Chickasaw Nation Begins Prevention Plan

The following is a news release from the Chickasaw Nation:

Lighthorse Police Implement DARE, GREAT Programs

Because the Chickasaw Nation Lighthorse Police Department (LPD) believes early intervention and prevention is the key to battling drug abuse and violence, they have implemented D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) and G.R.E.A.T. (Gang Resistance Education and Training) programs.

Programs will be offered in elementary and middle schools within the 13 counties of the Chickasaw Nation.

Full-time D.A.R.E. officer Dusk Monetathchi said it is a community effort to prevent drug abuse, crime and violence.

“Both resistance programs are a collaborative effort by certified law enforcement officers, educators, students, parents and the community to encourage positive behavior and prevent crime,” said Monetathchi.

Although recent reports show that the U.S. government’s $1.4 billion anti-drug advertising campaign hasn’t reduced drug use since its inception in 1998, research has shown that the 20-year-old D.A.R.E. program is still effective.

According to a recent study published in the Journal of the National Medical Association, students that completed the D.A.R.E. program were five times less likely to even start smoking. Thirty other independent studies supported the effectiveness of the program.

The D.A.R.E. program, founded in 1983, is designed to be taught by police officers who inform students about drugs, tobacco and alcohol, good decision-making skills, peer pressure and positive alternatives to drug use.

“The curriculums are taught by police officers because their training and experience give them the background needed to answer sophisticated questions,” said LPD Police Chief Jason O’Neal.

While the D.A.R.E. program focuses on information, the G.R.E.A.T. program, started in 1991, focuses on providing life skills to students to help them avoid delinquent behavior and violence to solve problems.

Chief O’Neal predicts the programs combined will have a significant impact on how students view drugs and violence.

Presentations are scheduled to begin in mid-September. If your school is interested, call 436-7213.