Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today announced that a new drug education and mentorship pilot program has now launched in several elementary schools in Ohio.
The Drug Resilience Education Awareness Mentorship (DREAM) program was developed by the Ohio Narcotics Intelligence Center, Ohio Task Force Commanders Association, and Buckeye State Sheriffs' Association, with support from RecoveryOhio.
“The DREAM program provides Ohio educators, local law enforcement officers, parents, guardians, and others with a new opportunity to have important age-appropriate discussions with kids about drug use and how it can negatively impact their futures,” said Governor DeWine. “The new DREAM program is another tool to help reinforce the drug-free message early and often.”
The pilot program is currently in multiple K-3 classrooms in Ohio and will later expand to older age groups. The K-3 program pilot sites include Colerain Elementary and Taylor Elementary (Hamilton County), Wickliffe Elementary (Lake County), RC Waters Elementary (Ottawa County), Antwerp Elementary (Paulding County), Glacier Ridge Elementary (Union County), and a home school group in Marion County.
The creation of the DREAM video series was first proposed by the Ottawa County Drug Task Force, MEDWAY Drug Task Force, and Lake County Drug Task Force as a tool for law enforcement officers to use in schools when presenting to different age groups of children.
“The DREAM program provides another opportunity for law enforcement to have a presence within drug and alcohol education being taught in schools,” said Ohio Department of Public Safety Director Tom Stickrath. “It is educator-friendly, easily-implemented, and will enhance any lessons on drug and alcohol prevention.”
“On behalf of the Ohio Task Force Commanders Association, we thank Governor DeWine, his RecoveryOhio team, and the Ohio Department of Public Safety for the creation of this new program," said Dennis Lowe, president of OTFCA and commander of the South Central Ohio Major Crimes Unit. "Ohio’s drug task forces regularly provide education and awareness on the dangers of substance use, and having additional educational and prevention tools for Ohio’s youth is welcomed. DREAM provides an incredible opportunity for law enforcement, educators, and parents to help our children make more informed and better decisions."
The program offers a variety of videos for students, including a special role model series featuring several standout Ohioans delivering positive messages on the importance of hard work, the dangers of using or abusing substances, and the importance of never giving up on dreams. The following role models are featured in the first round of videos, each interviewed by a local elementary school student:
- Shilese Jones, U.S. National Team gymnast
- Erin Bender, executive director of The Point at Otterbein University
- Angela Gould, media specialist at Glacier Ridge Elementary
The kindergarten through 12th-grade video series focuses on Ohio's Whole Child Framework, the Ohio Department of Education's health, social, and emotional learning requirements, and role-playing opportunities. The program is intended to complement other curriculums already in use such as DARE, the HOPE Curriculum, and Generation Rx.
In addition to student videos, the video series also includes instructional videos for educators on how to best implement this program in the classroom, as well as informational videos for guardians to aid families in discussing these sensitive topics.
DREAM is available to anyone who would like to access the video series at dream.ohio.gov.