The Truth About Drugs - Issue 2
Not All Athletes Use Drugs
Carlos Palomino, Former Welter Weight Boxing Champion of the World and currently an actor, works with Narconon as our Narconon Celebrity All-Star softball team co-Captain. In addition Carlos has spoken at a number of schools for Narconon. He speaks frankly about drugs and the importance of life goals. We caught up with Carlos Palomino to interview him about his work against drug abuse.
Question: Carlos, can you tell us about your background?
Carlos: I was born in San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora, Mexico and grew up with eleven brothers and sisters. Our family immigrated to the barrio of Orange County in California when I was young. I enjoyed sports and worked hard to graduate even though many people said as a Mexican immigrant I should be out in the fields picking tomatoes. My peers gave me a hard time because I did not use drugs or belong to a gang but after awhile I was eventually accepted. My first goal was to play shortstop for the Dodgers, but in the Army I had the chance to box in a tournament and by the time I was out of the Army I was the top amateur in my weight class. I enrolled in college at Long Beach State University and in 1976 I won the title of Welter-Weight Champion of the World and the same year graduated from college with a degree in recreational science. Now, at 36, I am working on my second career as an actor.
Q: Why haven’t you gotten involved in drugs personally?
Carlos: I have always looked up to and respected my father. He worked very hard for us and I saw him many times come home after working all day at his construction job, eat dinner, then get his overalls on and go out to work his second job as a mechanic. He cared so much for us and I knew it would hurt him if I did use drugs. I’m glad that I choose not to use drugs because I’m sure that I have experienced much greater highs in my accomplishments than drugs would have ever given me.
Q: How did you become involved with Narconon?
Carlos: In 1979 I was asked to play in Narconon’s Celebrity All-Star softball game where I met Kathy Wasserman Heard and many of the Narconon staff. I was interested in working with and speaking to junior high and high school youth about staying in school and getting an education and staying away from drugs and gangs, Narconon gave me a way of doing this. What impressed me about Narconon though was their “drug-free detoxification” and “Purification Program” of sauna, nutrition and exercise to cleanse the body of drug residues and the fact that Narconon did not use drugs in their treatment.
Q: What got you interested in working with young people?
Carlos: When I first got out of the Army I was ranked the number one amateur in the world in my weight class and I was getting a lot of publicity in my home town of Westminster, California. When I got back, a close friend of mine that I grew up with had become involved with drugs. He later was thrown in an alley dead from and overdose. His so called friends in the car with him were really not his friends. The gangs were getting more prominent and we talked about opening up a boxing gym to curtail the gang activities. I then started working for the city of West minister as a street counselor and began speaking in schools to students.
Q: What do you like best about speaking with students in the classrooms?
Carlos: Like the work that I did as a street counselor working in a classroom gives more of a one-on-one opportunity with students. I can look in their eyes as I’m speaking and see what their reactions are and they also have an opportunity to ask me questions if they wish to,
Q: Is there any message you have for students?
Carlos: When I won the Welter Weight World Championship in 1976 in London, England the “natural high” that I experienced is still with me today. It was like I floated out of that ring and the experience is permanent. There are many ways to get high without drugs and each student must set goals for themselves and work hard for them and not listen to those who say you can’t reach your goals when you can.