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District replaces DARE

When the DARE program was eliminated in April 2010 because of budget constraints, Saratoga Springs residents and school district administrators were left wondering what to do about drug, alcohol and tobacco education.

The Prevention Council may have a replacement of sortsor at least an alternativewith its program "Too Good For Drugs" that it already implements in other school districts around Saratoga County.

"It's utilized in eighth and sixth grade, the programs 'Too Good For Drugs' and 'Too Good For Violence.' The district asked us what we thought would work so we set up in Saratoga this year as a first try," said Pat Marin, Prevention Council's director of school-based prevention.

The intensive, science-based curriculum was tested out on fifth graders at Division Street and Geyser Road elementary schools in the Saratoga Springs City School District in early February and the remaining four schools are set to start the curriculum later in the year.

"I'm hoping we do more of this because DARE has been eased out of the schools," said Marin. "This was an opportunity because DARE was 16 or 17 lessons and the district really didn't want to see the kids lose out on a prevention service."

What makes "Too Good For Drugs" different from DARE is that it's science-based, said Marin.

"It's very interactive, great activities and talks about goal setting and decision making. We've always had our focus on presenting a program that children would make a decision they learn the risks of using a drug from a personal point of view and that you can change your perception of yourself growing up," said Marin. "Focus on what you want to do with your life and drugs can diminish that. This program is figuring this out and not so much about bad and the negatives."

Marin said the program covers tobacco, talks about resistance skills, ways to reduce pressure, role playing, communicating effectively and how to stand up to look someone in the eye and tell them how you feel. It promotes assertiveness and a digression from being passive and going along with someone else's decisions; taking responsibility for actions. It also features a lesson on alcohol and children of alcoholics.

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