LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)– After 20 years of being inactive in Lafayette Parish schools, the D.A.R.E program is returning, teaching students the dangers of fentanyl and substance abuse.

With the ongoing drug issues continuing to persist in the area, Lafayette City Marshal Reggie Thomas said it is important to give students knowledge now of why to say no to drugs. Thomas said the old program was not taught well enough, but the new program looks to be successful.

“This is a new D.A.R.E. program,” Thomas said. “This is not the old D.A.R.E. program. Some of the people will look at the old D.A.R.E. program and say the old D.A.R.E. program did not work. They look at different things and you could look it up on the Internet and say it didn’t work. Well one of the things I will tell you, this is a new program, and this new program is led by non-profit organizations. It’s not a money maker. Nobody’s trying to make money or anything.”

Thomas said he cannot wait to see the students graduate from the two month program.

“It’s a 10-week program, 45 minutes for each class, and then we have this graduation,” Thomas said. “So the graduation is going to be huge so we are looking forward to that.”

Tyrone Alexander, Lafayette Deputy Marshal, said it took him a couple of weeks to be certified to spearhead the program. He said it is important he is prepared to teach students what D.A.R.E. is all about.

“It was more than just getting information and go out there,” Alexander said. “It prepared us. We taught it. We learned it, and we had to be familiarized with it. So that was two weeks when they said eight to five it was longer that that because some says we stayed longer than 11 trying to make sure the kids would understand what the process would be.”

The program is scheduled to begin on September 27 at Lafayette Renaissance Charter Academy. Thomas said he hopes to bring the program back to other schools in the parish.