Scientologists Tell Story Behind The Truth About Drugs—Real People, Real Stories Documentary
The Truth About Drugs—Real People, Real Stories, an award-winning feature-length documentary, is a hard-hitting, no-holds-barred film used to educate young people in 114 countries about the dangers of drug abuse.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently labeled prescription drug abuse an epidemic.
Director Gary Ravenscroft and writer Christopher Smith, both Scientologists and parents, set out to create a film with enough impact to reach young people so they can make an informed decision about drugs when faced with peer pressure.
“Christopher and I wanted to produce a documentary that wasn’t preachy, because that would just make kids switch off,” says Ravenscroft.
“Young people are told what to do and what not to do by their parents, teachers and police to such a degree they don’t really want to listen to what they say,” says Smith. “But young people are more willing to listen to and believe people who have been through the experience of drug addiction.”
To create a film that speaks to young people, Smith and Ravenscroft found young recovered addicts and had them tell their stories, unscripted and in their own words. That way, young people could hear raw, unfiltered stories, with no other opinions getting in the way of the truth.
“I interviewed more than 100 former drug addicts who had been on various drugs,” says Ravenscroft. “I found there were only a few reasons they all had for starting to take drugs: boredom, group pressure, and, the main one, ignorance of the effects of the drugs themselves. Nearly every former addict told us that if they had known how dealers and their so-called friends were lying and what these drugs would do, they would not have taken them.”
Hence, Ravenscroft and Smith began by creating a series of public service announcements on the theme, “They said… They lied.”
The documentarians then took those interviews and shaped them into the Real People, Real Stories documentary, covering the drugs most frequently abused by young people. Former addicts were asked to talk about their experiences as they would to their best friends or a younger brother or sister.
“I believe this was the key to getting such honest heartfelt stories,” says Ravenscroft. “They told the truth and they were very willing to tell all. They had been to hell and back and were grateful that they had made it, when many of their friends had not. They were still alive and it meant a lot to them that they could help.”
“They didn’t pull any punches. They have seen and done the worst of it—stealing from their families, living on the streets, even watching others die,” says Smith. “They didn’t care what people might think about them—they only cared about who they could save by telling their stories.”
“Directing this film has had a profound and lasting effect on me,” says Ravenscroft. “When I see the feedback from kids, teachers and parents who have used the documentary, I think to myself, ‘If it saves one child from taking drugs it has been totally worth it.’”
Ravenscroft recounts one story from a student who saw the documentary in school: “He had just started smoking marijuana. He watched the DVD in class and decided to give it up. He later wrote that he had no idea what pot could do to you and where it could lead. He couldn’t thank us enough. This outcome was exactly why we did this project in the first place.”
“It is incredibly gratifying to know there are young people all over the world who will not do drugs because of what we’ve created with the Truth About Drugs—Real People, Real Stories documentary,” says Smith. “It is saving lives.”
The Truth About Drugs—Real People, Real Stories documentary is a key component in the drug education and prevention program supported by the Church of Scientology. The Church of Scientology has published a new brochure, Scientology: How We Help—The Truth About Drugs, Creating a Drug-Free World, to meet requests for more information about the drug education and prevention initiative it supports. To learn more or to read a copy of the brochure, visit Scientology.org/AntiDrug.
Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard wrote, “The planet has hit a barrier which prevents any widespread social progress—drugs and other biochemical substances. These can put people into a condition which not only prohibits and destroys physical health but which can prevent any stable advancement in mental or spiritual well-being.”
The Church of Scientology supports the Truth About Drugs, one of the world’s largest nongovernmental drug education and prevention campaigns, and Scientologists on five continents volunteer year-round to make this program broadly available. It has been conclusively proven that when young people are provided with the truth about drugs—factual information on what drugs are and what they do—usage rates drop commensurately.