One Parent's Fight to Save Young Lives

Lance Dyer fills the empty spaces left by the death of his son by reaching out to kids to save them from the same fate. 

Dakota Dyer was 14 when he bought synthetic marijuana at a nearby convenience store. It made no difference that it was technically “legal” at the time. It only took one hit to kill him. His death left what his father Lance Dyer calls “empty spaces.” 

Determined to do everything he could to prevent other tragic and senseless deaths, Dyer has spent the past decade traveling across the U.S., lobbying legislators to enact laws to protect youth, and educating young people on the danger of drugs.  

“I began by using materials from the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the United States Department of Health and Human Services, and from any organization I could find,” says Dyer. “As good as some of these materials were, they lacked a vital something when it came to connecting with young adults and children.”

He would hand these materials out at high schools and civic groups, but most of them would be left on the seats when the presentation was over. “They just did not have the ‘WOW’ factor necessary to get and keep youths’ interest,” he says.

Dyer discovered Foundation for a Drug-Free World when he was in Seattle, Washington, reviewing proposed legislation with local lawmakers. 

“As I was exiting the building, I saw a single Truth About Drugs booklet on the hallway table,” Dyer says. He found the material factual, devoid of any spin and easy to understand. And most important, it kept his attention. “This was what I needed to keep the kids interested and engaged long after an event had ended.” 

Dyer began using the Foundation’s educational materials at school events and noticed immediately that the booklets were not left on the seats or bleachers as students left. Kids were stuffing them into their back pockets, book bags and purses. And they were grabbing copies of the DVDs he left on the tables. 

“These materials were connecting. There was interest and understanding. It was reaching them, it was making a difference, it was saving lives,” Dyer says. 

Dyer found the appeal of the program to be universal. He has used these materials successfully at rehab centers, in middle schools, high schools and colleges. They have kept youth engaged in inner-city, urban and rural areas, and on Native American reservations. They have inspired thoughtful questions and interchange with and among young people on the West Coast, in the Northeast, the Deep South, in Mountain states, and from the Midwest to the Southwest.

As just one example of their impact, a teen stopped Dyer in a Walmart and asked if he remembered her. She told him that the Truth About Drugs booklets empowered her not to experiment with drugs when offered them by her peers. 

Two years after a presentation Dyer made at a high school in Georgia, a young woman told him how she used the Truth About Crystal Meth booklets to save her mother’s life.

“Her mom was using crystal meth and seeing the pamphlets gave her an idea,” says Dyer. Every morning she would place a Truth About Crystal Meth booklet on the table or next to her mom's coffee cup. “Sometimes, her mother would throw the booklet away. When this happened, the young woman would simply dig it out of the trash can. Then she would continue the process of putting a booklet out for her mother to find. Eventually, her mom read the booklet and decided to find help. She kicked crystal meth and got clean.”

Dyer has reached millions of people through TV, radio, social media and print media, sharing the tragedy of his son’s death and distributing hundreds of thousands of Truth About Drugs educational materials to as many people as he can reach, especially youth.

“They are our nation’s and the future’s most precious resource,” he says. “At the end of the day, my hope and prayer is that I educate our young adults to the point their lives are clear of drug addiction and drug use, so their friends and loved ones will never have to face the ‘empty spaces’ as I did.”

Foundation for a Drug-Free World is a volunteer-based organization with a network of some 200 chapters around the world. Thanks to the support of the Church of Scientology and Scientologists, the Foundation provides the Truth About Drugs secular program and materials free of charge to drug educators worldwide.

Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard noted the role substance abuse plays in the disintegration of the social fabric. He wrote, “Research has demonstrated that the single most destructive element present in our current culture is drugs.”

Using the resources from Foundation for a Drug-Free World, volunteers in countries across the globe are reaching their communities with this vital information. Its effectiveness is documented in episodes of the original series Voices for Humanity on the Scientology Network.

The Scientology Network is available on DIRECTV Channel 320, DIRECTV STREAM, AT&T U-verse and can be streamed at, 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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