The Cranford Police Department has provided drug abuse resistance education in the form of D.A.R.E. programming since the early 1990’s. During this time, police officers have engaged in lessons and discussions with 5th grade students in the Cranford Public School District about the dangers of drug abuse. D.A.R.E. was first introduced as a tool for law enforcement to interact with schoolchildren in 1983, more than 31 years ago. During the course of its existence, D.A.R.E. updated its programming to the current “Too Good For Drugs” program, adopted by New Jersey D.A.R.E. This was a ten (10) week program that intended to empower students with drug resistance techniques, while educating them of the consequences of such risky behavior.
According to one piece of research conducted by David Hansen, PhD., “as early as 1994 when analysts from the Research Triangle Institute published their findings, the word was out: On the measure of stemming teenage drug use, D.A.R.E. didn’t work. Children who went through D.A.R.E. were no more likely to “say no” as adolescents than their uninstructed counterparts.”
Beginning in 2014, the Cranford Police Department transitioned from D.A.R.E. to Project ALERT, our flagship substance awareness education programming for Cranford youth.
Our initiatives were recently featured in an article by the Justice Technology Information Center (JTIC) at the following webpage.
Scope of Program: Project ALERT at a Glance
Project ALERT stands for Adolescent Learning Experiences Resistance Training. Its curriculum was created and tested by RAND, the nation’s leading think tank on drug policy. Developed over a ten-year period, Project ALERT addresses the pro-drug mindset of today’s teens and effectively increases their likelihood to remain drug-free. This program is a two (2) part curriculum; the first part is taught as an eleven (11) week program to address the basics of drug and alcohol prevention, while the second part is a three (3) week booster program to take that foundation of knowledge and expand the discussion to other current drug trends and peer pressure struggles. This programming is offered free of charge to every 6th grade student in Cranford, and beginning in 2016-2017, this programming will be provided to every 6th and 8th grade student.