Editorial: Conversation on drugs, alcohol continues to evolve

  • By Peninsula Clarion Editorial
  • Saturday, March 3, 2018 9:02pm
  • Opinion

Times have changed, and so has the message behind D.A.R.E., the long-running program for elementary school students administered by law enforcement officers.

As the Clarion reported this week, while D.A.R.E. still stands for “drug abuse resistance education,” the acronym is now used to describe a different set of skills taught to students participants: “define, assess, respond, evaluate.”

The program now emphasizes life skills that students can apply to many different situations — not just the drugs and alcohol “just say no” message many of us remember from years ago.

“The whole goal is to educate them to resist using drugs,” Soldotna Police Officer Tobin Brennan told the Clarion. “But the way that they do that is not through scare tactics, but through life skills.”

We think providing young people with the tools to make good decisions about any situation, whether it is evaluating the consequences of risky behavior, or simply looking for help with a book report, is a valuable component to any education.

Quite frankly, having the skills to deal with stress, peer pressure, bullying and other of life’s many challenges is something we can all benefit from, regardless of our age.

We also hope that the conversation doesn’t end with the D.A.R.E. program graduation. Today’s youth — even in the small communities of the central Kenai Peninsula — face challenges we couldn’t even imagine 30 years ago, when “just say no” was enough. We encourage parents to continue to talk to their kids about risky behaviors. We know children benefit tremendously from having responsible adults in their lives, and as distant as a son or daughter may at times seem, we know parents are still their biggest influence.

So please, keep the conversation going. What’s age-appropriate to discuss with a fifth-grade D.A.R.E. participant will change and evolve as he or she gets older — just as the D.A.R.E. program has evolved — but we’re glad to see our young people equipped with the tools to do so. Let’s make sure they are able to keep putting those skills to use.

More in Opinion

Deborah Morel’s beachhouse near Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo courtesy of Deborah Morel)
Voices of the Peninsula: The Dream Team saves the day

The story, I believe, speaks to the goodness of humankind.

teaser
Opinion: The truth Dunleavy should tell about COVID vaccines

Dunleavy made a political calculation to appease his party’s angry base by joining the lawsuits against the mandates.

Laura Black, owner of Fireweed Bakery, sells some of her wares during the Merry Little Christmas Market at the Peninsula Center Mall in Soldotna, Alaska on Nov. 7, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
Opinion: Shop local this holiday season!

By Julie Anderson Shopping locally has never been as important or as… Continue reading

A resident casts their vote in the regular municipal election Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020 at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
Voices of the Peninsula: What do voting statistics say about our democracy?

Kenai Peninsula Borough total voter turnout in this past October 2021 municipal election was a sad 11.84%.

Tease
Opinion: Rural broadband is essential infrastructure

Broadband funding is available. The rest is up to Alaskans.

Nurse Sherra Pritchard gives Madyson Knudsen a bandage at the Kenai Public Health Center after the 10-year-old received her first COVID-19 vaccine on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Alaska Voices: A mom’s and pediatrician’s perspective on COVID-19 vaccines for children

I want to see children and their parents who have yet to get vaccinated roll up their sleeves.

Larry Persily (Peninsula Clarion file)
Opinion: State defends its right to cut nonexistent taxes

This from a state that has no property tax on homes or businesses, only on the oil industry.

Gavel (Courtesy photo)
Opinion: The foolish men claiming self-defense

It’s not just misguided teenagers carrying guns who find themselves in trouble with the law.

Dr. Jay Butler, former chief medical officer for the State of Alaska, is seen in this undated photo. (Courtesy photo)
Alaska Voices: Feeling grateful this Thanksgiving for the COVID vaccines

The COVID vaccines remain our strongest tool in combating the pandemic and helping us return to our lives and the things we love and cherish.

Most Read