D.A.R.E. helps students stay drug free - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

D.A.R.E. helps students stay drug free

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INDEPENDENCE (KWWL) -

It was a graduation of sorts, a D.A.R.E graduation, for 257 fifth and sixth grade students throughout Buchanan County Tuesday.

The D.A.R.E. program started in 1983 and according to law enforcement it has been beneficial ever since. The overall goal for the program is to reduce or eliminate the use to alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.

The students who graduated from the D.A.R.E program Tuesday plan to stay drug free because they have too many goals to accomplish.

"When I grow up I want to be a famous football player," said Sam Graeser.

"I kind of want to be a chef," said Taylor Kraninger.

"An engineer at Disney," said Ryan Adams.

"I am thinking I'm either going to be an author or an actress," said Jamie Phelps.

And they plan not to let anything get in their way.

"It's not right to use drugs and you can die when your use them and when you do it's not good for your body. Our body is still changing right now so if we use drugs it will hurt us," said Sam Graeser, D.A.R.E. graduate.

Buchanan County Sheriff Bill Wolfgram has been teaching D.A.R.E. for 20 years now, speaking to more than 4,500 students. He admits peer pressure is a big issue for these students, but he has seen it get better throughout the years.

"Over the years I have noticed and even talking with high school age kids is that they can go to parties, but if they say no its accepted," said Wolfgram.

According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, in 1999 75 percent of 11th graders reported ever having used alcohol. In 2008 only 63 percent of 11th graders reported saying they used alcohol.

"If someone is pressuring you to do something you don't want to do you shouldn't change your mind no matter what," said Taylor Kraninger, D.A.R.E. graduate.

"To do most things that are important to you need to stay away from drugs," said Jamie Phelps, D.A.R.E. graduate.

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