Fight the New Drug to explore effects of pornography in program geared for youth


By Chris Bavender

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Catholic Church is tackling a topic often considered taboo – pornography.

From 7 to 8 p.m., Sept. 25, the church will host Fight the New Drug for a presentation geared toward teenagers on the harmful effects of pornography. The non-denominational group has been hosted in 400-plus public schools and featured on such programs as Psychology Today, CNN and ABC Nightline.

“They are a nonprofit group founded in 2009 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Five young men out of college decided to do something about the pornography issue,” said Diane Conover, one of the event organizers. “Interestingly enough Utah’s governor declared pornography to be a Public Health crisis in 2016.”

The presentation is geared toward how easy it is for youth to be exposed to pornography on the internet, even when they’re not looking for it.

“Research is showing porn is not as harmless as once thought. This group of speakers brings these scientific discoveries to youth and adults in an age-appropriate and engaging way,” Conover said. “According to the Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography, teens are the largest consumers of internet pornography. The commission found that because the brain is most susceptible during teen years to the chemical overload that comes with continued viewing, addiction can be a real danger.”

Conover said the goal is to warn teens about the prevalence of pornography and offer resources for people who are already addicted to it.

“This whole idea came from our priests at our church,” Conover said. “They kept hearing from parishioners of all ages how it’s become a problem for them or for their family members, and even causes divorce.”

According to Fight the New Drug, porn sites get more hits each month than Netflix, Amazon and Twitter combined. The group also said statistics show by the time they graduate high school, nearly all young people – more than 98 percent – will have had exposure to pornographic material.

“Police work non-stop to curtail illegal drugs, but who is keeping kids safe from porn addiction? Most people don’t realize it’s a problem,” Conover said. “Another barrier is the social stigma. Addicted people are ashamed or embarrassed to reach out for help. And they have to do some research to find it.”

The free presentation is for seventh and grade and older. Conover said parents are encouraged to stay. For more information, visit