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Keeping kids drug-free

AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy (AFNEWS) -- One Airman here has taken a dare to make a difference in children's lives. 

Senior Airman Kristi Morrell spends her days teaching children at Aviano AB about the dangers of drug use through the drug abuse resistance and education program, or DARE.

Drug abuse is a problem around the world. According to a national teen survey, 62 percent of 500 kids aged 13 to 18 years old have tried marijuana in the past. 

The DARE program provides drug awareness and other safety issues for children, and specializes the information for different grades, said Airman Morrell, who has been a DARE officer since 2005. Aviano AB children start DARE in kindergarten and continue all the way through seventh grade, learning essential information each year.

Airman Morrell spoke with Aviano AB second graders recently about a variety of dangers they could face every day such as running into strangers, knowing the difference between a good and bad touch, and how to deal with guns.

Picking up guns can hurt somebody, or you can face it the other way and it could probably hurt you, said Kainen Warren, a second grader.

"There are dangers out there they need to be aware of, and (DARE) helps them understand so they know. If they know it, they can see it, than they know to get away from it," Airman Morrell said. "I like to use the fact that they might not see their parents again and that helps them understand"

Community support programs like DARE help children understand and make the right choice, and that's what Airman Morrell said she hopes will come from their sessions together. 

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