Grand Prairie, like cities across this nation, is affected by illegal drug use. Programs that give our youth alternatives to using illegal drugs, and rewarding them with incentives for staying drug free, are very effective in the fight against drug abuse. Recognition to our young adults who stay drug free shows Community support and gives positive feedback for participation. It is the goal of the Grand Prairie Police Department to provide these alternatives to drug abuse and to reduce this menace to our Community.
Teenage drug abuse is a problem faced by parents, educators, law enforcement personnel, and concerned citizens, and affects every community in the United States. Eliminating this problem requires commitment, cooperation and innovative programs.
D-FY-IT (pronounced "defy it," and which stands for Drug Free Youth In Texas) was implemented in Grand Prairie to meet this challenge. D-FY-IT is a voluntary, community-based program to curb drug use among teenagers. Based on rewards, not punishment, D-FY-IT is a program administered by and for students, with guidance from adult advisors.
Participating in D-FY-IT gives teenagers:
- Positive alternatives to drug related activities.
- Opportunities to develop leadership skills.
- On-going communications with local police and community leaders.
- A forum for drug education and prevention.
With the cooperation of the city of Grand Prairie's Police Department and the Grand Prairie Independent School District, each of the city's high schools and middle schools have formed their own D-FY-IT chapter with its own student governing board. These students were selected because of the respect of their classmates and the fact they have proven leadership capabilities.
These student boards elect officers. The presidents of each board also serve as members of the overall community D-FY-IT student leadership group. This group has the primary responsibility for setting policy and administering the program. These members work closely with the adult advisory board. This board, headed by the Chief of Police, Glen Hill, includes members of the Chamber of Commerce, community leaders, law enforcement, and counseling professionals, as well as religious leaders and educators.
Membership is open to all students who register for the program and voluntarily submit to a urine test. All testing is confidential and test results are not reported to the police. If the test results show no drug usage, the student is issued a non-transferable D-FY-IT identification card, which includes the student's photograph and signature. Card members are entitled to discounts for movies, food and clothing, as well as entry to D-FY-IT parties, rallies and special events. Peer support provides an equally important incentive. Continued compliance with D-FY-IT's "no use" drug policy is reinforced by random re-testing set up by student groups and assisted by the School Resource Officer.
Membership in D-FY-IT is free to all students and none of the cost of the program should come out of the school budget. Money is obtained through fund-raisers, charitable contributions and community funds.
Tests are conducted by Methodist Hospital in Grand Prairie.
Members who test positive on the drug test give up their D-FY-IT cards until they again test negative. Counseling is provided for students whose test results indicate drug use.
Students under the age of 18 must provide written permission from their parents or guardian before being allowed to take the drug test.
Confidentiality is assured by using social security numbers, not names. If a test is positive, the Grand Prairie Independent School District's drug counselor will meet with the student. Students who fail the test get a second chance. Counseling is generally mandatory if a student fails the test twice. Students who are suspended from D-FY-IT are encouraged to join again. Requirements for re-entry are determined by each chapter. Test results are not available to the public or the police. The goal of D-FY-IT is to eliminate drug use, not prosecute drug abusers.
What About Alcohol?
D-FY-IT's mail goal is to keep students off drugs. Testing for alcohol is not a part of the program. Membership in D-FY-IT can be revoked, however, if alcohol abuse occurs or if a student commits an alcohol related crime such as driving under the influence. Policy on alcohol should be determined by the members of the student board.
How You Can Help
Merchants and business owners who cater to young people can help by becoming involved. Managers of movie theaters and owners of sporting goods shops, video stores and fast food restaurants are excellent candidates. Everyone who wishes to support the program can do so.
By offering discounts to the D-FY-IT members, merchants can reward drug free teenagers and, at the same time, benefit from free advertising and publicity. Participating merchants are provided with D-FY-IT decals, posters or stickers that can be prominently displayed, signaling their support of the program.
Corporate sponsorship also can be of great support for the program for the purchase of printed material, tee shirts, caps, etc., all of which is used as advertising.
D-FY-IT is a proven program because it works. It focuses on a program of "no use" promoting total abstinence from drugs. It has broad-based community support for its goals of providing more positive alternatives to drugs, reducing the demand side of drug use, improving communication among youth, police and the community, and enhancing the leadership capabilities of students.
It is doing its part toward a drug-free Texas and is making a difference in Grand Prairie.
D-FY-IT deserves our support.
Tax exempt donations may be made to:
Grand Prairie Police Department
C/o Community Services Division
1525 Arkansas Lane
Grand Prairie, Texas 75052
Attn: Sgt. Alex Bielawski
Through strong leadership and pooling of resources, we can achieve a Drug-Free Texas with Grand Prairie's D-FY-IT leading the way.