Youth from all over the world make their statement at the 55 th Commission On Narcotic Drugs

16 March 2012 - "Think ahead, act in longer terms. Have a different perspective and let us not fail". These were a few of the messages presented by the Youth Initiative during the 55 th Commission on Narcotic Drugs, held in Vienna, Austria, from 12 to 16 March.

Gathered since Monday 12, the 20 youngsters from 7 different countries and the Vienna International School had the opportunity to exchange opinions, experiences, and analyze together the situation of drug use, prevention, and treatment in their communities.

With their hopes, dreams, commitments, and a strategy for improvement, all well aligned, they addressed representatives from Civil Society, Governments and the United Nations.

The high point of the Youth Initiative participation in the CND was on Wednesday morning, when youngsters addressed the plenary of the Commission, during the official meeting on the ' Implementation of the Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation towards integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Problem - demand reduction and related measures'.

In their message, youngsters called upon Governments to support and act on drug abuse prevention, treatment, and information. They asked policy makers to think on future generations and requested from Governments a greater commitment on the education of parents, teachers, and youngsters about drug abuse; health care for drug users; and adequate legislation to approach the problem.

On the other hand, they compromised themselves with the use of social media to mobilize youth around the globe, serve as role models to prevent drug use, and support the CND the ways they can.

Among their dreams, the Youth Initiative longs for the establishment of a youth global network taking action; counselors and experts providing them with information and support; broad youth and family access to healthcare and psychological assistance; and safety.

After the Plenary, Youth met with UNODC Executive Director

Thrilled with the opportunity to speak directly to the executive director for over 30 minutes, youngsters shared views, experiences, hopes, and commitments regarding the Youth Initiative and drug abuse prevention. Asked about what he believed he could learn from them, Mr. Yury Fedotov said: "We need fresh ideas, and you are the ones who have them."

The Youth Initiative was officially launched the day before during the CND side event 'Mobilizing for Prevention of Drug Use: the Development of International Prevention Standards and the Youth Initiative.'

The Youth Initiative was created at the request of the Executive Director of UNODC by the Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation Section (PTRS) to engage and empower young people to reflect on the effects of substance use in their schools and communities and to start taking action against it. The Initiative is connecting youth globally through social media to discuss, inspire, and learn from each other on the ways of promoting healthy lifestyles and start creating activities mobilizing their peers, families, schools, and communities.

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