When Borough President James Oddo and his Substance Abuse Task Force discovered - back in 2014 - that there was no organized curriculum in our schools educating students about the dangers and seriousness of the drug epidemic sweeping through Staten Island, they were alarmed. And took action.
The team worked tirelessly to find a curriculum that would not only meet the needs, but open up a true conversation about addiction, peer pressure and other issues facing our children; a curriculum that would offer healthy behaviors and alternatives to substance use. In 2015, the “Too Good For Drugs” Program was piloted in a few fifth-grade classes, partnering NYPD officers along with teachers and children in an effort to reach our children early enough and arm them with decision making skills and information. With the success of this model, it was expanded each successive year into every fifth-grade class on Staten Island, as well as to middle and high schools. The program is made possible by a unique partnership between the NYPD, the Office of the District Attorney, the Department of Education and the Archdiocese.
"The Too Good For Drugs Program partners our committed teachers with our local police officers to educate kids about making the right choice and empower them to be a good influence in their community," said Borough President Oddo. "The results have far surpassed our expectations and now that in-school instruction is back, we are eager to get the program going again."
"The Too Good for Drugs" program has been incredibly successful since its start in 2015. The Police Officers throughout Staten Island who are instructors are enthusiastic about getting back into the schools and having these important discussions,” said Assistant Chief Frank A. Vega, Commanding Officer of Patrol Borough Staten Island. “We thank all of our partners including the Borough President, the District Attorney and the Department of Education for making this happen.”
“The best prevention for the horrors of addiction illness is education, and the Too Good For Drugs program is the most significant tool at our disposal to achieving that end. In the meantime, I will continue to advocate for mandatory drug prevention education—given the presence of deadly fentanyl, more needs to be done. We will prosecute the dealers, but prevention is the other key," said District Attorney Michael McMahon. "Moreover, not only is Too Good for Drugs the only comprehensive drug education that our students receive throughout their K-12 experience, it serves to strengthen bonds between the community and law enforcement as police officers interact with our kids in a positive setting to impart invaluable advice and information. I am honored to be able to support the continuation of this work again this year and am grateful for partners like Borough President Oddo and Assistant Chief Vega who are equally committed to saving this generation from the pitfalls of substance abuse.
The classes will resume this fall, and every participant is excited to get started. At the completion of each program, a celebration is held for the student participants whereby the students take a pledge to abstain from tobacco, alcohol, and drugs.