The Elks National Drug Awareness Program strives to teach all children and parents about the dangers of illegal drug use and prevent the abuse of legalized and prescription drugs. As the largest volunteer drug awareness program in the United States, the program relies on state, district and Lodge volunteers to promote a drug-free lifestyle. By taking pride in America’s communities and youth, the program takes action against youth drug use through education and inspiration.
Since 1982, the Elks have developed an effective, community-based drug prevention program by partnering with federal agencies including the Drug Enforcement Agency, Office of National Drug Control Policy, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and national organizations such as Pride Youth Programs. These partnerships ensure the Elks Drug Awareness Program addresses the leading drug abuse issues facing communities today.
Elks believe that the youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow. With that in mind, the Elks Drug Awareness Program reaches out to youth of all ages and backgrounds. Through the 2,100 Lodges in communities across the country, Elks work to combat youth substance abuse. Elroy the Elk, the program’s mascot, reminds young kids that hugs are better than drugs, while older kids see the affects of alcohol consumption by wearing fatal vision goggles.
Every year, the Elks Drug Awareness Program hands out more than seven million pieces of anti-drug literature to parents, teachers and kids. The brochures are primarily distributed through the program’s 90 drug education trailers, which travel to community gatherings, such as fairs and sporting events. The Elks have also teamed with Marvel Comic Books to produce a book featuring Marvel superheroes and Elroy the Elk in a battle against underage drinking. Other educational materials offered by the program include prevention tools for parents, videos, coloring books, posters and public service announcements.
From a young age, the Drug Awareness Program asks kids to think about what it means to be drug free. Through the program’s annual essay and poster contests, kids can express their feelings on rejecting peer pressure. At events, including Red Ribbon Week ceremonies, Elks and their friends serve as role models who show kids that living drug free is the way to be.