Drugs are more than just another social problem. Some 210 million people—at all levels of society—consume illegal drugs. Almost 200,000 die from drugs each year.
The greatest toll is on the young. Every 12 seconds another school-age child experiments with illicit drugs for the first time. Drug use in this age group has risen steadily throughout the past decade and children are exposed to drugs at younger and younger ages.
Because drug abuse is a global problem, it requires a global solution, and the Church of Scientology has developed such an initiative—the Truth About Drugs program. The Church has made it accessible and usable by anyone anywhere and it is now one of the world’s largest nongovernmental drug information and prevention initiatives. It is founded on studies showing that when young people are given the truth about drugs—what they really are and what they do—usage rates drop proportionately.
To this end, Scientologists spearhead actions worldwide to bring the Truth About Drugs educational materials to millions, through government agencies, community groups and educational institutions—free of charge.
The first broad-scale drug prevention efforts by the Church and its members began in the mid-1980s with a European grass-roots movement, “Say No to Drugs, Say Yes to Life.” At the same time, Scientologists in the United States raised public awareness with the “Lead the Way to a Drug-Free USA” initiative. In the late 1990s, Scientologists in Europe produced a series of youth-oriented booklets with the straight facts about the dangers of drugs. They were in such high demand, the Church undertook to publish them internationally.
Since then, the Church has sponsored distribution of millions of booklets, fliers and posters and thousands of drug education activities in communities, schools, churches and workplaces.
Foundation for a Drug-Free World, a secular nonprofit corporation, was formed in 2006 to serve as the primary distributor of the educational materials and to develop new materials to meet the challenge of continually changing drug trends.
The Foundation today oversees the Truth About Drugs campaign and coordinates an international network of volunteers brought together by their common purpose to create a drug-free world.