Drug-Free Marshals Toronto 27th Annual “Say No to Drugs, Say Yes to Life” Christmas Festival 

Some 1,500 visitors attended the 27th annual Drug-Free Marshals Christmas Festival, cosponsored by the Church of Scientology of Toronto and the Foundation for a Drug-Free World with the help of local businesses. The festival featured toys, entertainment, arts & crafts, cookie decorating, raffles and a Truth About Drugs essay contest for children and teens.

The drive to spread a drug-free message received a spirited yuletide boost Sunday, November 29, at the 27th Annual Drug-Free Marshals “Say No to Drugs, Say Yes to Life” Christmas Festival at Yonge Street and Dundas Square in the heart of downtown Toronto. Some 1,500 enjoyed the music, arts & crafts, cookie decorating, raffle and visit from Santa Claus “himself.”

Winners of the annual Drug-Free Marshals essay contest, on stage in downtown Toronto at the 27th annual Drug-Free Marshals Christmas Festival. 

The event was co-sponsored by the Church of Scientology of Toronto, the Foundation for a Drug-Free World and local businesses.

Throughout the afternoon, children and parents took the Drug-Free Marshals pledge—to live drug-free and help friends and family do the same. 

Event organizers announced the winners of the annual Drug-Free Marshals essay contest, who stepped to the stage to receive their awards. The 13-year-old winner in the young teen category wrote of the importance of kids taking over some of the burden from law enforcement. Police have to deal with too much drug-related crime. By kids encouraging their friends to live drug-free, “the streets all around us would be safer,” she wrote. Likewise, the winner in the age 9-11 category was aware of the problem and wants a drug-free community because it will mean “less crime and death.” 

A police official echoed their views. “I've seen firsthand how devastating drugs can be to individuals, families, and collectively to the safety of our communities,” he said. “So I think it’s absolutely fantastic that the Drug-Free Marshals program continues to reach children when they’re young, and is providing great role models. I can’t think of a better place to be on a Sunday afternoon than here supporting this great program.”

For more than 20 years, Scientology Churches have used the Drug-Free Marshals, known as the Drug-Free Ambassadors in New Zealand and Australia, to reach out to children before they are exposed to peer pressure to experiment with harmful drugs.

How much is this needed? Every 12 seconds another school-age child experiments with illicit drugs for the first time. Drug use in this age group has risen steadily throughout the past decade and children are exposed to drugs at younger and younger ages.

Because drug abuse is a global problem, it requires a global solution, and the Church of Scientology has developed such an initiative—the Truth About Drugs program. The Church has made it accessible and usable by anyone anywhere and it is now one of the world’s largest nongovernmental drug information and prevention initiatives. It is founded on studies showing that when young people are given the truth about drugs—what they really are and what they do—usage rates drop proportionately.

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.

Church of Scientology Media Relations
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