New Drug-Free World Center Embraced by Clearwater Community
Opened July 11, the Foundation for a Drug-Free World center in downtown Clearwater, Florida, is mobilizing community action in a region plagued by drug abuse.
With its doors wide open to the community, the Foundation for a Drug-Free World of Clearwater, Florida, is fast becoming the nexus of a community-wide drug prevention movement.
Hundreds of local residents have toured the new facility since it opened July 11. During their visits they watched public service announcements as well as The Truth About Drugs—Real People, Real Stories documentary, and left armed with booklets and other materials to help youth decide to live drug-free lives.
The need for effective drug education cannot be overstated
The opening of the center comes amid new statistics showing the stranglehold drugs continue to have in Florida and in the Clearwater area. As an example:
- Florida now has the highest number of new HIV diagnoses in the nation, much of it stemming from drug use, with Hillsborough County demonstrating the largest increase—63 percent from 2012 to 2014. Pinellas County diagnoses increased 32 percent, according to recent Florida Department of Health numbers.
- Deaths from heroin in the state have risen 89 percent in one year according to the latest report by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institute of Health.
- Pinellas County Justice & Consumer Services reports that someone dies of a drug overdose every 32 hours in Pinellas County.
The need for effective drug education cannot be overstated. Educators and community leaders, visiting the new Foundation for a Drug-Free World Clearwater headquarters are finding exactly what they need to fight the scourge.
On touring the center, one community activist who works at a summer camp for at-risk youth realized this was exactly the information these youngsters need. Another, who deals with substance abuse in a nearby county, left with a Truth About Drugs educator’s kit to introduce the program to colleagues who deliver drug education. And as Clearwater attracts visitors from around the country, a teacher from New Jersey toured the center, learned about the program, and decided to implement the Truth About Drugs curriculum in her school.
The Truth About Drugs prevention movement is building in momentum, with volunteers handing out copies of the booklets around town and on the beach.
The center is open seven days a week and is part of a complex of centers dedicated to making the humanitarian programs sponsored by the Church of Scientology available to the community.
This new Foundation for a Drug-Free World center is one of six new facilities, each dedicated to helping with the pressing issues that impact Clearwater and the Greater Tampa Bay area, including:
- A museum and operations center for Citizens Commission on Human Rights, the world’s leading mental health watchdog group since 1969, responsible for helping to enact some 181 laws protecting individuals from abusive or coercive psychiatric practices. Its Clearwater information center features the Psychiatry: An Industry of Death museum.
- A new home for United for Human Rights, a global education initiative working to identify and protect the rights of every citizen of the world and now every resident of Pinellas County—where human rights abuses and human trafficking rank among the most severe in the United States. This headquarters promises to spearhead the fight against these unconscionable abuses.
- The Criminon Florida headquarters stands as a starting point in carrying out the mission of addressing the causes of criminality and restoring offenders’ self-respect through effective character-building programs.
- A building dedicated to The Way to Happiness, the nonreligious moral code written by L. Ron Hubbard. Published in 112 languages, the 21 precepts have brought calm to communities torn by violence, peace to areas ravaged by civil strife, and self-respect to millions. The new Clearwater office will provide the moral compass needed locally.
- The new downtown home of the Church's Volunteer Ministers, part of a global movement active in 120 nations—the world’s largest independent relief force. Scientologists volunteer more than 200,000 hours a year in the Tampa Bay area alone, living by the Volunteer Ministers motto that no matter the challenge, “Something can be done about it.”
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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