Is The DARE Program Outdated?

It's DARE graduation day for 350 excited Picayune sixth graders. They say they learned a lot about the dangers of cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana.

"I got a chance to learn about these things and when I get older I shouldn't do it. And if somebody tries to give me peer pressure on it, I can say 'no,'" said Chaniece Woodson.

Fellow student Chase Savoie echoed her words.

"It will mess up your brain and it will mess up everything and you could lose your life from it."

But absent from the DARE curriculum are specifics about newer drugs like oxycontin, ecstasy and crystal meth.

DARE Instructor Sgt. Johnnie Roberts said the DARE curriculum could use an update.

"As society changes with the different types of drugs, we also need to."

Picayune's Police Chief Jim Luke agrees. That's why the department has implemented the DRUM program, or Drug Resistance Using Music.

"He's actually talking to the students more about crystal meth and ecstasy and other designer drugs that are used in... the party climate, " Chief Luke said.

Officer Darby Shelton heads up the DRUM program.

"Crystal meth is addictive. It's a huge problem. It's one of the fastest growing drugs in America. Absolutely deadly, it will put in prison or in the grave. We have to let people know that. Sitting back waiting for a curriculum to develop in Washington D.C. ten years from now, that's too late."

The Picayune Police Department is sharing its DRUM program with the rest of the Coast. The program will debut at Hancock High School Friday and Bay High next week.

by Al Showers