Church of Scientology Seattle Community Open House Looks Into the Fentanyl Crisis: Washington Has the Fastest Rising Overdose Rate in the Country

In partnership with Foundation for a Drug-Free World, Seattle’s Church of Scientology hosted a World Health Day community open house with a Drug Enforcement Administration presentation on the city’s fentanyl crisis

Public Health Seattle King County reports 1,060 overdose deaths involving fentanyl in 2023 — up nearly 50 percent from 2022. For World Health Day 2024, Seattle’s Church of Scientology invited a representative of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to shed light on the crisis.

Marcus L. Picket, DEA Community Outreach Specialist briefed those attending on the extent and severity of the drug overdose epidemic in Seattle.
Drug Enforcement Agency Community Outreach Specialist briefed those attending on the extent and severity of the drug overdose epidemic in Seattle.

Marcus L. Picket, DEA Community Outreach Specialist, presented “One Pill Can Kill,” a DEA campaign to raise public awareness. He presented startling statistics on the fentanyl crisis: 

  • In 2023, the DEA seized more than 79.5 million fentanyl-laced fake pills. 
  • The DEA also seized 12,000 pounds of fentanyl powder. 
  • The 2023 seizures equate to more than 376.7 million lethal doses of fentanyl. 
  • Of the seized pills containing fentanyl, seven out of 10 of those tested contained potentially deadly quantities of the drug. 
  • Poisoning deaths (including poisoning by fentanyl-laced pills) are the leading killer of Americans age 18 to 45. 
Drug-Free World coordinator Dave Scattergood showed how the Foundation’s Truth About Drugs addresses the crisis from the most strategic position
Drug-Free World Northwest representative Dave Scattergood showed how the Foundation’s Truth About Drugs materials address the crisis from the most strategic position.

“We have a task ahead of us,” said Dave Scattergood, Northwest representative of Foundation for a Drug-Free World whose Seattle chapter cohosted the open house. “The way we do this is by getting our free educational materials into the hands of youth and those who interact with them such as educators and counselors.”  

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime has long designated prevention as a critical component of effective drug policy, stating “Prevention strategies based on scientific evidence working with families, schools, and communities can ensure that children and youth, especially the most marginalized and poor, grow and stay healthy and safe into adulthood and old age. For every dollar spent on prevention, at least ten can be saved in future health, social and crime costs.” But in the throes of the fentanyl crisis, the role of prevention becomes paramount, says Drug-Free World International Executive Director Jessica Hochman.

“It’s time to realize prevention is the only viable solution to the overdose crisis,” says Hochman. “Fentanyl has changed the dynamic of drug abuse. The solution is to educate youth, so they don’t start taking drugs in the first place.
Help them gain confidence
that they are doing the right thing in not taking drugs, period.”

Drug-Free World is a nonprofit public benefit corporation that looks at the crisis of drug abuse through the lens of prevention. Its drug prevention materials are designed to empower young people through information. Their goal is to help youth make their own informed decisions about drugs.

Drug-Free World is inspired by the research and writings of author, humanitarian and Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard, who found that “the single most destructive element present in our current culture is drugs.” Scientology Churches and Scientologists support Foundation for a Drug-Free World, making it possible to provide its youth-friendly materials free of charge to schools, civic groups, governments, law enforcement, and individuals and institutions in the private sector.

To see the impact of Drug-Free World’s educational materials, watch public service announcements and The Truth About Drugs—Real People, Real Stories documentary on the Scientology Network, or watch episodes of Voices for Humanity to learn how activists of diverse cultures, creeds and nationalities use this campaign to create change in their communities and nations.

The Church of Scientology Seattle is an Ideal Scientology Organization, dedicated by Scientology ecclesiastical leader Mr. David Miscavige in 2010. Ideal Scientology Churches realize Mr. Hubbard’s intention to provide the ideal facilities to service Scientologists on their ascent to greater states of spiritual awareness and freedom and serve as a home for the entire community and a meeting ground for cooperative efforts to uplift people of all denominations. 

The Church of Scientology Seattle and its Drug-Free World chapter encourage anyone wishing to contribute to solving this crisis to visit the Church at 300 West Harrison Street or their nearest Church of Scientology, or take the free online drug education course on the Foundation for a Drug-Free World website.

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