A new program focusing on drug abuse and mental health, developed by Charlottetown police and student services workers, rolls out next week in city elementary schools.
Healthy Me replaces the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program, which taught students about the dangers of drugs, alcohol and tobacco use. DARE was phased out beginning in 2014.
'We get them to really look inside themselves.' - Const. Tim Kiezer
The new program still covers the topics drugs and alcohol but it also has a major mental health component.
"With DARE, it talked about drugs and how they affect your body and whatnot but we never really looked at the wellness component as far as mental health," said Charlottetown police Const. Tim Kiezer, who is also is a school resource officer.
"[In Healthy Me] we ask them what makes them, them. Where do they get their values and beliefs from, what are some of the outside influences?" he said.
"We talk about positive peers and negative peers, and we get them to really kind of look inside themselves and try to figure out who they are as people."
Students will receive prizes, t-shirts and participate in a graduation ceremony.
Even though the new program covers more material, it will actually be delivered in a much shorter time than D.A.R.E. — four classes instead of 10, said Kiezer.
Five Charlottetown police officers received specialized training on Friday in the new program.
Kiezer said the Charlottetown Y's Men Club and the City of Charlottetown are both helping with the costs of running the program.