Cross-Border Cooperation by France, Belgium Powers Fight Against Drug Abuse

In the city of Lille near the French/Belgian border, volunteers from the two nations join forces to provide drug education materials and debunk false information about drugs.

A dozen volunteers from the Say No to Drugs Association of Belgium joined the Non à la Drogue, Oui à la Vie (No to Drugs, Yes to Life) Association of France to bring the truth about drugs to the French city of Lille.

According to the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDD), both France and Belgium lack a comprehensive and targeted program of drug education and prevention despite the clear and urgent need to reach youths before they begin experimenting with illicit drugs.

The need for programs to reach youth in evident, with cannabis use nearly doubled in France over the last decade and drug surveys in Belgium showing 39 percent of Flemish 18-year-olds and 44 percent of French 18-year-olds have used cannabis at least once.

The lack of a focused drug prevention program in both countries is particularly relevant when viewed against the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime finding that “For every dollar spent on prevention, at least ten can be saved in future health, social and crime costs.”

In addition to setting up a drug-information booth where they distributed educational materials, the volunteers also placed copies in local shops and spoke with many people to find out what they believe is needed to make a difference in the fight against drug abuse.

A pharmacist told them he would like to have documentation to provide to people who have questions about illicit drugs. A taxi driver complained that he lacks information he could use to help customers who clearly suffer from drug or alcohol abuse. And in speaking to youth, most of them had no idea of the devastating effects of drugs and so couldn’t evaluate the pro-drug hype they are exposed to from media. Everyone spoken to was presented with educational materials to meet their needs.

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 and make these materials available free of charge to educators, parents and mentors. All materials are available online in 17 languages at the website of the Foundation for a Drug-Free World.

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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