Florida D.A.R.E. Program Overview

Inspector Dave Bullard and FDLE Commissioner Mark Glass

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) has been actively involved for years with a diversion and prevention program for drug abuse for juveniles. The FDLE selected the Drug Abuse Resistance Education Program (DARE) in 1988. This is a statewide program that is administered throughout Florida’s schools.  

The primary role and responsibility of FDLE in the DARE program is to serve as the state administrator. This administration includes but is not limited to preparation and oversight of the budget; training and certification of officers; and preparation of the Annual DARE Report. Additionally, the FDLE is responsible for ensuring compliance with national standards, delivery of technical assistance and provide statewide program management.

The Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program was developed and implemented in California in 1983 through the combined efforts of the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Unified School District. The initial 17-week curriculum was designed to provide awareness and facts to elementary school students with the intent that this knowledge would help them to resist peer pressure to experiment with alcohol and other drugs. In order to provide a more solid foundation for our children, gang and violence prevention strategies were included in that curriculum.

In 1988, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and the Florida Department of Education (DOE) entered into a partnership to bring a statewide drug prevention program to Florida's schools. The D.A.R.E. program was determined to be the best drug prevention program available and selected for implementation in the State of Florida.

In the 21st Century the D.A.R.E. program was re-designed into the New D.A.R.E. model of technology and science.  The elementary program has been combined into a 10-week session with follow-up courses taught at the middle and high school level.

The New D.A.R.E. curriculum incorporates innovative prevention science and research-based strategies designed to improve student skills and outcomes.


New D.A.R.E…

  • Offers a science-based education based on principles of prevention

  • Utilizes active learning

  • Targets communication and refusal skills

  • Teaches decision-making skills throughout lessons

  • Promotes accurate normative beliefs

  • Supports positive peer pressure influence

  • Promotes high self-efficacy

  • Creates a working knowledge of risk

  • Develops healthy attitudes

  • Is a community based program

  • National Health Education Standards


New D.A.R.E. officers are trained to support and guide children on how to use research-based refusal strategies in high-stakes peer-pressure environments.

New D.A.R.E. students see tangible proof of how substances diminish mental activity, emotions, coordination and movement. Rigorous scientific evaluation has documented that kids who complete the New D.A.R.E. program have improved decision-making skills, view drug use as unacceptable, and possess significantly decreased likelihood of ever using drugs.

In preparing officers for their role within the school system, all officers trained under the new D.A.R.E. program are certified by the IACP as School Resource Officers. This creates a well trained officer, which in turn, makes the biggest impact on our State’s most important resource, our children.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement serves as the statewide D.A.R.E. training center and will remain available to assist with the delivery of this valuable program.

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Florida Department of Law Enforcement Priorities

FDLE is composed of five areas: Executive Direction and Business Support, Criminal Investigations and Forensic Science, Criminal Justice Information, Criminal Justice Professionalism and Florida Capitol Police. FDLE’s duties, responsibilities and procedures are mandated through Chapter 943, FS, and Chapter 11, FAC. To learn more about these areas, read our Statement of Agency Organization and Operation or visit our Open Government page.