When it comes to substance abuse prevention, teens from all over the world often feel like “everyone” is doing drugs or has tried drugs. They may feel a societal peer pressure that tells them, “everyone else is trying it, why aren’t you?” This peer pressure is technically a form of bullying and something kids today should not have to endure.
Many schools from New York to Miami observe drug-free and bully-free programs, such as D.A.R.E. Other schools are required by their state’s laws to implement drug-free education starting as early as pre-kindergarten.
What exactly is D.A.R.E.?
D.A.R.E. stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education. It was founded in 1983 and seeks to prevent pre-teen and teenage drug use, among other things. According to the D.A.R.E. website, 26 million U.S. children actively participate in the program. Classes begin in 5th grade when the children are given lessons to act in their own best interest while facing peer-pressure situations involving drugs, alcohol, bullying and more.
How is Bullying Associated With Substance Abuse?
October is Bullying Prevention Awareness Month. Addiction specialists across the United States agree that bullying can be linked with addiction. Both being a victim of a bully and being the bully increases rates for self-esteem issues. Thus the intrigue of drugs and alcohol to avoid one’s own bad feelings of low self-worth becomes more enticing.
Programs such as the D.A.R.E. Program teach kids to understand how to react in many different situations. They teach that “friendly” peer-pressure encouraging someone to drink alcohol is really a form of bullying. Kids learn to stand up for themselves and stick to their convictions and beliefs. They learn how to feel good about themselves without having to give in to the bully. With early education about drugs and alcohol, kids have more knowledge and feel more confident to avoid common social pitfalls.
Which States Implement The Earliest Drug and Alcohol Education Curriculum?
All of the states in our country have their own by-laws when it comes to teaching drug education in school. Here are a few examples of where some of our states begin:
- New Jersey: Kindergarten. The Board of Education in New Jersey requires education on the nature of drugs and other substances in an age appropriate manner from grades K-12
- Pennsylvania: Kindergarten. Schools are required to teach about alcohol, tobacco and drug use from K-12.
- Connecticut: Pre-K. State statutes provide guidelines for teacher’s levels preK-12 on the dangers of using drugs and strategies to remain drug-free
- California: Grade Two. Distinguishes between helpful and harmful substances, including alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.
- Michigan: Kindergarten. Children learn core concepts about alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.
- Oklahoma: Kindergarten. The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics Education Group provides presentations from K-12.
- North Carolina: Kindergarten. Children are taught to identify the difference between medicine and substances that are non-medicinal.
Whether your child is learning about drug-prevention from a teacher in school, dealing with a bully who is peer pressuring him or her, or you simply want to know more about programs that your state offers, educating yourself is a great way to prevent the kids of today from becoming a next generation of substance abusers
Programs for Substance Abuse in Florida
Cornerstone Recovery Center offers programs for substance abuse to clients from New York to Miami and all over the country. For guidance or advice on how to talk to your kids about drugs, call 888-711-0354 to speak to an admissions counselor today or contact us online.