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Safe and Drug Free Schools program to be dismantled

Banner at Weddington High School created by SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) Club members

Drug prevention in local schools received another blow. It was recently announced that after June 30, the Safe and Drug Free Schools program will be canceled. Last year, DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) was eliminated in Union County schools.

The Safe and Drug Free Schools program provides information on youth alcohol and drug use to parents, teachers and the county's nearly 40,000 students through literature, classroom instruction and community awareness. They also provide resources and information on other issues such as bullying, character education and life skills.

The office of Safe and Drug Free Schools has been funded by a federal grant since the early 1990s. The program's absence will create a large void to fill in the school system, according to one local law enforcement officer. "They do a great job of bringing kids together and letting them know what the choices are," she said. Without drug prevention programs in schools, parents and other concerned adults will have to do more to inform youth about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

Even though federal funding only provided about $2 per student for these programs, Safe and Drug Free Schools has been able to provide numerous resources to the schools and community to impact our youth.

"This is pretty devastating. This job has been my passion," said Denise Cavoly, Safe and Drug Free Schools Coordinator. "But I know it has a lot to do with the economy." When times are better, she hopes the program will return. "I'm hoping some sort of miracle will happen."

Written by: Lisa Callaham
Posted: Jan 11, 2010 by Lisa Callaham

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