| BRAZIL | MAY 18, 2018 |

Igniting a Movement Designed to Sweep Away Brazil’s Drug Epidemic

An army of Brazilian Drug-Free World volunteers is taking on a nation in the throes of a crack cocaine crisis—setting an example of what can be achieved with the right tools.
More than 5,500 volunteers helped distribute over two million Truth About Drugs booklets in Rio de Janeiro, teaming up with police and educators to launch a movement starting at the Olympic Games then moving into the Brazilian slums, spreading the facts and measurably reducing the demand for drugs.

It all started with the approach of the summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, as International headlines predicted disaster. Brazil was crippled by a nationwide crack epidemic and with an estimated 2.8 million cocaine users, the nation was consuming 18 percent of the world’s cocaine. This made Brazil the second-largest consumer after the United States, certainly contributing to making the country one of the most violent nations in the world.

Behind the scenes, Drug-Free World (DFW) Brazil was gearing up and teaming up to tackle the drug problem head on. However, sufficient manpower to reach the fifth most populous nation on Earth would require a very large team, so DFW Brazil partnered with anyone interested in addressing the problem: nonprofit groups, pastors and their congregations, Olympic athletes, law enforcement officials and even samba dancers. When all pulled together, it was a formidable army of over 5,500 volunteers.

The initial thrust of the movement was to distribute one million The Truth About Drugs booklets leading up to and during the Olympic Games. This was accomplished, with distribution to locals, athletes and visitors across Copacabana Beach, down Boulevard Olímpico and through all major game sites.

The Mayor of Rio de Janeiro came on board, giving a letter of endorsement and enabling DFW Brazil to air Truth About Drugs public service announcements at the “Live Sites” where visitors gathered by the thousands to watch the games live on large outdoor screens. The PSAs aired 204 times to 1,680,000 people. And all the while Truth About Drugs media also ran across TV, radio and print.

Gathering more momentum, the expanded DFW team pressed on. Their next advance was distribution in the infamous favelas, the Brazilian slums. Another one million Brazilian Portuguese booklets were printed, this time with the logos of our partners including the Rio Civil Police Unit, “Papo de Responsa,” the Duque de Caxias City Hall and the Department of Education of São Paulo. In the end, not one, but two million booklets were distributed.

With millions learning the truth, Rio de Janeiro saw an unprecedented drop in the seizure of drugs by authorities since 2008: 42 percent drop in marijuana, 40 percent drop in cocaine and 51 percent drop in crack. Rio’s Secretary of Public Order provided the big-picture view when he said, “In a single sweep, you have sparked a drug-free movement here in Rio and for all of Brazil.”

Start a Drug-Free World Group

The Truth About Drugs program is designed so that other groups can adopt it and use it as their own. Countless educators, police officers and nonprofit organizations have done just that.

But there are those who want to join the Foundation team and start a Drug-Free World group of their own. As we certainly can’t reach the entire planet by ourselves, we welcome you aboard to be part of our crusade.

When Amira Bizet, a college student in Algeria, called the Foundation and asked who was running the group for her country, we asked her, “How about you?”

And just like that, Bizet joined the team, received her first bulk order of Truth About Drugs materials, recruited a couple of friends and started booking presentations in schools. It’s that easy.

If you would like to start a group in your area, write us and we’ll get you started.


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 support helps empower people with the facts they need to live healthy, drug-free lives.