Students graduate from police drug programme

| 16/06/2009

(CNS): Some 581 primary school studentsfrom across Grand Cayman graduated from the police anti-drug programme DARE this weekend. In its 9th year in Cayman the programme is taught to children in school between the ages 10-11 by police officers and although it has received considerable international criticism it is currently the only formal anti-drug and alcohol programme taught in Cayman schools.


Scientific evaluation studies have consistently shown that DARE is ineffective in reducing the use of alcohol and drugs and is sometimes even counterproductive. The U.S. General Accounting Office, the U.S. Surgeon General, the National Academy of Sciences, and the U.S. Department of Education, among many others have all criticised the programme.

The programme has however been praised by the United States Department of Justice for "humanizing" the police, placing officers in a helping role, not just an enforcement one, opening lines of communication between law enforcement and youth and for opening dialogue between the school, police, and parents to deal with other issues.

The DARE curriculum is designed to be taught by police officers whose training and experience gives them the background needed to answer the often sophisticated questions posed by young students about drugs and crime. The programme is however intended to teach children not just about the dangers of drugs, tobacco and alcohol but also about violence and aims to provide participants with the skills needed to avoid and deal with situations involving any of these societal issues.

Cayman students who had worked hard to graduate from the programme this weekend all received certificates of achievement and a t-shirt. Those who won the essay competitions were also presented with their awards. The ceremony took place at the Marriott Beach Resort where friends family the Governor Stuart and the new Commissioner of Police, David Baines among others.


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