Students take DARE to avoid drugs

Published 5:00 am Friday, April 25, 2008

An estimated 500 Brookhaven and Lincoln County sixth-gradershave now learned how to take the DARE and say “no” to drugs, thanksto the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department.

The program, which was one of the first projects Sheriff SteveRushing undertook to reinstate after he was appointed in September2006, graduated its first class Thursday morning. Organizers saidit was a grand success.

Lt. Byron Catchings, who taught the six-week course at everyschool in the city and county, said educating children early is thebest way to combat the drug problem in today’s society.

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“It’s so easy to get a hold of drugs nowadays,” said Catchings.”But it’s not just about that, it’s about tobacco and alcohol, too.Hopefully once they complete the course, they’ll think before theyget involved in those kinds of things.”

Rushing said the program is also about empowering children tosay “no” to addiction.

“It teaches them how to resist starting, and it helps them dealwith peer pressure,” he said. “These are important things and I’mproud we got it started back.”

Catchings said the class participants enjoyed the program, andthat they definitely seemed to be processing the information asthey went.

“Around the fourth week especially, you could see where theywere really starting to understand and digest it,” he said.

Rushing said the success of the program was a collaboration ofthe hard work of the children, but also of first-year teacherCatchings.

“I’m really proud of the kids and all their hard work,” Rushingsaid. “Byron did a great job, too. This is his first year, and hereally worked well with all these kids.”

Catchings said the chance to work with children from everyschool in the area was an honor, but it was also a lot of fun. Inaddition, he said, knowing that they’re taking it seriously makesall the hard work worthwhile.

“A lot of them are looking at today as more than just a day toget out of school,” he said. “They’re proud they’ve developed aknowledge of how to stay away from drugs and alcohol.”