96-S 3096

Passed in Senate

Feb. 27, 1996.


WHEREAS, Drug use among American young people continues to rise according to the results of the University of Michigan's 20th annual survey of American high school seniors and the 4th annual survey of levels reached in the 1970's, evidence supports a reversal of the declines recorded for more than a decade. Researchers report a continued rise in marijuana use throughout the United States at all three grade levels, as well as an increase in the use of stimulants, LSD and other hallucinogens, inhalant, stimulants, barbiturates, cocaine and crack-cocaine; and

WHEREAS, Marijuana remains the most popular of illegal drugs among 10th graders and high school seniors. The proportion of students that report using marijuana in the past year rose to 13% of 8th graders, 25% of 10th graders, and 31% of seniors; and

WHEREAS, In the face of these daunting statistics, it defies all reason that the Congress is seriously considering draconian cuts in funding to the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program. Created in 1983 as a joint venture of the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Unified School District, the DARE program sends a highly trained police officer into 5th and 6th grade classrooms every week for 17 weeks to teach impressionable students how to refuse drugs and alcohol. Separate components have been developed to introduce kindergarten through 4th grade students to the DARE program and to follow-up in junior high and high school classrooms, spreading the DARE message throughout the school; and

WHEREAS, Studies funded by the National Institute of Justice point out that students who have completed the DARE curriculum show a significant decrease in substance abuse, including cigarettes and alcohol; a sharp decrease in school vandalism and truancy; improved student work habits; reduced tension between ethnic groups; reduced gang activity; a more positive attitude toward the police; and, a better student rapport with teachers and school officials. How can anyone wish to jeopardize a program with such positive results?; and

WHEREAS, $2.1 million in DARE funding allotted to the Ocean State this year under the Department of Education's "Safe and Drug-Free Schools" program would be reduced by 55% if the current federal education budget is enacted. With all of the talk of law and order, family values, and personal and civic responsibility, it makes no sense to seriously impair a program with a proven record of success in the war against drug use by our children; and

WHEREAS, In the wise words of Woonsocket Police Detective Marc Baillargeon, Statewide Coordinator of the DARE program in Rhode Island, "It may cost you five cents for prevention today, or five dollars later for rehabilitation. The decision will be up to the people in Washington". How can anyone justify being so "penny wise and pound foolish" with the lives and futures of our most precious possession--our nation's children? If lawmakers are truly committed to a future for our children that is bright with promise, secure, healthy and safe--if they really care--then they must in good conscience support DARE; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That, this Senate of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations hereby memorializes the Congress of the United States to fully fund the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State be and he hereby is authorized and directed to transmit duly certified copies of this resolution to all of the members of the Rhode Island delegation to the United States Congress.

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