Published on December 9th, 2019 | by Dr. Jerry Doby


Bob Sabouni Discusses The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks and the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) New Emotional Drug Awareness Campaign

Photo courtesy of Bob Sabouni

It’s no secret that drug use is a plague in communities across the globe and is often a part of the conversation within the entertainment industry. Messages which can be construed to promote drug use and drug culture abound within the music industry for example and with this type of influence on the current and future generations, we have to fight back with equally creative means. The Elks, DEA, and FBE have developed a new anti-drug awareness video that takes the stories of those suffering from addiction from the streets to the small screen, into homes and classrooms and beyond.

Here’s the official line:

New Anti-Drug Awareness Video Highlights Pressures of Teenage Substance Abuse

ELKS Drug Awareness Program (DAP), the nation’s largest all-volunteer drug education group, has partnered with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to launch a national anti-drug educational video “Teens React To Conversations With Survivors of Addiction”, to spotlight the effects of drugs on teenagers. The video premiered via FBE, a multi-platform digital studio that serves over 34 million subscribers. with additional content running on their Twitter and Facebook pages using hashtag #ElksDAP and #DEA.

Watch the full video below:

Ahead of the nationwide campaign, teens from all over the country participated in the Elks Anti-Drug Video Contest – the 2019 winning entry Sunshine by El Modena High School Sr. Sandy Beach, which elicited very strong and emotional reactions, was then watched by the teens, parents and individuals in recovery as seen in the video.   Following this, the group then engaged in a candid and heartfelt discussion that is a must-watch for parents and their children.  It is at times lighthearted and other times heart wrenching as the parents, teens, and people in recovery connect on a truly human level.

The video, while being very engaging also provides information for teens and parents on how to handle peer pressure, conversations with your kids, signs that someone you care about might have a problem and many other important subjects critical to keeping kids safe and drug-free.  The video also encourages parents, kids and teens to visit, the Elks DAP Kids site,, DEA’s website for teens and – DEA’s website for parents, educators, and caregivers all of which provides access to a wide array of education and treatment resources.

“FBE is dedicated to sharing stories that make an impact,” said Marc Hustvedt, CEO of FBE. “Our wide array of content often ignites emotional responses and this effort really provided a human spotlight on a very serious issue. We look forward to sparking an important conversation with our community and draw attention to the powerful resources like ELKS and the DEA who are there to help.  You are not alone.”

The Project was once again created by Sunny Day Entertainment who has previously partnered with the DEA and ELKS DAP on several anti-drug videos with SMOSH in 2017 and 2018.  The Elks have also created several comic books including ones with the New York Fire Department (FDNY) and Marvel which are available on  Kent Gade National Director of The Elks DAP said “The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks is committed to finding unique and effective tools to provide education about illegal drug use and legalized drug abuse by our children and adults.  We are very proud of our relationship with the Drug Enforcement Administration and excited to partner with FBE on this project!”

“The Elks are outstanding, long-time partners with DEA in raising awareness about substance abuse and its destructive effects on families throughout the United States,” said DEA Acting Administration Uttam Dhillon. “I commend the Elks for their continued efforts to engage as many teenagers and parents as possible to prevent drug addiction before it starts.”

The Hype Magazine spoke with Bob Sabouni, President of Sunny Day Entertainment, to discuss the program and how we as a community can get involved to help educate the next generations about the horrors of a life addicted to drugs.

What brought the ELKS together with the DEA to create this anti-drug messaging drive?

The Elks and DEA collaborate on many projects in a text book example of a successful public-private partnership that is reaching millions across the country with real stories, from real people, making a real impact.  They first came together following the death of DEA Special Agent Kiki Camarena and it was very quickly evident that these two national groups that have been working to educate families in America for decades would be even stronger in collaboration!

The Elks are in hundreds of cities and towns across America as is the DEA and as the largest All-Volunteer Anti-Drug group in the country, Elks DAP provides amazing reach and boots on the ground locally to help support great programs like DEA 360, Red Ribbon Week & Drug Take Back Day!

With drug culture being such a massive part of the conversation in the entertainment industry, any suggestions on how parents and communities can help combat this?

It’s all about being involved with your kids’ lives, know what they’re watching, know their friends and be there for them when they have questions and talk to them.  This sounds simple but can be very hard for some parents.  One thing this program really tries to do is provide resources and places parents can turn to for advice and guidance on how to navigate a very scary world!

For this program, can you give us an overview of how it all came together?

Well, I’ve been working with the Elks for over 15 years, first, when I was at Marvel we did custom anti-drug comics with accompanying teachers guides and then later one with the FDNY on the dangers of prescription drugs in the home. Comics are a great teaching tool but you have to get them to the kids….so we started talking about taking the program to the next level and taking the message to where kids already are.  That led to a two-year partnership with SMOSH in 2017 & 18 and one of the beauties of Youtube is the content lives on, In fact, those two videos still get 1000’s of views per week!

This year we wanted to broaden our scope to parents as well and we all really loved the Elks High School Video Contest winner from 2018 “Sunshine” so we hit on the idea of letting parents watch this very powerful video and getting their reactions.  Frankly from that point on FBE seemed to be tailor-made with their broad parent/teen viewership and expertise in doing reaction videos it was a no brainer to partner with them!

Can you share one or two powerful moments from the program development, particularly the video contest?

I have a preschooler and we were expecting our 2nd the first time I saw Sunshine, so this video really hit hard for me as a father and still now when I hold my 3-month-old the song rings in my ears, in fact, it’s what I sing him to sleep with….but rather then tears its now become a reminder that we as parents need to be vigilant and give our kids the love, support, and tools they need.  

Are there any highlights for you as regards the reception of the program?

The view numbers are obviously exciting…the video has been seen about 400,000 times on FBE’s YouTube Channel and the numbers keep rising.  But even more exciting are the comments….watch the video, but if you really want to be moved and inspired read the comments! If you have any questions as to if this program is worth doing or has any effect I think the comments will remove those doubts.

Where can we find more information?

Please visit: – Elks DAP site for kids & parents – DEA’s website for teens – DEA’s website for parents, educators, and caregivers – DEA’s website for Red Ribbon Week – DEA’s website for National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

Anything else you’d like us to know and do?

It’s all about Prevention and Treatment.  Addiction is a disease and not a choice or weakness of character or will power.  Be vigilant, be present and supportive of your kids…but most of all be educated to the signs and where to turn to for help!

We spent some more time with Bob via telephone to follow up on our initial questions and you can hear that conversation in its entirety below:

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About the Author

Editor-in-Chief of The Hype Magazine, Media and SEO Consultant, Journalist, Ph.D. and retired combat vet. 2023 recipient of The President's Lifetime Achievement Award. Partner at THM Media Group. Member of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture, the United States Press Agency and ForbesBLK.

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