‘Too Good For Drugs’ pilot program in schools: Borough President James Oddo spearheads initiative

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — As the prescription drug and heroin epidemic continues to worsen on Staten Island and elsewhere, Borough President James Oddo plans on combating that by impressing on kids the importance of staying away from drugs.

He outlined an initiative recently during an editorial board meeting with the Advance, beginning with fifth-graders and imparting on them why they are “Too Good For Drugs.”

The aptly named program will either pair classroom teachers with police officers during the school day or pair after-school leaders with officers to teach students “an evidence-based program that has proven to work,” Oddo said.

The program will be piloted in the spring in one public school in each Staten Island police precinct and later broadened to other public and private schools.

In the 120th Precinct, PS 16 will pilot the program; PS 44 in the 121st Precinct; PS 8 in the 122nd Precinct; and PS 3 in the 123rd Precinct.


Statistics show that alcohol and substance abuse among high school students is higher on Staten Island than the city average. That applies to all categories of use, including for alcohol, marijuana, heroin, cocaine, opioids and other prescription drugs.

Oddo’s director of education, Rose Kerr, said the NYPD, Department of Education and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York reviewed the curriculum and found “that it will be one that can be adapted to the police officer in the classroom.”

There will be a mechanism, she said, to monitor behavioral changes or use feedback forms to determine effectiveness of the curriculum and then decide how to spread it to other schools.

Oddo said of the initiative, “to a certain degree, it’s the same approach” as the D.A.R.E program, which is no longer implemented in NYC schools.

Ms. Kerr said, “The curriculum is contact-based on specifically ways in which abuses can be combatted: Decision-making skills and other content and life skills.”

She added, “We are hoping that this will be an ounce of prevention as opposed to a cure. We need the prevention piece, we need young ones to think differently and make different choices.”


Oddo said it became clear that high school and even middle school is too late to begin talking to kids about substance abuse.

He hopes to “start at the fifth grade and then grow this curriculum so that at each grade, in multiple steps along the way, these kids have the right message to kind of counter the pressures.”

Oddo added, “Is this the panacea? No. But it’s the beginning of getting a much larger presence in our schools, to get much more aggressive with this captive audience to fight this. Because this is life and death and there’s been, frankly, too much death.”

Source: http://www.silive.com/news 27th Feb.2015

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