 10,876 students.   Since implementation, 599,660 students have completed the Middle/Junior High School D.A.R.E. Program.

 D.A.R.E. America in conjunction with Penn State University continues a partnership to deliver the “Keepin” it REAL middle school curriculum.  This program is listed on the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices.  It consists of ten lessons and utilizes the acronym REAL.  The letters stand for Refuse, Explain, Avoid, and Leave.  The lessons are offered in PowerPoint format and have five videos to enhance discussion of the material.  Videos are offered in three venues, Urban, Suburban, and Rural.  This will allow the D.A.R.E. Officer the choice of viewing the appropriate video for the geographic area in which they are delivering the curriculum.

The revised D.A.R.E. “Keepin” it REAL Middle/Junior High School Lessons are as follows:

In addition to the above listed lessons, two optional add-on lessons dealing with the misuse of prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs are now available.

With the implementation of the “Keepin” it REAL middle school curriculum, D.A.R.E. continues to be recognized as one of the most effective school based prevention networks worldwide.

Senior High School D.A.R.E. Program


Daren graduatingDuring the 2011-2012 school years, officer/teacher teams presented this level of D.A.R.E. to 2641 students.  The curriculum will be revised and updated as soon as possible.

The current D.A.R.E. Senior High Curriculum consists of the following ten lessons:

In addition to the above listed lessons, a stand-alone presentation on the dangers of methamphetamine use is now available for high school students.

The recently released prescription and over the counter drug misuse curriculum also contains a stand alone lesson on the dangers of abuse of Rx and OTC drugs.

D.A.R.E. Community Program

During the 2011-2012 school years, 393 interested adults completed the D.A.R.E. Parent/Community Program. 

The D.A.R.E. Parent program has been replaced with the recently released D.A.R.E. Community Education Recourses Program.  This was presented at the National D.A.R.E. Training conference in Nashville, Tennessee, July 16-19, 2007 and updates were provided during each subsequent International Training Conference.  The concept of this new program is to have a pool of topics that will be stand alone presentations that a D.A.R.E. Officer can deliver to various adult and community groups such as PTA’s, various clubs, churches, etc.  These will be approximately 45-60 minutes in length and will utilize a variety of presentation methods such as video, PowerPoint presentations, quizzes, etc.  Some of the material will be internet based utilizing a partnership between D.A.R.E. America and I Keep Safe.

The topics that are currently available for delivery to the communities throughout the Commonwealth are as follows:

Other topics are being developed and will be presented to the D.A.R.E. Officers as soon as they are released.

The Community Lessons dealing with Rx and OTC Abuse were developed with guidance from the following organizations: 

In addition to the various D.A.R.E. Curricula, D.A.R.E. Officers have delivered presentations covering various topics to 238,075 citizens throughout the Commonwealth.  These topics have included crime prevention topics such as Halloween safety tips, seat belts, child seats, Class Action, and many other related subjects.

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The Virginia State D.A.R.E. Training Office is poised to achieve many goals over the next year.  Through the combined support of The Department of State Police, Department of Education, D.A.R.E. America, and local agencies and school divisions, we hope to accomplish the following:

In the 2011-2012 reporting period Virginia D.A.R.E. Training Office has:

The Virginia State Training Coordinator, Sr. Trooper Gene Ayers, assisted with two training seminars conducted in Atlanta, Georgia, and as far away as Okinawa, Japan.   Additionally, Ayers served on an international team that delivered the second D.A.R.E. Officer Training to the Kingdom of Bahrain. 



P. O. Box 27472

Richmond, Virginia 23261

Telephone:   (804) 674-2639
   Fax:  (804) 674-2640

State Coordinator:  Gene E. Ayers, Senior Trooper



Virginia D.A.R.E. Training Center Applicant Survey
Virginia D.A.R.E. Training Center Application
Virginia D.A.R.E. Officer's Report


D.A.R.E. America  Daren logo   D.A.R.E. Kids