The Pulaski County Coalition Against Drugs (PCCAD) recently added another school to it's list of schools implementing an anti-drug curriculum provided by the organization when it delivered 160 "Truth About Drugs" education booklets to the Laquey School District.
Laquey is the third school district in Pulaski County to implement the program. Richland and Waynesville will also be using the program this year.
The Daily Guide sat down with PCCAD Director Steven Bales to talk about exactly what the program is, as well as what parents and students can expect.
"It's an education curriculum for teachers to get into schools to educate our kids about the dangers of drugs," Bales said.
According to Bales, former sheriff Ron Long helped choose the program when he was still the sheriff of Pulaski County, and it takes things farther than the DARE program.
Bales told the Daily Guide that "The Truth About Drugs" gives kids the knowledge of what drugs are out there, "what they will do and what harm they will cause a person short term and long term."
As an example, Bales pointed to a documentary film that is included in the program where there are interviews with former addicts.
"In the documentary, former addicts talk about how the DARE program gave them enough information to make them more curious. This program gives more information (than the DARE program did) and tells them what drugs are made of and the what the drugs will do to the organs in their body," Bales said.
The 50 minute long documentary comes from the Foundation for a Drug-Free World and features interviews with former drug addicts talking about their reasons for using and what effect it had on their lives. The video can be viewed online at www.drugfreeworld.org/drugfacts/the-truth-about-drugs.html
The documentary discusses the effects of various types of drugs in a very candid way from former users.
In addition to the documentary, the curriculum includes booklets and other materials that teachers can work through with students in the classroom.
Bales told the Daily Guide that Richland has had the program for a year and teacher told him that they're hearing students discuss the issue in the hallways, forming groups, and being more open to having conversations about drug abuse.
The curriculum is aimed at students from fifth grade through seniors in high school and Bales said his organization knows of "kids all the way down to fifth grade that are known to use drugs."
"I think every school should have it (the Truth About Drugs program) in the state of Missouri. That age group is the targeted age group for people experimenting with drugs," Bales said.