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Students in Horseshoe Bend, Dadeville and Reeltown schools are alcohol and drug abuse aware thanks to Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) being taught by the Tallapoosa County Sheriff’s Department every year.

DARE teaches students the consequences of drugs, alcohol and violence and how to make better choices. The program helps students deal with peer pressure and gives them tools to say no.

The Tallapoosa County Sheriff’s Department has taught DARE for 20 years  to sixth-graders in all three county schools. 

“This is another program (Sheriff Jimmy Abbett) wanted implemented, wanted started and wanted to continue,” Lt. Bill Hough said. “The program will continue as long as it can, which if he has anything to say about it will be forever.”

The sheriff’s department also teaches stranger danger in kindergarten through second grade and internet safety, vaping dangers, bullying and the dangers of texting and driving to all students. The schools are also provided with student resource officers.

“We do a number of programs throughout the year which encompasses the students,” Hough said.

Hough said the Lake Martin Area United Way funds almost 100% of the DARE programs for the county schools. In addition to the lessons, the funding provides textbooks and supplies, such as rulers, notebooks and pencils.

“It’s extremely helpful,” Hough said. “It affords us to provide the students in Tallapoosa County with these programs that might not normally be available.”

The programs also help students see law enforcement positively, according to Hough. 

“The students are able to relate to the DARE officers and even come to them after the DARE dare program is over,” Hough said. “With the help of the United Way we feel that we’re able to teach all the students by giving the different alternatives and help prevent them from (getting in trouble).”

For more information on the county DARE program, visit www.tallaco.com/content.asp?id=74085.