Casey DeSantis and Joe Ladapo carry an anti-drug message on the road

On Thursday evening, the First Lady and the Surgeon General worked to bring a major problem to light: drug overdoses. At a “mini-assembly” roundtable in Pinellas County, they talked about a campaign that could do something to stop them.

So-called “assembly tool kits” will be available from the state for schools that want Tallahassee’s help in explaining the many pitfalls possible when someone succumbs to addiction.

First lady Casey DeSantis spoke about his anti-drug campaign, “Facts. Our future.” DeSantis launched it in 2019 and described it as ongoing and essential in a time of rising overdose deaths and influxes of fentanyl from Mexico.

“It’s really, ‘Just say no, but here’s why,'” DeSantis said, tying her initiative in spirit to the former First Lady’s “Just Say No” approach. Nancy Reagan.

DeSantis cited the issues of “vaping” and “marijuana with high levels of THC” as real threats to young people, saying a “call to action” was needed to stem the tide of addiction. She said school assemblies and peer testimonials were ways to affirm a message that urges children to “think twice” about drug use.

Recovering drug addicts and medical professionals offer powerful testimonies at events like this, the First Lady noted.

“This is what your face looks like on meth. This is what it looks like off meth. This is what your brain looks like with high levels of THC. This is what it looks like, a normally functioning brain,” said DeSantis, citing powerful illustrations of the ravages of addiction to provide “context and perspective.”

A former TV host, the First Lady posed probing questions to roundtable attendees, including those whose loved ones’ lives have been derailed by cannabis, Xanax, Oxycodone, fentanyl and others substances.

general surgeon Joseph Ladapo offered his own testimony on the “harmful ramifications of drug addiction on the developing brain”.

“The brain continues to develop into the 20s,” Ladapo noted, and it’s still “susceptible to toxins.”

Drug use among young people leads to addiction among adults, Ladapo added, with ramifications for financial and emotional well-being.

The Surgeon General cited his own work with drug addicts as a physician in California.

“It’s extremely destructive,” Ladapo said of the drug addiction. “It’s hard on the body, hard on the soul.”

Seminole County Sheriff Denis Lemme also made remarks, including stressing the importance of cracking down on drug traffickers “to the fullest extent permitted by law.”


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