The Drug Enforcement Administration and Victoria’s Voice Foundation have partnered with a handful of social media influencers to host an online video contest designed to educate kids about the dangers of substance abuse.
The Truth Not Talk campaign encourages high school kids in Clark County to create short videos discussing drug abuse.
Dan Neill, assistant special agent in charge for the DEA in Nevada, said winners will be chosen throughout fall to receive prizes from the program’s sponsors, including the Las Vegas Raiders, Ultimate Fighting Championship, Smith’s and more.
“I can sit here all day long and say how bad drugs are, but it’s guys like this who can really get that message out because kids listen to kids,” Neill said of influencers. “The whole thing is to get kids engaged, and this is the best way to do that because this is how kids communicate now. They’re always on their phones.”
David Siegel, president of Westgate Resorts, and wife Jackie started Victoria’s Voice Foundation after their daughter Victoria died of a drug overdose at the family’s Orlando, Florida, home in 2015. She was 18 years old.
But Victoria’s legacy has survived, her mother said, as the Siegels have used their influence to help save the lives of other kids who have fallen victim to drug addictions.
She said she’s had a feeling all week that her daughter is proud of the campaign.
“I know that she’d be proud and excited about all the lives saved by our foundation,” Jackie Siegel said. “And on my flight here I found three pennies with the year 2020 on them and a nickel with the year 2015, the year Victoria died. I just know that this is her way of letting us know she’s here with us.”
Siegel also revealed the foundation’s Social Media for Good tour bus on Monday, which she said will take the influencers to various events to promote the Truth Not Talk campaign. She said she foresees the project as a sort of support group that would allow kids to communicate and encourage each other to “get high on life, not on drugs.”
Derek Trendz, an influencer with 2.9 million TikTok followers, said he helped start the contest after a conversation with Siegel about how to engage with kids and start a discussion about the dangers of drugs.
“I think this challenge is a great idea,” Trendz said. “Kids are way more likely to listen to influencers like us than to a bunch of adults, and we’re excited to help our followers like this.”
Vallyk Pena, an influencer with 1.7 million followers on TikTok, led the group of organizers and sponsors in a pledge to set an example for the next generation and to do the right thing behind closed doors and in public.
“One of our main priorities is to influence the world, especially the youth, as best as we can,” Pena said. “The chain of changes starts with you guys, because the example that the generation before us sets, good or bad, is what we are going to pass to the next generation after us.”
How to enter
High school students in Clark County can enter the contest at truthnottalk.com through Nov. 30. All videos must be less than 60 seconds.
A winner will be chosen each month, with one of the three monthly winners dubbed the official contest winner at the end.
Available prizes include a UFC prize pack with boxing gloves, a T-shirt and a towel; a virtual call with either a social media influencer, a UFC athlete or another celebrity; two tickets to a future Las Vegas Raiders game at Allegiant Stadium; and a two-night stay in a luxury room at the Westgate.
The official contest winner will receive a $500 scholarship from the DEA Educational Foundation, four tickets to a future Las Vegas Raiders home game in the Westgate box and a two-night stay in the Sky Villa at the Westgate.