rug abuse is arguably the greatest problem society faces, directly and indirectly pushing crime to previously unimagined proportions. Quite apart from the individual tragedies involved, drug abuse has turned inner cities into battlegrounds and led to dwindling moral values and a general disregard for even the most basic ethical conduct. Moreover, and this is of special concern to Scientologists, drug abuse of all kinds lessens individual awareness, which when spread across whole sectors of society, does much to undermine the culture. With the world’s most effective and statistically successful drug rehabilitation program, Scientologists have helped thousands of hard-core users free themselves from addiction and the lasting effects of substance abuse. But treating the victim of drug abuse on an individual basis is only one way Scientology meets the problem.
Uniting concerned community groups, staging public awareness forums, antidrug rallies and educational conferences, the Church of Scientology is at the forefront of the international grass-roots fight against drugs.
Using programs developed and supervised by their local churches as a focal point, Scientologists then reach out effectively into society.
In the United States, for instance, the Church-sponsored “Lead the Way to a Drug-Free USA” national campaign has helped millions of people by fighting further drug proliferation.
It has done this by raising funds for youth groups such as “Teen Canteen,” an organization that helps runaway teens solve their problems; by enlisting the aid of celebrities for concerts with antidrug themes; and by hosting conferences of community leaders and antidrug activities, such as the one in Washington, DC which led city commissioner Bob King to present the Church’s local “Lead the Way” program with a proclamation lauding its efforts in the war against drugs.
Nor was he by any means the only one to recognize the Church’s efforts. Not long after the establishment of “Lead the Way” in the District of Columbia (DC), the director of the Office for Substance Abuse Prevention of the US Department of Health commended the Church for its drug-fighting initiative, writing, “It is because of the participation of dedicated groups like yours that we are making progress in the reduction of alcohol and other drug problems.”
In 1991, “Lead the Way” began to broaden its influence with the inception of its first national conference in Washington, DC in the Sam Rayburn Congressional Office Building. More than 100 leaders in the antidrug field from around the country attended, including members of drug rehabilitation and social betterment groups, congressional aides, government official and media representatives. By bringing community leaders together, the conference helped expand antidrug programs to a truly concerted national level.
The Church has also enlisted the direct support of government officials. In Philadelphia, for example, it received a special recognition from the city’s drug czar, who heads the Mayor’s Office on Drug Control. But then, he went a step further and, in order to assist the Church’s “active and cooperative participation in the war on drugs,” as he put it, he became a national advisor to the “Lead the Way to a Drug-Free USA” campaign.
Dr. Hans Janitschek, author and consultant to the United Nations, neatly summed up the activities of “Lead the Way”:
“In a world where serious problems such as drug abuse receive much attention, much talk and little in the way of effective action, Lead the Way to a Drug-Free USA’ is a breath of fresh air.
“It has pooled together action-oriented individuals and groups from throughout the world in a shoulder-to-shoulder effort to bring to our communities REAL help for drug addicts, REAL preventative actions that keep our kids off drugs, and a REAL network of like-minded leaders who seek a drug-free USA.”
The Children’s Anti-Drug Front Line
The Drug-Free Marshals:
Educating children on drugs and challenging them to be drug-free.
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