D.A.R.E. Program in Wichita Falls

Wichita Falls children have an opportunity to learn how to stand up to peer pressure, this year the D.A.R.E. Program is making a bigger effort to reach children before drugs do.

D.A.R.E. has started a program called 'Keepin it Real' and it's targeted to junior high children.

D.A.R.E. officials say 12 to 14-year-olds who live in smaller towns are 104% more likely to use meth than those who live in larger cities.

The D.A.R.E. program in Wichita Falls is focused on preventing Texoma children from becoming part of that statistic.

"They're learning how to say no, how to refuse in making up their mind in whether they're going to make that choice or not," said WFPD Officer Danette Sheehan,  who is a D.A.R.E. Officer.

This is Officer Sheehan's first year with D.A.R.E ,or Drug Abuse Resistance Education. She stresses with drug education it's important to reach children at critical ages.

"Twelve year olds and preteens, it's a critical age, and with the new program that D.A.R.E has come up with is called 'Keeping it Real.' The junior high kids are learning different ways to say no," said Officer Sheehan.

Officer Sheehan says in the beginning kids will learn the different types of drugs and what those drugs can do to the body. In the 'Keeping it Real' program, children will also role play to learn more about certain drugs or alcohol. However, drug prevention education doesn't stop at school.

"They [parents] can expect the kids to come home and ask questions about either tobacco or alcohol, or any of the other drugs that we talk about," said Officer Sheehan,  "they should be expected to ask questions and ask them what did you learn what are some of the dangers if I do this."

D.A.R.E. officials did say that in most drug related cases people start small and work their way to the harder stuff. D.A.R.E's goal is to stop kids before they start anything at all.

This year's D.A.R.E. program begins September 7th. It's a ten week program that will last through the spring.