Celebrating the International Fight against Drugs in Vientiane
"Music is a safe kind of high", once commented Jimmy Hendrix, and so it was here in Vientiane, when two music events led to the marking of the International day against drugs on 26 June 2010. The fourth of its kind Street Jam was held on the 5 of June 2010 at the Sikhottabong Secondary School. Organized by the Lao Bang Fai Association and with some support from the UNODC, the event saw young people come together to enjoy a whole day of sports, dance and music festivities. The youth let their creative juices flow as they participated in several competitions of basketball, skateboarding, graffiti designing and break-dancing. Another kind of a high was felt when the break-dance competition brought along the participation of three young people currently undergoing drug de-addiction treatment at the Somsanga rehabilitation centre.
At present the Lao Bang Fai association trains about 50 young people at the centre in break-dancing, an initiative that is a result of the Lao Bang Fai association, the Somsanga centre and the UNODC partnership. Mr. Anouza Photisanen, the Director of Lao Bang Fai commented that "we are happy to support Somsanga patients with opportunities like dancing to help them to come through a challenging time during rehabilitation."
In its efforts to promote a healthy drug-free lifestyle, UNODC was able to reach approximately 600 young Lao people present at the event by distributing music funded by the US embassy and about 200 t-shirts bearing anti-drug slogans. The anti-drug slogans were also called out before every activity - marking a well-intended and determined start to the celebrations of the International fight against drugs.
The following weekend, on the 12 June 2010, the festivities continued at the National Circus, as the French Cultural Centre organized the annual Fete de la Musique. True to its festive spirits, the event offered an entire day of music performances including the highlight international act by ZENZILE. Interested musicians were given the opportunity to perform on the open stage during the afternoon. Brochures, t-shirts, music, stickers, and posters were distributed by the UNODC. Several artists supported the T-shirts on stage with slogans that read "Turn off Drugs, Turn on Music". Calling out anti-drug slogans and hurling T-shirts to jiving audiences only added to the excitement and the celebrations of the day.