UNODC and Ministry of Health bring to Brazil a new methodology for preventing drug use in schools
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Brasília, 13 August 2013 - The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Ministry of Health's Technical Department for Mental Health have concluded the first stage of training to launch in Brazil a new methodology for preventing drug use in the context of schools. Known as Unplugged, this methodology developed by European researchers is unprecedented in the country and has been successfully implemented by UNODC in North African and Middle Eastern countries.
It aims to promote discussions among students between ten and 14 years old, in a relaxed and accessible language, in order to address several issues and stressful situations that may lead teens to use drugs. The discussions also promote the strengthening of protective factors, such as psychological and emotional wellbeing, social skills and good relationship with parents, which make students less vulnerable to drug use and other negative behaviors. In addition, workshops will be held with the parents to promote family integration in school activities and reinforce what is learned in the classroom.
Still in a pre-pilot phase, the project will reach approximately 5,000 public school students in the cities of São Paulo, São Bernardo do Campo and Florianópolis until the end of the year. Six psychologists and educators from the states of São Paulo and Santa Catarina came to Brasília in July to participate in the first part of the training, which enabled them as multipliers to train the school teachers who will implement the new methodology inside the class rooms. Besides the multipliers, about 25 public administrators from the areas of education and health of those cities also participated in the training.
In August, the training of school teachers was concluded. The teachers will now apply the methodology in schools of the three participating cities during the second half of 2013, in a series of 12 weekly classes. The goal is to eventually take this prevention methodology to all Brazilian schools that are part of the Health in Schools Program, run by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education.
The pre-pilot project is led by the Ministry of Health's Technical Department for Mental Health and the UNODC Liaison and Partnership Office in Brazil. The initiative is part of the Health in Schools Program and is also supported by the Ministry of Health's Department of STDs, AIDS and Viral Hepatitis and the STD/AIDS Program of the city of São Paulo, as well as the Health and Education Departments of the states of São Paulo and Santa Catarina, and of the cities of São Paulo, São Bernardo do Campo and Florianópolis.
This action to prevent drug use in schools also responds to demands of the prevention axis of a federal government program to combat crack use. The program provides a set of actions to combat crack and other drugs, organized into three areas: attention, prevention and care. Thus, prevention efforts are now a priority in public policies on drugs and the possibility of intervention in social contexts grows.