Drug Ed Volunteer Reveals Her Perspective on the Drug Culture

Drug abuse is the silent pandemic, with drugs scourging countries all over the world. The overdose deaths in the USA were almost 71,000 in 2019. i The Foundation for a Drug-Free World (FDFW) Florida chapter works everyday to bring the Truth About Drugs to youth and the community with the purpose of reducing drug abuse.

The President of the FDFW Florida chapter, Ms. Julieta Santagostino, has volunteered with the organization since 2007 and has reached millions all over Florida and beyond with the drug-free message. She was interviewed to find out why she volunteers and why she is passionate about drug education. This is what she had to say:

Q: Why do you volunteer for the FDFW?

A: “Where I grew up in Mexico, drugs were a huge problem. It was something that was seen as not good, but still ‘part of life’ or normal. When I noticed this I wanted to do something to educate others on what drugs really are and what they do, not just to those who consume them, but to the environment and community at large.

“When I moved to Florida with my family, I discovered that drugs were a big problem here as well, not just in Tampa Bay, but all over Florida. I saw drugs were a big problem and that not enough was being done about it.”

Q: How did you get involved in drug education?

A: “When the Truth About Drugs program was launched back in 2007, a friend told me about it. I thought ‘this is great,’ it gave me tools I could use to address the drug problem with education. We live in a drug culture, it’s in movies, TV shows, magazines, etc. It’s something considered ‘normal’ in a sense, because it is part of the culture and I had a purpose from an early age to change that, that no child should have to think it is normal or agree to it.”

Q: What do you like the most about the Truth About Drugs program?

A: “There is a lot of false information about drugs. That is how drug dealers take advantage of others. The Truth About Drugs program has simple and true facts about drugs. I work with the point of view that knowledge is power and that’s exactly what I do, empower others. I am able to take the information and educate youth, parents, teachers and the community at large with this knowledge and give them the power to make an educated decision to live drug-free and educate others.”

A: What would you like to say about your work and where you are going from here?

Q: “I take pride in what I do and what I’ve achieved. There’s still a lot to be done. I know that with my team and community partners working together we can make a difference, helping to keep our children and community drug-free and in turn save lives.”

The Center on Addiction stated that seven out of ten teenagers will have been offered an illegal drug by the time they are 17 years old. ii And per another addiction services website, teenagers whose parents talk to them about drugs are 42% less likely to use drugs. iii

The FDFW provides free drug education materials to anyone who would like to inform themselves or others of the facts about drugs. This includes 14 different information booklets on the most commonly abused drugs and a documentary “Real People Real Stories.” FDFW also offers free online courses utilizing the booklets and videos.

Anyone who would like more information or get free materials can visit the Foundation for a Drug-Free World’s website at: www.drugfreeworld.org

To sign up for free drug education courses go to: https://www.drugfreeworld.org/course/

And to request a virtual drug education presentation for a group you can direct message Ms. Santagostino on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/drugfreeworldflorida or email: info.fl@drugfreeworld.org

The Foundation for a Drug-Free World:

The Foundation for a Drug-Free World is a non-profit organization that educates youth and the community on the truth about illicit drugs so they can make the right decision to live drug-free. The Church of Scientology is a sponsor of the program making it possible for the Foundation to provide educational materials at no cost to educators, law enforcement and the community.

i https://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/peak-71k-us-overdose-deaths-2019-dashes-hopes-71801606

ii https://www.centeronaddiction.org/newsroom/press-releases/2006-teen-survey

iii https://davidlawrencecenter.org/blog/substance-abuse/teen-drug-and-alcohol-abuse/