Tampa Bay Initiative: Foundation for a Drug Free World's “Truth About Drugs” Campaign Tackles Latest Teen Substance Abuse

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Tampa Bay residents contribute to ending teen drug abuse with widespread “Truth About Drugs” campaign.

I wanted to create a safe community in which children could grow up, and I want Tampa Bay to be that safe place.

The dangers of teen drug abuse have been largely elevated by the fact that illegal substances are often readily accessible in schools today. More than 60% of teens said that drugs were sold, used, or kept at their school (1). As drugs and alcohol become more available to today’s youth, Scientologists throughout Tampa Bay have committed to seeing the fight against drug abuse with the Foundation for a Drug-Free World’s award-winning Truth About Drugs campaign.

The Alarming Truth

A recent survey displays the shocking levels of teen substance abuse—once teens have reached late adolescence, many of them have already experimented with alcohol and/or illegal drugs:

●81% of teens said they had the opportunity to use illicit substances
●42.5% actually tried them
●16% could be categorized as drug abusers

●78% of teens have consumed alcohol
●47% consumed 12 or more drinks in the past year
●15% met the criteria for lifetime alcohol abuse (2).

To combat the growth of teen substance abuse, the Foundation for a Drug-Free World created its Truth About Drugs campaign to inform young adults about illicit substances while empowering them to make their own decisions to live drug-free. The cornerstone of the series consists of 13 fact-filled booklets—one overview booklet and one booklet for each of the most common “drugs of choice”, including, but not limited to:

●Prescription drugs; and
●Heroin (3).

Each publication describes, without the use of scare tactics, how the drugs work and the mental and physical effects they create—reinforcing these facts and statistics are firsthand accounts from former users detailing their life on drugs. The booklets dispel substance abuse myths by presenting the facts about the effects of each drug, both short-term and long-term. To date, the booklets have been translated into 17 languages and distributed across 188 countries.

The effectiveness of these pamphlets has led to a series of public service announcements (PSAs) entitled “They Said, They Lied”—the 16 PSAs used strong depictions of the devastation of drug abuse to convey a contemporary, high-impact message aimed directly at youth. The results of the campaign are far-reaching:

●In the Honduras, where the National Council Against Drug Trafficking has partnered with the Foundation for a Drug-Free World, the messages are used in presentations to senior military officers and cadets at the military academy.

●In Taiwan, the messages have been played on national television to 5 million viewers, and are used as part of the drug education curriculum in 500 schools (4).

●In Florida, more than 250,000 of the educational booklets have been distributed by volunteers while many youth agencies, schools, and law enforcement personnel utilize the booklets in their drug prevention programs. Still more are distributed by more than 100 businesses in the Tampa Bay area.

Clearwater, Florida’s Julieta Gil Santagostino, leads a corps of more than 30 Foundation for a Drug Free World volunteers who dedicate their time to the cause of fighting drug abuse. Santagostino understands firsthand the importance of reaching kids before the drug dealers do – she grew up in the Mexican border city of Juarez, where drug cartels have terrorized residents for years and warfare over drug-trafficking routes has killed thousands.

“I saw what drugs did to Juarez,” she says, “and I knew that was not something I wanted for anyone. I wanted to create a safe community in which children could grow up, and I want Tampa Bay to be that safe place.”

Santagostino, a Scientologist, is part of a large cadre of Scientologists across the globe who are notable for their social betterment and humanitarian campaigns—in particular, their zeal for eradicating drug abuse. These proponents of drug eradication, with the help of global activists, have worked for more than two decades to empower millions with the truth about drugs.

For more information about the Foundation for a Drug-Free World, visit http://www.drugfreeworld.org/#/interactive.

To receive free Truth About Drugs booklets, please click here.

About the Foundation for a Drug Free World:

The Foundation for a Drug-Free World is a nonprofit public benefit corporation that empowers youth and adults with factual information about drugs so they can make informed decisions to live drug-free. Through a worldwide network of volunteers, 50 million drug prevention booklets have been distributed, tens of thousands of drug awareness events have been held in some 180 countries, and Truth About Drugs public service announcements have been aired on more than 500 television stations. To learn more about the Foundation for a Drug-Free World, visit http://www.drugfreeworld.org/#/interactive.

About the Church of Scientology:

The Scientology religion was founded by author and philosopher L. Ron Hubbard. In September 1969, Hubbard wrote Drug Problems, an article in which he prophesized, “Like the Flaming Youth Era of the Prohibition 20s, drug taking will probably also come to pass as a national pastime. But it will leave a lot of people who wish they hadn’t. The Scientologists can help those. And [they] are helping them right now as a routine duty to the community.” The first Church of Scientology was formed in the United States in 1954 and has today expanded to more than 10,000 churches, missions and affiliated groups with millions of members in 184 countries. Visit http://www.scientology.org.

1.“11 Facts About Teens And Drug Use.” Dosomething.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 May 2013. dosomething.org/tipsandtools/11-shocking-facts-about-teens-and-drug-use.

2.Castillo, Michelle. “Survey Reveals Shocking Levels of Teen Drinking, Drug Abuse.” Cbsnews.com. CBS Interactive, 03 Apr. 2012. Web. 06 June 2013. cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-57408679-10391704/survey-reveals-shocking-levels-of-teen-drinking-drug-abuse/.

3.“Supporting Effective Drug Education and Prevention Initiatives.” Scientolog.org. Church of Scientology, n.d. Web. 11 June 2013. scientology.org/how-we-help/truth-about-drugs.html.

4.“Reaching Millions with the Message ‘They Said, They Lied.’” Scientolog.org. Church of Scientology, n.d. Web. 11 June 2013. scientology.org/how-we-help/truth-about-drugs.html.

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