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Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis Launches New Youth Drug Education Program

Empty classroom at a school in Florida

Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis has launched a new drug education initiative to help young people understand the effects of drug abuse. At a recent press conference, First Lady DeSantis was joined by other key figures, including Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, Florida Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran to announce the program.

During the press conference, First Lady DeSantis said that for too long, Florida children have been losing sight of their goals and even their lives as the result of drug abuse and addiction. She went on to say that students need to get the facts about drug abuse. The new youth drug prevention program will hopefully help empower young people with more science-based information, provided at an earlier age. Along with drugs, the program will teach children about the dangers of alcohol and vaping.

Florida leaders have spoken out, saying that according to many teenage drug statistics, young people often don’t understand that the substances they put in their bodies can have long-term effects. This is particularly relevant as Florida saw 5,000 overdose deaths just in 2018. The goal is to prevent addiction from occurring in the first place, but DeSantis said in addition to the campaign, more needs to be done to ensure Florida’s young people are protected from drugs.

Why “Just Say No” Doesn’t Work

In the 80s, there was the introduction of the Just Say No campaign, which was created by First Lady Nancy Reagan. Since then, research has shown that encouraging young people to flat-out reject drugs and peer pressure doesn’t work. There are different theories as to why the dare program effectiveness didn’t pan out as expected. Some feel these types of programs may highlight the dangers of illegal drugs, but do little to help students understand the risks of other substances such as alcohol.

Some believe these programs also don’t do enough to explain the why’s of not using drugs, and the true, scientifically-based reasons to abstain from drug use. Rather than telling students to oversimplify the conversation by just saying no, the Florida campaign is working to help students make informed decisions.

The Facts. Your Future. Campaign.

The Facts. Your Future. is the name of the new campaign, and it will highlight the effects of drugs on a teenager. School districts across the state will receive tool kits that have scientific research and statistics highlighting drug facts for teens. The program is holding a competition for students to make videos that could become public service announcements. It will include not just drug facts for teens, but information on things like vaping as well, a topic where there is a lot of misinformation.

The Facts. Your Future. is part of the Hope for Healing Florida initiative that will use school assemblies as part of substance abuse prevention.

If you have a teen in your life struggling with drugs or alcohol, we encourage you to reach out to Next Generation Village today for treatment information and resources.

Sources:

ClickOrlando. “Here’s how Florida’s first lady plans to dissuade students from using drugs.” December 4, 2019. Accessed December 30, 2019.

DeSantis Administrative Staff. “First Lady Casey Desantis Launches “The Facts. Your Future. Campaign in Partnership with Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees and DCF Secretary Chad Poppell.” Ron DeSantis, 46th Governor of Florida. December 4, 2019. Accessed December 30, 2019.

McCarthy, Regan. “Florida Launches New Drug Education Campaign.” WJCT, December 9, 2019. Accessed December 30, 2019.

Jaeger, Kyle. “The Scientific Reason ‘Just Say No’ Doesn’t Work.” ATTN, April 16, 2017. Accessed December 30, 2019.

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