| PHARR, TEXAS | JUNE 15, 2016 |

Facing Down a Drug Crisis On The Border.

Pharr, Texas, finds solutions in Truth About Drugs.

The Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge, the world’s largest causeway connecting two countries and an important Mexico-United States link, extends directly into Pharr, moving people and commodities. But among those commodities are illicit drugs, and that’s a crisis for Pharr.

In one notable drug bust, the U.S. Customs and Borders Protection Agency seized a tractor-trailer that appeared to be filled with tomatoes but whose actual cargo was $45 million worth of cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.

At the center of this narcotics storm is the Pharr Police Department. Recognizing that drug education is the only sustainable solution to the problem, the department runs a crime prevention program called C.A.P.E.—Community Awareness and Police Enforcement—aimed at encouraging residents of the community to feel safe in coming to the police with reports of drug activity. The goal is to build a community-police partnership working together for a safer Pharr.

The Pharr Police Department reaches out to young people across the city with Truth About Drugs.

As part of C.A.P.E., the police run a yearlong Red Ribbon campaign in schools and in the community, with the motto “Proud to be Drug-Free.” The Pharr PD is also a member of the Uniting Neighbors in Drug Abuse Defense coalition (UNIDAD).

It was through UNIDAD that the Pharr PD C.A.P.E. officer was introduced to the Truth About Drugs program and materials. Seeing them as the ideal tool for their own C.A.P.E. and Red Ribbon campaigns, the PD immediately adopted Truth About Drugs and put it to work.

First step: The Truth About Drugs booklets placed on the department reception desk for the public. Next, the Drug-Free World South Texas Coordinator trained the PD’s Community Liaison Officers to use the curriculum in schools, providing lesson plans, booklets, posters, public service announcements and films.

The C.A.P.E. officers also organized community events including the Pharr Police Community Festival, Pharr Crime Prevention Fair and 5K road races—all to promote a drug-free lifestyle and make it “cool” to be drug-free.

“Night Out is about bringing out the community so it can realize the different partnerships and outreach programs we have available to them.”

The annual Pharr Police Department’s Night Out drew thousands to a small strip of businesses near City Hall. The annual event dedicated to citizen outreach drew thousands for door prizes, food and entertainment.

“Night Out is about bringing out the community so it can realize the different partnerships and outreach programs we have available to them,” said Pharr Police Chief Ruben Vilescas.

Notable among those programs is Truth About Drugs, with nearly half the town’s citizens receiving the Drug-Free World message.

One C.A.P.E. officer says of Truth About Drugs, “Your program is our most effective tool in the fight against drugs.”

The Pharr Police Department’s mission is to keep the city’s three high schools free of drugs. As one officer put it, “You have a good feeling because some of us who got into law enforcement, we want to make a difference in our community.”

Drug-Free World volunteer trains Pharr Police Department officers on using The Truth About Drugs booklet, DVDs and curriculum in schools and in the community.


The U.S. Now Leads the World in Illegal Drug Use. The Facts Tell the Story:

  • An estimated 24.6 million Americans age 12 or older use illicit drugs.
  • Heroin use has experienced a resurgence in America, now a major problem in suburban and middle-class areas and no longer solely the “innercity” problem it was considered to be.
  • Prescription drug abuse is also plaguing the U.S., with 4 of every 10 fatal drug overdoses resulting from abuse of prescription painkillers.
  • Americans make up just 4% of the global population but consume a stunning two-thirds of the world’s illegal drugs.
  • Roughly 94 million Americans have used marijuana at least once, with teens and early-20s adults the largest marijuana-abusing group.


Support the Foundation for a Drug-Free World and help protect young lives from the destructive effects of drugs. Your contributions enable us to make our educational materials available free of charge to schools, youth organizations and other groups and individuals. Your support helps empower people with the facts they need to live healthy, drug‑free lives.