This afternoon I met with Dick Pound and Marc Paris, of the Partnership for a Drug Free Canada (PDFC). The name Dick Pound might sound familiar to you. He was one of Canada’s great athletes in the Sixties. He was a swimming finalist at the 1960 Olympic Games and later became President of the Canadian Olympic Association and a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). He has been active in various IOC committees ever since and is also founding President of the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA). Now, he’s taken on the duties of the Chair of the Partnership for a Drug Free Canada (PDFC). His colleague, Marc Paris, is PDFC’s executive director and works out of Toronto.
The mission of PDFC is a critical one: to educate Canadian parents and youth about the issue of illegal drug use – particularly as it relates to driving and drugs – and the abuse of prescription drugs. PDFC plans to accomplish this through campaigns of media-delivered drug prevention education messages. Their strategy is modeled on that of the Partnership for a Drug free America (PDFA) which was founded in 1986. PDFA has had a significant impact in helping to reduce the trail of illicit drugs in my own country. Hopefully PDFC will have the same effect in Canada.
I was surprised at some of the facts Dick and Marc shared with me. One that caught my attention was that approximately twenty percent of Canada’s youth have abused prescription drugs from their parents’ medicine cabinets in order to get high. Dick said that there is a critical need for drug prevention education in Canada… drug use among youths is NOT just a problem south of the border…and usage in Canada is increasing. You can see read about the PDFC at www.canadadrugfree.org. By coincidence, the White House just announced a new study about drug use in the U.S. That study is available at http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/.