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Antidrug program may get chopped
DARE is in danger of losing its funding.
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published August 17, 2007
TALLAHASSEE - The popularity of the DARE antidrug program for schools extends to the Florida Governor's Mansion, but that hasn't stopped some officials from recommending that it be removed from the state's budget.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement suggested that the annual appropriation of $376,362 be eliminated after Gov. Charlie Crist and legislative leaders asked agencies to propose cuts in their budgets to offset declining state tax revenues.
FDLE officials say they want to drop their role of training local Drug Abuse Resistance Education officers not just to save money, but also because national studies have shown that the program is ineffective.
The national DARE organization disputes the studies, saying they are outdated and that the program has become more effective. DARE's regional director predicted that losing state support would kill the program in Florida.
DARE sends police officers into middle school classrooms to encourage kids to avoid drugs, gangs and violence and resist peer pressure.
"I've been active in it in the past, and I believe in it," Crist said. "If there's any way that we can find to keep it, we certainly would love to do it."
Senate Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations Committee Chairman Victor Crist, R-Tampa, said he's withholding judgment because his panel hasn't yet looked at the issue.