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."
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.
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."
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.