Casey DeSantis, Joe Ladapo take anti-drug message on the road

DeSantis borrowed a phrase and a concept from Nancy Reagan.

On Thursday evening, the First Lady and the Surgeon General worked to spotlight a major problem: drug overdoses. In a roundtable “mini-assembly” event in Pinellas County, they spoke about a campaign that may do something to stop them.

So-called “assembly tool kits” will be available from the state for schools that are interested in having help from Tallahassee in explaining the many pitfalls possible when someone succumbs to addiction.

First Lady Casey DeSantis spoke about her anti-drug campaign, “The facts. Our future.” DeSantis started it in 2019 and described it as ongoing and essential in a time of increased overdose deaths and influxes of fentanyl from Mexico.

“This is really, ‘Just say no, but here’s why,'” DeSantis said, linking her initiative in spirit to the “Just Say No” approach of former First Lady Nancy Reagan.

DeSantis cited issues with “vaping” and “marijuana with high levels of THC” as real threats to the youth, saying that a “call to action” was necessary to stem the tide of addiction. She said school assemblies and peer testimonials were ways of affirming a message that makes kids “think twice” about using drugs.

Recovering addicts and medical professionals offer powerful testimonies at events like that, the First Lady noted.

“This is what your face looks like on meth. This is what it looks like not on meth. This is what your brain looks like with high levels of THC. This is what it looks like, a normal functioning brain,” DeSantis said, citing powerful illustrations of the ravages of addiction to offer “context and perspective.”

A former broadcast television host, the First Lady asked probing questions of roundtable participants, including those whose loved ones’ lives were derailed by cannabis, Xanax, Oxycodone, fentanyl and other substances.

Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo offered his own testimony on the “adverse ramifications of substance abuse to the developing brain.”

“The brain continues developing into the 20s,” Ladapo noted, and it is still “sensitive to toxins.”

Drug use in youth leads to addiction in adults, Ladapo added, with ramifications for financial and emotional wellbeing alike.

The Surgeon General cited his own work with addicts as a doctor in California.

“It’s extremely destructive,” Ladapo said of substance abuse. “It’s tough on the body, tough on the soul.”

Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma offered remarks as well, including stressing the importance of cracking down on drug dealers “to the fullest extent of the law.”

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Concern Citizen

    January 13, 2022 at 6:26 pm

    I sincerely wish that this efforts is more successful than Nancy Reagan’s War On Drugs.

  • ScienceBLVR

    January 13, 2022 at 7:39 pm

    Just say no? You are kidding right? School assemblies and peer testimonials are the answer to stopping drug addiction? How utterly clueless can you be. At least Casey can recognize what a normal functioning brain looks like cause I guess she ain’t seeing that at home..

  • Concern Citizen

    January 13, 2022 at 7:54 pm

    Agree that drug prevention is important but what is her husband doing to treat people with drug addiction? Will he be suggesting MONOCLONAL ANTIBODY TREATMENTS to cure addiction.

  • Maven

    January 13, 2022 at 8:21 pm

    Casey DeSantis certainly knows how to put on a good horse and pony show on the taxpayers’ dime.

    • nail

      January 14, 2022 at 8:44 pm

      Let’s see if she lives through it! If she actually had cancer, which the road trip disavows, she would not be running around with Covid laden ppl such as Dr Death himself. The day after Deathsantis said she had a treatment she was seen at one of his pressers behind him on a stage with no mask on and crowds of ppl around her. Ppl that are recovering from breast cancer don’t do these actions!

  • Alex

    January 14, 2022 at 7:39 am

    High THC pot is bad huh?

    Care to cite evidence besides what quack Lapado researched at the medical library in his ass?

    Stupid is at pandemic levels in the GQP.

  • Mark

    January 15, 2022 at 2:32 am

    So 40 years on with the war on drugs and it did nothing but cost the taxpayers billions and incarcerated millions of men and women disrupting their lives forever.It could have been legalizing all drugs but educate on use and medical help for those that abuse but instead we use tyrannical ideas and weaponize the laws, I think she looks just like all the other government wives that have done the same worn out show..fake as a photo opt and ignorant of reality.

  • Beth

    January 15, 2022 at 5:11 am

    Just say no?? It worked so well the first time right? It would be hilarious if it wasn’t so pathetic and dangerous. Might have been a good idea to read up on the subject and realize the negative impacts the idea had the first time. Unfortunately research and facts don’t seem to mean much to the republican party any longer. Please leave the education of children to those who have been trained to provide it.

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  • Gloria Lewis

    January 15, 2022 at 9:24 pm

    Awesome job I wish we had this in Broward County to educate our communities. Well said

Comments are closed.


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