Voices for Humanity: Megan Fialkoff
A Father and Daughter Tell New York “The Truth About Drugs”
The city of New York has a major drug problem. Like other cities and towns, heroin and opioid abuse are rampant, but more troubling is the amount of drug use among the young school-age children who use and sell prescription drugs including Xanax, Adderall and Ritalin. Add these numbers to the city which already has the largest heroin market in the U.S. and you have a recipe for disaster.
But two people are doing something about it. Meghan Fialkoff and her father Ben, a dental surgeon, have taken the helm of New York’s Foundation for a Drug-Free World. Their work in reversing the drug problem in their city is the subject of a Voices for Humanity episode, in which the pair go straight to the city’s youth in schools and after-school programs.
“The whole purpose of this is to put them in a position where they can think for themselves,” Meghan explains, “and come up with their own conclusions as to why they would not want to take drugs.”
By showing the young people The Truth About Drugs documentary, the pair believes that the message gets through for a variety of good reasons.
“It gives them the knowledge, so they have the information, so they can make a decision, so they can control their lives,” says Ben.
“The materials are extremely effective beyond really anything else,” Meghan adds. “The documentary chapters are being told by the people who abused those drugs.”
Meghan and her father have employed the aid of entertainers in their quest to reach the city’s youth. Tameek Williams, known as the rapper “Teemonee,” has entertained students during after-school programs while driving home the anti-drug information.
“The message that Drug-Free World gives to the kids, that’s a message that I would like to also share on my platform,” explains Tameek, “because you know there’s plenty of things you can do without drugs and a lot of people don’t know that.”
Perhaps the most rewarding moments come with the feedback Meghan and her father receive from those youngsters whom they have instructed in the past.
“We go to some schools and the kids remember us from being there a year before and instantly light up,” says Meghan. “We had one boy who saw us and he goes, ‘You were here last year, you guys taught us about drugs and I used it to help my family and I gave those booklets out to my friends.’”
To date, Meghan and Ben have received more than 470 letters of thanks for their efforts, the most recent of which was organizing a Truth About Drugs concert in Harlem, partnering with New York’s Parks Department. In addition to Teemonee, Broadway artist Gabriel Reed entertained the crowd.
Meghan and Ben can be proud of their achievements, for—to date—they have reached more than 12 million people with the Truth About Drugs. See their story on Voices for Humanity now playing on the Scientology Network and on demand here.