Building a Drug Education Groundswell to Reduce Crime and Protect South African Youth
Responsible partners attend two-day drug education program at the Church of Scientology of Pretoria to equip them to take on drug prevention in their communities/organizations.
From Cape Town and throughout Gauteng province and as far away as Nigeria, teams of concerned representatives of community and church groups and other organizations gathered at the Church of Scientology Pretoria for a two-day drug education and prevention training program.
Those attending included representatives of mining companies, social workers, church members, traditional healers and other concerned community activists—part of the groundswell that is building in South Africa to tackle drug abuse through prevention. And for good reason.
The South African Police Service (SAPS) reports there were more than 266,000 instances of drug-related crime in 2015.
The South Africa Department of Social Development emphasizes the importance of drug education with their National Drug Master Plan for 2013 – 2017 that calls for demand reduction “aimed at preventing the onset of substance abuse/dependence, and eliminating or reducing the effect of conditions conducive to the use of dependence-forming substances,” including “presenting educational programmes on the prevention of drug problems.”
“Those in leadership positions can reach
thousands of youth in their communities and churches”
Those gathered at the Scientology Church are among the growing population of those in the private sector who are taking an aggressive stand on this issue in their own zones and communities.
“Those in leadership positions can reach thousands of youth in their communities and churches,” said Maurithus Meiring, Director of Public Affairs of the Church of Scientology of Pretoria and Coordinator for Drug Free World Africa.
Meiring, runner up in the 2015 South Africa Men of the Year competition, organized this training program to get 2016 off to a fast start by bringing these leaders together and providing them with the confidence and materials they need to broadly implement The Truth About Drugs in their programs and organizations.
“We invited dozens of educators, social workers, health care professionals and church and community leaders to attend this two-day drug education and prevention seminar to learn the tools they need to address this issue,” he said.
Held Jan 9-10 in the Chapel of the Church of Scientology Pretoria, the program began with training these leaders in the Truth About Drugs curriculum so they can then train others. Using the programs booklets and videos, they learned about the most commonly abused drugs: What they are, how they work, what are their short- and long-term effects, and what drug dealers and peers tell youth to convince them to experiment with these substances.
This was followed by breakout sessions where those attending discussed and planned how to implement The Truth About Drugs program successfully in their own communities.
One attendee plans to open a Drug-Free World volunteer team in Nigeria and others are organizing and planning events and getting stakeholders involved in their respective communities to address the scourge of drugs and substance abuse.
Drawing on 25 years of experience in drug prevention, the Truth About Drugs program has solved the problem of effectively communicating to teens and young adults the reality of drug abuse, individually and through mass communication.
Scientologists on six continents work in their communities throughout the year to empower others with the truth about drugs. The Church and its members are dedicated to eradicating drug abuse through education.
The Scientology religion was founded by author and philosopher L. Ron Hubbard. The first Church of Scientology was formed in Los Angeles in 1954 and the religion has expanded to more than 11,000 Churches, Missions and affiliated groups, with millions of members in 167 countries.
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