Florida’s First Lady Casey DeSantis says just telling students not to use drugs isn’t enough.
On Wednesday, she unveiled a new campaign that will educate children across the state about the dangers of vaping, alcohol and drugs in an effort to help them make informed decisions.
As part of The Facts, Your Future campaign, school districts across Florida will receive informational tool kits packed with statistics and other scientific research that illustrates the negative consequences of using drugs.
“(The campaign) is driven by science and statistics because we want to give the students the facts about drug abuse so that they are empowered to be able to make the right decision,” DeSantis said during a media event at Greenwood Lakes Middle School in Lake Mary.
There will also be a public service video announcement contest that will allow students across the state to compete for cash prizes.
DeSantis appeared alongside Attorney General Ashley Moody, Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees, Department of Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, Department of Children & Families Secretary Chad Poppell and Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma, all of whom agreed that young people across the nation are vulnerable when it comes to addiction.
Leaders said sometimes those who use drugs, alcohol or nicotine don’t understand that what they’re putting in their bodies can have long-term health effects, even as Florida saw 5,000 overdose deaths in 2018 alone.
Lemma hopes that the campaign will stop youths from using drugs in the first place.
“I say this a lot that the most significant thing that we can do about crime or addiction is to prevent it from occurring in the first place and making sure we have reasonable, concise messaging that state clear science-based facts is going to allow us to educate our youth – I would argue one of the most vulnerable populations that we have – as well as their family members as part of this process as well," Lemma said.
DeSantis said even with the new campaign, there’s still much more to be done to protect children from drugs.
“This is just step one. This initiative is just a part of what we want to do for our students because at the end of the day, we owe it to them to give them a bright future," she said.