The Howard County Board of Education took the following actions at its Aug. 23 meeting. For more information, call 992-0500.

NEW SCIENCE LABS -- The board voted 5 to 0 to approve design plans for the construction of a $2.1 million science lab addition at Oakland Mills High School in Columbia. Construction is scheduled to begin in October and should be completed by fall 1991. School officials say the addition is badly needed to replace the school's crowded, aging science labs.

DRUG ABUSE EDUCATION -- Board members reaffirmed their support for continuing the school system's new Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program, under which uniformed police officers talk to fifth-grade students about alcohol and drug abuse. The board also endorsed a staff recommendation for a seven-year follow-up study of students in the program to document the program's long-term effectiveness.

The national DARE program was used in Howard County schools during the 1989-90 school year. As part of the program, police officers spend one day a week for 14 weeks at each county elementary school. Officers and students discuss topics such as how to resist peer pressure to use drugs and alcohol and how sports and school activities are positive alternatives to drug and alcohol use. High school students trained as "peer leaders" also meet with students as drug-free role models.

Since it was created in Los Angeles in 1983, the DARE program has been adopted by a number of public school systems across the country. Howard County school officials say the program has had a positive effect on students' attitudes.