Greek Scientologists Support and Promote a Healthy Drug-Free Lifestyle at the National Marathon
Volunteers from the Church of Scientology of Greece brought the Truth About Drugs educational campaign to the Athens Marathon to promote the value and importance of drug-free living.
Nearly 10,000 runners took off from the starting line of this year’s Athens Marathon and an estimated 35,000 more came to watch and cheer them on. Known as “The Authentic Marathon,” the race follows the historic journey of Pheidippides in 490 BC—the Athenian soldier who ran 42,195 meters from the battlefield near the city of Marathon to Athens to announce that Athens had defeated Persia. Legend has it that Pheidippides delivered the news, shouting "Niki!" (Victory!), before he collapsed and died.
Today, training and preparation ensure marathon runners don’t perish as they cross the finish line, but it is still a grueling and exciting race requiring persistence and determination.
Volunteers from the Athens chapter of the Foundation for a Drug-Free World reached out to those attending and participating in the annual event with a message embraced by those who are dedicated to athletic achievement: the importance of an active drug-free lifestyle. The chapter is sponsored by the Church of Scientology of Greece.
The Foundation for a Drug-Free World’s Truth About Drugs materials present the short- and long-term effects of the 14 most commonly abused drugs including alcohol. The program includes booklets, public service announcements, and a feature-length documentary available in 17 languages, including Greek, in which former addicts communicate the cold, hard truth about the effects of these substances. These fact-based materials help youth make the self-determined decision to live drug-free.
“People were so open to our campaign, especially parents of young children,” said one of the volunteers. There were people coming up to them asking for more booklets for their friends. A teacher took sets of booklets to give to his pupils. Others wanted to know how they could become personally involved in getting out the Foundation’s message. The volunteers were gratified with the interest and support they encountered, as they are passionate about ending drug abuse and addiction and their devastating personal and social consequences.
According to EMCDDA, the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction, overdose is a leading cause of avoidable death in Europe. The Center’s 2022 Drug Report states 5,800 deaths involving one or more illicit drugs were reported in the European Union in 2020.
While nowhere near the crisis level of opioid-related deaths in the U.S., each of those lives lost is an avoidable tragedy.
According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), “for every dollar spent on prevention, at least ten can be saved in future health, social and crime costs.” But the impact of drug education and prevention programs goes beyond a monetary comparison. As the UNODC adds, drug-prevention strategies contribute to “the healthy and safe development of children and youth to realize their talents and potential and become contributing members of their community and society.”
Churches of Scientology support the Foundation for a Drug-Free World. L. Ron Hubbard, Founder of the Scientology religion, wrote: “Research has demonstrated that the single most destructive element present in our current culture is drugs.”
Humanitarian groups and individuals who have adopted the Foundation’s Truth About Drugs initiative are featured in episodes of the original series Voices for Humanity on the Scientology Network. From the Czech Republic to India and from Colombia to the streets of Los Angeles, the program speaks to youth the world over.
The Scientology Network is available on DIRECTV Channel 320 and can be streamed at Scientology.tv, on mobile apps and via the Roku, Amazon Fire and Apple TV platforms. Since launching with a special episode featuring Scientology ecclesiastical leader Mr. David Miscavige, Scientology Network has been viewed in 240 countries and territories worldwide in 17 languages.
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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