Where did D.A.R.E go?

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - Drug abuse prevention experts work to keep Drug Abuse Resistance Education, better known as D.A.R.E., relevant in the 21st century.

"We have expanded what D.A.R.E started, let's say added to that continuum, " Paula Wilkinson, the executive director of Lifeways said.

Lifeways is an alcohol and drug abuse prevention and intervention program in Rapid City. They have drug counselors in Rapid City Area Schools.

Lifeways is taking the new approach to D.A.R.E in Rapid City.

If you were in elementary or middle school anytime from 1983 to 2013, you remember the D.A.R.E program.

Police officers came into your school and talked about the dangers of drug use and how to avoid peer pressure. Well, over-time this nationwide program was phased out of schools including here in Rapid City and some surrounding towns.

One problem was D.A.R.E. curriculum was shaped by police officers and teachers, but now prevention specialists are taking over.

Linda Colhoff-Glover, a certified prevention specialist for a program called the Alliance for Substance Abuse Prevention, is an advocate for expanding D.A.R.E.

Colhoff-Glover said, "The D.A.R.E program, that's a good program but you can't just do a one-shot deal. You can't just come in and tell kids drugs are bad and don't drink, you have to be there every year."

And Lifeways counselors have the benefit of observing first-hand what's going on by being in schools every day.

"You need to stay on top of the trends, because they could already know more than we know, so if we don't know, we aren't going to be able to help them, " Smith said.

And that trend right now is vaping. They're noticing kids vaping in the classroom while the teacher turns around.

Smith says social media plays a big part in it. She added, "Little Rapid City is no longer protected. Everything kids are doing nationwide good or bad is available to young people."