Established in 2014 by law enforcement and educational leaders in a small community in New Jersey, Law Enforcement Against Drugs (L.E.A.D) is a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization that provides drug and violence prevention programs across the United States. L.E.A.D. instructors, comprised of law enforcement officers and educators, are trained to provide a 10-week, evidence-based, K-12 curriculum on the dangers of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs (ATOD), as well as on violence.
L.E.A.D.’s mission is “to provide the leadership, resources and management to ensure law enforcement agencies have the means to partner with our educators, community leaders, and families by providing proven and effective programs to deter youth and adults from drug use, drug related crimes, bullying, and violence. . . .” It is committed to fostering positive relationships between law enforcement and the communities that they serve to “create safer, healthier communities.”
The program is growing at a fast pace, and it is now in 28 states, including Florida, Texas, and Vermont. L.E.A.D educates both in the classroom and on the streets.
In the classroom, L.E.A.D. delivers the “Too Good for Drugs” (TGFD) curriculum that teaches students to be socially competent and autonomous problem solvers through fun, interactive, and age-appropriate lessons. These lessons build the self-confidence that young people need to make healthy choices throughout their lives. The TGFD promotes positive, pro-social attitudes and behaviors that are resistant to substance use, negative peer pressure, and influence.
Evaluations of the TGFD curriculum were “conducted by third-party researchers [who] used randomized treatment-control group designs (pre-test/post-test, 20-week post-test, or one-year follow-up).” The researchers found the curriculum to be effective in deterring young people from using drugs. Having numerous officers collaborating with teachers in the classroom also affects the children’s behavior and helps build a partnership between the students and law enforcement not only inside, but outside the school walls.
Outside of the classroom, L.E.A.D. conducts: “Law Enforcement on the Streets” training which provides officers with the tools to address the growing and emerging social problems of drugs and violence; “Educator on the Streets” training which educates teachers on drugs and violence and how schools can help in preventing substance abuse; and “Parent on the Street” training which is an online course for parents that teaches them about the signs and symptoms drug use and abuse and provides resources to access information or to obtain assistance.
For more information about L.E.A.D. logon to https://leadrugs.org/.