New York City

Scientology-Funded Group Preaching Anti-Drug Message in NYC Public Schools

Foundation for a Drug-Free World was previously kicked out of San Francisco schools for promoting "bogus science."


Smells like teen stimulants.
Foundation for a Drug-Free World

The Foundation for a Drug-Free World, a group founded by the Church of Scientology, has been evangelizing in dozens of New York City public schools against the evils of drugs, even though "The city's Department of Education denied any partnership with the group and said it did not recommend its services."

As reported by DNAInfo New York's Rosa Goldensohn:

The Foundation's materials claim cocaine use leads to murder and suicide and that heroin use causes spontaneous abortions in women — claims not endorsed or are widely rejected by doctors. 

The group's Facebook page shows them speaking to packed houses at schools such as P.S. 111 in Manhattan, J.H.S. 14 in Brooklyn and Bronx Regional High School. The group also posted a flier on Department of Education letterhead advertising an April 30 event at P.S.226.

The group works with NYPD's youth programs as well, according to its Facebook page, and conducted trainings for school officers.

Public school students have long been subjected to unscientific anti-drug scaremongering. As an elementary school student coming of age during the Nancy Reagan/"Just Say No" era, I was one of the first students to endure the federal government's Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program, whose website still posts helpful tips for parents like this:

Explain that drug use hurts people. It can cause AIDS, impaired coordination, slowed growth, and emotional harm such as feelings of isolation or paranoia.

It is incredibly difficult for a private organization to gain access to a New York City public school, so it's remarkable that the Foundation for a Drug-Free World has been able to preach to students despite being ejected from San Francisco schools for "promoting bogus science." But that hasn't stopped the Foundation from reaping the praise of politicians like Congresswoman Grace Ming (D-NY) and City Council Member Paul Vallone (D-Queens) who both issued official proclamations on last year's "United Nations Day Against Drugs," praising the group for its "focus on youth education, community development and commitment to cultural diversity."

Breaking Bad, Going Clear
Foundation for a Drug-Free World

Founded by the late science fiction writer, L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology promises "the precious gift of freedom and immortality—factually, honestly." The Church maintains an overt hostility to psychiatry and has been accused by former members of engaging in torture, blackmail and brainwashing.

Scientology also has a predilection for intimidating critics of the church through lawsuits and "investigations," which South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone were subjected to after animating "what Scientologists actually believe" in the classic episode "Trapped in the Closet." 

UPDATE: I originally neglected to note my colleague Katherine Mangu-Ward's experience with Scientologist anti-drug propaganda, in the form of a "24-page anti-marijuana tract in a baggie with some bribery candy" given to her 3 year-old trick-or-treating daughter last Halloween. The omission was my mistake and should not have happened. Think of the children. 

NEXT: Is Lying About Marijuana a Prerequisite for an Attorney General?

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  1. “The Foundation for a Drug-Free World”

    No, thanks.

    1. Sounds like Hell to me.

      1. The regular, crowded kind, or the solitary one that comes from betraying the Venezuelan revolution?

        1. The “drug-free” kind

  2. Let’s see – the NYC schools banned Christian churches from using school property after-hours, yet they allow a creepy religious group founded by a sci-fi writer to have access to schoolchildren.

    1. They’d let in fucking Jim Jones as long as he was preaching DRUGS BAD.

      1. They’d let in fucking Jim Jones as long as he was promising to deliver a paltry few votes.


    2. A story from last April:

      “A federal appeals panel ruled on Thursday that New York City can bar religious groups from holding services in school buildings…

      “Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, which filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the city’s position in the case, called the ruling “a victory for religious freedom.” Ms. Lieberman said the case was about a group of “religious congregations that were dominating public schools across New York City Sunday after Sunday, year after year.””


      1. Well, now they know what the loophole is.

  3. Note the one against Ritalin. I’m sure Scientology dislikes all drugs–they get high on removing thetans, “dude, I’m so Clear right now”–but Hubbard fucking hated psychologists and obviously anything associated with psychology like medication for psychological conditions.

    Scientist motivations are always a bit weirder than you realize.


    1. And that’s probably what gets them in with moron parents. Schmancy NYers don’t want to medicate, get sucked by Scientologists.

      1. get sucked by Scientologists

        You are awful.

      2. Maybe. Scientology is so weird that I think they get most of their initiates from the entertainment industry, and those people are mostly doing it for connections and networking. But once they’re in…

    2. I’d hate psychologists too if I were a kiddie-diddling loon.


    3. I especially like how they cite Courtney Love as some sort of reliable source of information about what Ritalin can lead to.

    4. To be fair, most ADHD “diagnoses” are complete junk.

      Let’s take younger humans, who biologically want to be running through the hills and plains hunting rabbits or squirrels or whatever, shove them in a room with little to no natural light, and make them learn at the lowest common denominator’s pace. Cause that’s totally not a recipe for kids being restless and bored and thinking of ways to not be.

  4. Kids today know who Kurt Cobain was, right? He’s all the rage right now.

  5. The Foundation’s materials claim … that heroin use causes spontaneous abortions in women

    Yeah… if your aim is to discourage drug use, that may not be the best tactic to use for teenage girls…

    1. Right?!?

  6. ” The omission was my mistake and should not have happened. “


      1. “You are in command now, Intern Jones.”

    1. You’re really commenting on his wardrobe, aren’t you?

  7. “The Church maintains an overt hostility to psychiatry…”

    Ironically, the church practices its own version of psychiatry.

    1. Scientologist groups picket out in front of big psychiatry conferences, calling psychiatrists all sorts of names over bullhorns as they enter the building.

      As a psychiatrist friend once asked, “Do you have a religion dedicated to the eradication of your profession? I do.”

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