The Downey City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved the expansion of the Drug Abuse Resistance & Education (DARE) program to middle schools throughout the Downey Unified School District. It will go into effect in September.
So far, the DARE program has been geared to fifth-graders, providing information on drug misuse, alternatives and ways to promote self-esteem.
The expansion will double the number of students involved, to more than 2,000 fifth- and eighth-graders.
"I think the program is effective," said Robert Cosgrove, administrator of curriculum and instruction for Downey schools. The prevailing attitude among students who witness the program is drugs are "not a smart thing to do," he said.
The Downey Police Department is adding another officer to the program, now represented by Cynthia Billings. The estimated cost for the additional officer, who will assist Billings in advance of the fall semester, is $50,000. "There is only one way to stop drug traffic and that is to steal its customers," said Mayor Robert Cormack, who views DARE as a method to improve students' life and life expectancy.