The first ‘Say No to Drugs - Say Yes to Life’ football team has just been launched in London. The team brings the message of ‘Saying NO to street drugs and Saying YES to life. The team is a mix of players from across London including Camden, and starring several officers from Camden Police! The team is sponsored by the Church of Scientology as part of its national campaign to help educate people about the effects of street drugs.
The team were kindly invited by Ash Rhaman from Brunswick Community Neighbourhood Centre to participate in the DANA CHARITY CUP, which this year raised money for victims of the Asian Earthquake. Ash Rhaman, Sports Development Officer, said ‘The whole point of putting on the tournament was to contribute to the rebuilding of families’ lives and homes in the area’. The Dana Charity Cup raised £2,200.
Stories of drugs hit the headlines in London every day, such as the Daily Express, Wednesday 7th December 2006, ’DRUG CRIMES ROCKET 67% to RECORD HIGH’ which stated that ‘Use of class A-drugs including cocaine, heroin, crack and Ecstasy has rocketed by 67%.’ These startling figures show we really need to educate our youth about the true effects of street drugs on the mind and body. Getting people informed is the first step, then they can make their own choices.
The Say No to Drugs campaign is an international campaign which has been running for 20 years across 53 nations. In London the campaign has also sponsored clean ups in Soho and other areas, where alleyways were cleared of syringes and faeces. This was done for several months every weekend, and eventually the drug users stopped injecting in these areas and moved away. Many Mayors across London have also supported the ‘Say No To Drugs’ Campaign signing the Say No To Drugs and Say Yes to life pledge.
Tracey Coleman, the Community Affairs Officer for the Church said ‘I have seen the effects of drugs - sometimes the worst cases - I have seen them ruin lives, bring unhappiness and destroy family life. With this football team we are hoping to reach out to all people and raise awareness of the true impact drugs have.’
The Say No to Drugs Team are looking for more players, everyone is welcome; training will take place once a week and the next tournament will be in April.