Honduras Finds New Hope with Club Defiance

Honduras’ second-largest city, San Pedro Sula, has become known as the murder capital of the world. A multibillion-dollar drug trade flows through the country along one of the world’s major narcotics trafficking corridors. Business and government corruption is rampant. The literacy level is one of the lowest in Latin America. Into this maelstrom come youth gangs, membership now exceeding 100,000, recruiting children 7 and younger with promises of drugs, cash and adventure.

Honduran Eduardo Sabillon describes the children of his country as “caught in the cross hairs” of these scourges—and he is doing something about it. Ten years ago, he opened the first “Club Desafio” (Defiance) in Pueblo Novas, helping 45 at-risk young people learn to “make healthy choices”—staying away from drugs and resisting the lure of the gangs. Word spread quickly of his success with the kids, and he soon opened Club Desafio in 12 other areas, including in the infamous San Pedro Sula.

Eduardo Sabillon presents The Truth About Drugs materials to the Deputy Minister of Education for Honduras.

But Sabillon still needed a way to arm the kids with unshakable certainty about the harm of drugs, and he went in search of a curriculum. Calling it a “godsend,” he discovered Foundation for a Drug-Free World and its Truth About Drugs materials online. He requested an information portfolio and then the full Educator’s Kit, and knew he had found a gold mine. “These are the exact materials I was looking for and could only dream existed,” he said.

Sabillon used The Truth About Drugs lesson plans, public service announcements, booklets and posters in his Club Desafio program for the next three years, giving young Hondurans the facts about drugs and empowering them to make their own decision to stay away from drugs. But he knew he needed to reach more young people, so he launched a training project for churches and schools, starting with 53 drug educators from 17 schools and 12 churches in San Pedro Sula, and 50 educators from 25 schools in the capital city of Tegucigalpa.

Driven by the urgency of reaching young people before the dealers and gang recruiters do, Sabillon set out to introduce the program into all schools. He presented the Club Desafio and Drug-Free World programs to the Deputy Minister of Education, after which she immediately wrote a letter of support and authorized the first phase of delivery in schools in four major cities, including Tegucigalpa.

“These are the exact materials I was looking for and could only dream existed.”

Training began with a workshop in La Ceiba for 70 teachers, counselors and principals from districts across the north coast. Introduced by the Deputy Minister of Education herself, the workshop included a full Educator’s Kit for each participant, and a wake-up call: “Now that we have the materials, let’s stop complaining and do something about it,” said one teacher.

And they did. Sabillon’s first class stepped up their delivery to thousands of youth in elementary and secondary schools across Honduras, teaching the truth about drugs to more than 15,000 students in 195 institutions.

The success and scale of delivery led to a meeting at the Presidential Palace with the First Lady of Honduras. She too endorsed the program and set the wheels in motion for collaboration with the National Prevention Agency and the Department of Education—major steps toward implementation of the Drug-Free World program across the entire nation.


  • 80% of opiate painkillers produced in the world are consumed by Americans.
  • In the US, 16,500 people died from overdoses tied to narcotic pain relievers.
  • Every hour in the US, a baby is born with symptoms of opiate withdrawal.
  • 52 million people in the US have used prescription drugs nonmedically.
  • Internationally, treatment demand for prescription opiods addiction rose by 460% in a 10-year period.


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