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Eastside Anti-Drug Efforts to Consolidate : Education: A goal is increased efficiency for programs targeted at youths. The campaign will include new TV and radio spots.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Law enforcement agencies, private groups and social service agencies announced Monday that they will coordinate their anti-drug efforts in hopes of reaching school-age youths on Los Angeles’ Eastside.

The program, estimated to cost about $500,000, will be concentrated in the largely Latino communities of Boyle Heights and El Sereno, where several anti-drug programs have long operated independently, said Councilman Richard Alatorre. “We need a coordinated program that will follow kids inside and outside of school.”

The campaign, which will feature television and radio spots in addition to hands-on training in parenting and crime prevention, could go citywide if it is successful on the Eastside, officials said. It will be run largely by volunteers and through donations from two community organizations, the L.A. Alliance and the BEST (Bringing Everybody’s Strength Together) campaign.

Sherman Oaks-based BEST will help stage community anti-drug rallies, will train area residents on how to fight drug-related crime and will conduct drug prevention sessions after regular school hours for youngsters, Alatorre said.

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It also will produce TV and radio public service announcements in English and Spanish with actor Ricardo Montalban and comedian George Lopez.

The L.A. Alliance, another private anti-crime organization, will provide staffers to monitor ongoing anti-drug efforts and help establish self-esteem workshops.

Existing programs administered by the Los Angeles Police Department’s Hollenbeck station also will be part of the effort, Alatorre said.

Most of the funds for the effort will come from existing city and private programs, officials said. Additional money and staff time are being donated, making the $500,000 figure only an educated guess of the program’s price tag, a spokeswoman for Alatorre said.

The councilman said the effort was being taken at the behest of numerous residents who have voiced concern about illicit drug activities and related crime. “The people are the geniuses” who prompted him to act, Alatorre said.

The effectiveness of the new campaign, however, may be difficult to gauge.

For example, Alatorre singled out the LAPD’s FALCON program, which uses a task force approach to deal with drug problems at multiple- and single-family dwellings, as an important component of the effort. But its future is clouded because of the continuing budget negotiations in Sacramento.

Also, the councilman said Community Youth Gang Services, which uses former gang members to discourage gang violence and mediate disputes between rival groups, would be involved in the effort, but a portion of its operating budget from Los Angeles County is under review.

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But Alatorre brushed off such concerns, saying, “I’m going to bring everybody together.”


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