Eric Moss has been teaching D.A.R.E. in Boonville for four years and discusses some problems our school children are facing. He also discusses a new approach D.A.R.E. will be taking to combat drug use.
Are there any new trends facing our Boonville students as far as drugs? There has been a downward trend in the use of alcohol, tobacco and marijuana use.
What do you think the biggest problem facing fifth through eighth grades and high school students? Fifth graders are starting to have peer pressures from older kids. Once they move from David Barton to LSE the peer pressures increase as well. In high school there is alcohol, marijuana and synthetics. Kids started using synthetic marijuana a couple years ago because it was legal. The synthetics are a big problem.
When did the synthetics become a major problem and is there any data on its usage?
They started getting into the mainstream in the last two years. It is so new there is no data on the use of synthetics.
How can kids afford synthetic drugs since they are much more expensive than marijuana? We have seen a lot of pills get stolen from the homes, which can be sold on the street for quote a bit of money. Synthetic drug use is still below marijuana use.
Are there any other drugs that pose a major problem? Bath Salt use is around one percent according to monitoringthefuture.org. We are lucky that is lower because it is terrible stuff.
How do you get students to think more about the future? Last year D.A.R.E. started a new curriculum, which will be less about drug use and more about building a foundation on decision making. Studies have shown instructing kids abut drugs is not helping them make decisions because they cannot make good decisions at that age. The program will educate these students on making better decisions, thinking about the future.
What are roles do the parents have? Regardless if the student is good or bad, do drugs, don't do drugs, parents need to be more active in their children's lives. They need to communicate with their children and then be an active participant in their children's lives. Give your children a purpose and something to do, anything to get the kids vested in their community.
Because we are a small community, how does this impact how you teach our students? I am here if they need someone to talk to. As these students get older they will become a vital part of our community. I think everything is about communication and getting to know everyone around you.
What else would you like to add about D.A.R.E.? D.A.R.E. in general is a positive presence in the schools. Most kids do not get to see a police officer in a positive light. It is unfortunately when a parent gets arrested or driving around in a car is when they see us. I get to interact with the kids, eat lunch with them, go to recess with them and be a friend to them. Since I have been doing this for four years some of the early students are now entering high school that know me. I feel having a positive presence will help for years to come.