"Drug Free World" - Scientology's Latest Scam

Have you ever heard of the website www.drugfreeworld.org? If you've ever googled "marijuana effects" you probably have come across this website - a website which purports to support a drug free world, through education and outreach about the harmful effects of many drugs. To their credit, they may be trying to do a service to the United States or even the planet, but there lies a darker mystery to the website, which deserves to be brought to the public eye.

If one looks into the effects of marijuana, for many across the United States and possibly elsewhere, this website is one of the first results on Google's search engine. Numerous effects are listed on their webpage about the substance, available here, and there are some listed that we think are factually inaccurate. Let's go through the list one by one.

  • Severe anxiety, including fear that one is being watched or followed (paranoia)
This can be true - studies have shown that some individuals who indulge in marijuana smoking or ingestion can become quite anxious while the effects last. However, it is not everybody nor is it in every situation or under every circumstance that this is true. Cannabis does not trigger anxiety in a consistent manner - it slightly alters your perceptions and state of mind, and certain people can, under certain circumstances, become anxious about things under the influence of cannabis. So, this is somewhat true, but it isn't fair to list this as if it occurs every time one smokes marijuana. It's highly subjective.

  • Very strange behavior, seeing, hearing or smelling things that aren’t there, not being able to tell imagination from reality (psychosis)
There are some studies that have been used to justify this position over time - such as this study here, which has been used as "evidence" by some, but in fact, this study states that users undergo "alteration of sensory perception," which can mean a variety of things including simply "food tastes better" - it does not state anywhere anything explicit about hallucinations.

Moreover, it is important to note that if you have trouble hearing someone or see fuzzy edges to objects on marijuana, even in the above study often cited as evidence of this being "hallucination" mention that the effects are transient. This means the effects are temporary and go away rapidly, with the high.

  • Sexual problems (for males)
This caused me to burst out into laughter. I get horny when I get high, and most people I know often get more easily aroused when high, rather than the opposite. One of their sources, available here, is not even a study but a report of a study in a newspaper, and states that men seemed to have more trouble reaching orgasm or even had problems with premature ejaculation when they were smokers of marijuana. However, noted in this article itself:

However, the new study doesn’t establish a cause-effect relationship between marijuana and sexual performance, notes Sharon Johnson, an epidemiologist at the University of Missouri St. Louis, who has also found associations between drug use and sexual problems.

So the article cited even states that this correlation is not valid as a source of stating that marijuana is a cause for sexual problems. There are likely other factors at play. Perhaps, for all we know, everybody who smokes marijuana regularly has a gene that makes achieving orgasm in men more difficult, meaning it's genetics, not marijuana itself that is the cause. Please note, that example was made up, and HardFast Media is not claiming that any such gene exists.

Another interesting item on their bulletpoint list of effects of marijuana usage, on this website:

  • Up to seven times more likely to contract sexually transmitted infections than non-users (for females)
This is laughable especially when you read another excerpt from the same exact article we looked at before, which was used also as evidence for this claim. The quote reads,

Pitts’ team found an even stronger trend for increased sexual activity among female smokers, who were also seven times more likely to have been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection in the last year than non-smokers. However, female smokers had no more problems in the bedroom than abstainers, Pitts’ team found. 
Her team’s results generally back up prior studies connecting increased promiscuity and sexual problems to marijuana use.

There's an obvious second possibility that they never explored, which is that more conservative individuals share the idea that drug usage is inherently immoral (which is taught in many churches in the United States), as is premarital sex. These two ideas are shared by common ideologies in America, so is it any wonder that people who disagree with one idea, disagree with the other?

There's no evidence for any conclusion to be made from this statement - you could also run a study that might show that more people who smoke marijuana have green eyes than non-smokers, but that doesn't imply that marijuana smoking causes green eyes, or vice versa. More information is needed. This is a fallacy, drawing a causative effect from only a correlation between two data points, without actually examining the proposed causative effects more rigorously.

In short, it's horseshit as presented by this website.

Let's move onto "long term effects" however. Here's a commonly cited effect of marijuana usage:

  •  Decline in IQ (up to 8 points if prolonged use started in adolescent age)
Now first, we are not advocating that teenagers use marijuana - only use marijuana in a safe, controlled environment, if legal in your area. However, even this is a contentious claim. Some studies have reported that identical twins who lived apart, one smoking marijuana and one not, both had similar IQ declines, indicating once again that there may be a genetic factor here.

  • Addiction (about 9% of adults and 17% of people who started smoking as teens)
Blatantly false. Physical addiction is not possible with marijuana - it is not a physically addictive substance. If we are discussing mental addictions, or in other words, people having addictive personalities and the problem being in their head rather than with the drug, then yes, anything can be addictive, including video games, TV, work, and sex. Marijuana isn't special there.

  • Potential development of opiate abuse
I bet you I could find a correlation between stressful work such as being a stock broker, and cocaine usage, and then claim that people who work in stock markets have a higher potential development of cocaine abuse. That wouldn't show that working in a stock market actually causes cocaine use though, only that there's some correlation. Marijuana does not magically turn you into a heroin addict, any more than being a stock broker or truck driver might make you a cocaine or meth addict.

Let's just stop right there - who are these people? Why are they peddling such nonsense? Why are they also, for some people including myself, the #1 result on Google when googling "marijuana effects?"

Just who is, the "Foundation for a Drug Free World?" According to their website:

The Foundation for a Drug-Free World is a nonprofit public benefit corporation that empowers youth and adults with factual information about drugs so they can make informed decisions and live drug-free.

 So the corporation is allegedly labeled "The Foundation for a Drug-Free World," and that is where our search begins. Our first stop is a domain lookup, here. This tells us who is in charge of the domain itself. The organization is indeed called "Foundation for a Drug-Free World" according to their domain information. Looking up that name online turns up this interesting news article from May 16th, 2012. The website for Scientology lists them as one of their organizations as well, here.

So The Foundation for a Drug-Free World is actually an arm of the Church of Scientology. Interesting to note, the article mentioned in the previous paragraph also discusses how the reporter was given a pamphlet by the Santa Ana Police Department, and when the number on the pamphlet was called, they were redirected to Narconon Arrowhead, a location of treatment for drug abuse by the corporation Narconon. Narconon is owned by the organization ABLE, or the Assocation for Better Living and Education, and you can see this plainly on their website.

And who runs ABLE?

Maybe not directly, but indirectly it's a part of the Church of Scientology.

So just to recap - the Church of Scientology owns this website and foundation, called "Foundation for a Drug Free World," and spews nonsense and half-truths about marijuana to persuade others not to use it.

In 2012 they published pamphlets under that Foundation's name, which then referred the people to an organization not owned by the Church of Scientology, but which teaches their values anyway, to individuals seeking drug treatment.

We're going to see how deep this rabbit hole goes. We're going to communicate with these people and see if they try to hand us to a Church of Scientology organization or teach us their religion, under the guise of trying to help us with a "drug addiction." So far though, we recommend not trusting anything this organization says, because they seem to be a front in order to attract new members to the Church of Scientology.

We'll write on this again when we have some communications with the Foundation for a Drug Free World.


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