Mr. Walter Wang’s Lifetime Achievement Award

RX Factor DEA TruckI  Sam Solakyan, recently had the opportunity to attend an event honoring a singularly generous man, Mr. Walter Wang, who was presented the DEA Educational Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award. The evening was a huge success, not only giving much deserved recognition to its guest of honor, but also raising nearly one million dollars for a cause that I am deeply passionate about. While this event brought together more than five hundred supporters, I would love to see that number climb even higher. So, today I want to share with you about the incredible work that the DEA Educational Foundation does throughout our country and beyond.

We all know that the DEA or the Drug Enforcement Administration, is a leading force in implementing the controlled substance laws and regulations in our country,  but in the last decade they have taken what they do a few steps further. In 2001, the DEA established the DEA Educational Foundation, an organization that advocates educational outreach and program development as well as supports the DEA Museum. With the donations and support of the Foundation, the DEA Museum is able to travel the country with mobile art displays and exhibits like the RX Factor, a traveling exhibit that offers a high-tech look at the prescriptions drug abuse problem to public.

RX Factor is just one example of the work the DEA Foundation is doing. Other programs include the DEA Youth Dance Program, a free, professionally designed after-school dance program for kids; Good Medicine, Bad Behavior, an interactive installation; and Target America, a touring exhibition which graphically depicts the overall toll of drug abuse. All programs and exhibits are striving to get our children off the streets, and educate adults and children alike on the facts and ramifications of substance abuse.

Extending their reach beyond our borders, the DEA funded an exhibit called the Informant, which tours through Afghanistan, warning the local community about the dangers and effects of opiate abuse that is prevalent in the region. In addition, the Foundation hosted a Symposium made up of seven countries plagued with drug trafficking problems to discuss key topics with experts on law enforcement, education, treatment and government policy.

Knowledge is an essential tool in the improvement of any society. There is no prevention without education. The DEA Foundation has brought widespread awareness to a rapidly growing problem that, whether directly or indirectly, impacts everyone in a community. I would encourage all of you to take a look at what the DEA Educational Foundation and the DEA Museum have to offer—read about it, go visit an exhibit. It is an eye-opening experience.

If you would like to give to the DEA Educational Foundation, please go to: http://www.deaeducationalfoundation.org/ways-to-give/

// Sam Solakyan