RETIRED OFFICER AND WIFE EXPOSE THE TRUTH
After spending 21 years busting dealers, Frank Bianco and his wife Anne are determined to educate their community and save lives.
“What did you think? Did you like it?” a Scout leader asked a troop member after a Truth About Drugs presentation.
“I hated it!” he replied.
Anne Bianco, standing nearby, was horrified. She and her husband had just delivered the seminar at St. Andrew’s Church.
“I’m terrified! I’m never doing drugs! EVER!” the Scout finished.
Anne sighed. Then the Scout leader approached her and shook her hand. “Please come back next year,” he said. “That’s what I want for every one of my Scouts.”
In their first presentation to a healthy-sized troop—45 in all—the Biancos had made an impact. Browsing through after-event surveys from the boys, they saw that one-for-one, each Scout had responded with saying he would never touch drugs. What’s more, more than 85 percent now wanted to help others learn the truth.
If you rewound a few years, you would have found Frank Bianco as a New York narcotics detective, doing “B & Bs,” or buy-and-busts, going undercover to “buy” drugs from a dealer, then making an arrest.
Frank speaks from experience (21 years in the force) when he says, “Drugs are the main cause of the majority of all criminal activity out there. Anything bad that occurs, alcohol or drugs are part of that.”
On the other end of the spectrum was Anne, who worked in a dental office, where a shocking number of patients would request oxycodone prescriptions to feed their addiction.
That was in Richmond County, New York, which boasts one of the top 10 overdose death rates in the state.
“Frank speaks from experience (21 years in the force) when he says, “Drugs are the main cause of criminal activity out there. Anything bad that occurs, alcohol or drugs are part of that.”
So when the pair moved to North Carolina after retirement, they resolved to use what they knew to help others. Online, they came upon the educational curriculum including booklets and videos created by the Foundation for a Drug-Free World, and it was “love at first sight” says Frank, whose favorite thing about the program is its honest approach.
The pair first contacted their church, St. Michael, the largest in the diocese of Raleigh. There, they delivered Truth About Drugs training to 400 youth as part of their Confirmation classes.
Church staff were so impressed that the Director of Faith Formation wrote a letter to the Foundation for a Drug-Free World stating, “The printed materials were outstanding and the documentary video and public service announcements held our youth a captive audience.”
Frank echoes the sentiment. “They’re getting the information. When that PSA runs, we have their full attention,” he says.
Since February of 2015 when they began, Frank and Anne have expanded their activities to delivering seminars to other church groups, Boy Scout troops and the YMCA. They concurrently participate in outdoor events where their team—now grown to a group of 22 friends, neighbors, family members and kids—man a booth, don Drug-Free World T-shirts and distribute The Truth About Drugs materials. Meanwhile, Anne and Frank work on “booking their next gigs,” as he puts it, which means offering to deliver free training to the organizations of those who approach with interest in knowing more about the program and how to become involved.
“We consider ourselves Drug-Free World Ambassadors,” says Frank. “We speak to anyone who’s willing to listen, and we keep putting the word out to establish a strong awareness that will save lives.”
“Even if it’s only one kid that hears us,” Anne says, “then it’s worth it.”
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