DEA Special Agent Educates on Alarming – and Deadly – Trend in Teen Drug Use at “Truth About Synthetics” Forum at Washington, DC,

Church of Scientology National Affairs Office 

Special Agent Robert Bell, Office of Diversion Control US DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) exposes the myths of synthetic drugs
Ms. Courtney Bennett, Community Organizer, DC Prevention Center of Washington’s Wards 5 & 6, speaking on synthetic drug abuse

On the UN Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking the Foundation for a Drug Free World (http://www.drugfreeworld.org) held an educational forum entitled “The Truth About Synthetics” which was devoted to raising awareness of the dangers of synthetic substances, many of which are now being marketed to African American youth.  Diplomats, federal agency employees, non-profits, and regional activists gathered at the Church of Scientology National Affairs Office (http://www.scientology.org)  to learn more about the second most widely abused drug on the planet today, synthetic marijuana, and other designer synthetic drugs.

DEA Special Agent Robert Bell of the Synthetic Drugs and Chemicals Section focused on the new and alarming wave of synthetic drugs as well as their reckless—and often fatal—use by teens.  Thousands of lives have been lost to these legal substances, all the more insidious as they are marketed internationally under the guise of potpourri, bath salts and incense.

In fact, Special Agent Bell announced, the DEA had conducted its largest-ever synthetic drug takedown seizing over 3,300 pounds of synthetics drugs that day.

“Never have so many new drugs been introduced to our country before.  Over the last three years it’s been an onslaught—a flood. With no regard for safety of children and adults there are huge profits being made,” said Mr. Bell of these deadly drugs.

African-American youth advocate, community organizer and synthetics expert Ms. Courtney Bennett spoke at the forum on her work in Washington’s Ward 5 and 6.  Ms. Bennett commented, “I applaud Foundation for a Drug-Free World for having a forum that connected so many substance abuse prevention experts with community members, leaders and organizers to help ensure the community better understands the detrimental impact these synthetic drugs are having on our youth.”

Other speakers included Clark Carr, President of Narconon International (http://www.narconon.org) , who presented an on-the-ground perspective of the impact of synthetics on drug rehabilitation services and Corwin Knight, Founder of the Hope Foundation Reentry Network (https://www.facebook.com/hopereentrynetwork) who read moving personal letters from incarcerated African American youth telling their stories of the dangers of synthetic drugs.

One of Mr. Knight’s youth penned a poem entitled “Wasted Time,” in which he wrote: “I just live for the day when I’ll get a new start and the dreams I still hold deep in my heart.  I hope I can make it, I at least have to try because I’m heading towards death, and I don’t want to die.”

A detailed explanation of the biological consequences of synthetic marijuana consumption, as well as stories of several patients’ deaths from taking synthetic drugs were provided by Doctor Diane Sauter of Emergency Medicine at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, a medical toxicologist for decades who has treated many youth on synthetics.

Jesse Morrow, Social Reform Director at the Church of Scientology National Affairs Office, closed the event with a briefing on the free drug-education materials available from the Foundation for a Drug-Free World (http://www.drugfreeworld.org) , which is the largest non-governmental drug education program on the planet.

Every year, nations around the world observe International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on June 26th to demonstrate support for substance abuse prevention.  Also known as World Drug Day, June 26th was settled on by the United Nations General Assembly in 1987, and serves as an annual reminder of the importance of combatting societal problems that stem from drug use and abuse.


Bari Berger
Public Affairs Director
Church of Scientology National Affairs Office
202 667 6404