GUEST COLUMN Fueling Effective Education in a Major Drug Pipeline

John Redman is Executive Director of the San Diego-based Community Alliances for Drug-Free Youth.

The mission of Community Alliances for Drug-Free Youth (CADFY) is to foster safe and drug-free communities. We do so in support of the National Drug Control Strategy, which is directed from the President’s Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Our three-pronged approach to reduce drug abuse is through:

  1. interdiction—stopping the flow of drugs across our borders and into our neighborhoods
  2. treatment—healing those who have been afflicted by drug abuse, and
  3. prevention—ensuring that no child ever goes down that dark path of drug abuse. Prevention through education is closest to my heart and, in this regard, it is a privilege to work with the Foundation for a Drug-Free World. Their materials are the best I have ever seen.

Ultimately, the drug problem in any community boils down to each child making one decision every day: “Am I going to use drugs?” Across the nation, our children face this challenge daily, and I believe it is our responsibility to ensure that they are able to answer it for themselves.

As parents, teachers, ministers, friends, coaches or law enforcement officers, we all make a difference. When it comes to prevention, our biggest challenge, in general, is how to counter the propaganda that pressures our youth every day to accept drug abuse as a way of life. The simplest answer is to reduce the demand for drugs—but how do we do that with millions of kids?

Our chances for success increase exponentially by empowering youths with facts they can truly grasp as their own, facts concerning the real physical and psychological harm of drugs and how they affect their lives. That is why The Truth About Drugs program is no longer simply a must for our communities; it is now an imperative.

We have learned so very clearly over the years that what happens in the United States affects Mexico, and what happens in Mexico affects the United States. Mexican families and government officials are just as concerned about doing whatever it takes to put an end to drug-running and the unfathomable cartel violence that seems to outdo itself—just when we think we have seen the worst of it. Kids are not just taking drugs these days; they are being pulled out of schools and robbed of their youth. They are even bypassing gangs and going straight into the cartels.

That is why CADFY established the Bi‑National Exchange, a bilateral initiative to reduce the consumption of drugs along the California-Mexico border, the heaviest traffic zone for drugs entering the United States. By working with the Foundation for a Drug‑Free World and other partners committed to educating the world about the dangers of drugs, we can create a safer border community for all.

Observes World Day Against Drugs

For the 2014 United Nations International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, on June 26, the Foundation for a Drug-Free World coordinated more than 200 drug awareness events, distributing the Truth About Drugs educational materials in 28 countries on six continents, and bringing the anti-drug message to some 250,000 people.

The Foundation’s flagship event was held in the halls of the United States Congress on Capitol Hill, drawing Members of Congress and officials from the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Drug-Free World Events were also held around the world:

» Europe/Middle East
Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom

» Africa
Algeria, Kenya, Lesotho, South Africa, Zimbabwe

» Asia
Japan, Taiwan, Province of China

» Australia
Australia, New Zealand

» North America
United States, Canada, Mexico

» South America
Costa Rica, Venezuela


Support the Foundation for a Drug-Free World and help protect young lives from the destructive effects of drugs. Your contributions enable us to make our educational materials available free of charge to schools, youth organizations and other groups and individuals. Your generous support helps empower people with the facts they need to live healthy, drug‑free lives.