UNODC supports the launch of a school-based drug abuse prevention tool in Côte d'Ivoire

This activity was funded by the European Union

Abidjan, 13 September 2018- Several UNODC evaluation reports have shown that West Africa faces significant problems related to the use of cannabis, cocaine / crack and, to a lesser extent, heroin with negative health and social consequences. Adolescent drug use in Africa has increased over the years; and this has prompted government officials and the international community to fight drug use to better protect African youth.

In Côte d'Ivoire, a school-based UNODC situation assessment survey reported early drug use in schools, resulting in poor school performance, disruptions and/or exclusions in schools and at the social and family level ...This alarming observation encouraged the Ivorian authorities specially the Department of Education and their partners to put in place drug prevention strategies in schools for Ivoirian youth protection.

As a consequence, the United Nations Office on drugs and crime (UNODC), in collaboration with the Ministry of National Education of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, organized a "Training Workshop on the UNPLUGGED Program: a tool for the prevention of drug use in schools" from 11 to 13 September 2018 in Abidjan. The workshop was organized within the framework of the Project Support to ECOWAS Regional Action Plan on drug trafficking, organized crime and drug abuse in West Africafunded by the European Union and implemented by the UNODC.

The objective of the workshop was to provide the Ministry of Education with a tool for preventing the use of psychoactive substances, in order to protect students from addictive behavior and to increase the quality of school performance. Partners such as UNESCO and UNICEF showed commitment to making a difference in the prevention of drug use in schools. Thirty participants, including one-third of women took part in the workshop in the presence of other Education sector partners.

 

  Launching ceremony of the UNPLUGGED programme in Abidjan, 11 September 2018 ©UNODC 2018

Dr Traoré Mory Brahima, who chaired the meeting on behalf of the Ivorian Minister of Education, focused on the "harmful consequences of drug use in school ".

Babacar Jean-Pierre Diouf, Program Officer at UNODC, explained the significance of implementing this program because that "drug use compromises all school performance and creates violence, that's the reason why we wanted to propose this prevention program in schools.

To ensure the successful implementation of the UNPLUGGED Program, UNODC assisted the Ivorian authorities with a support mission, from 10 to 15 September 2018, with all actors involved in drug issues, including the education sector, the Interministerial Committee for the Fight against Drugs (CILAD) of the Ministry of Interior, the National Program for the Control of Tobacco and Addictions (PNLTA) of the Ministry of Health, as well as ECOWAS, European Union, UNDP, UNESCO, UNICEF, WHO, UNAIDS.

The UNPLUGGED Program is a school-based drug use prevention tool targeting young people between the ages of 12 and 14 and their parents. The program promotes awareness of well-being and enhances knowledge, attitudes and skills that help prevent substance abuse and smoking. It is an initiative introduced in ECOWAS countries by UNODC and Côte d'Ivoire is the first French-speaking country to host it.

UNODC has been providing technical assistance to West African States for 20 years, through its Regional Office for West and Central Africa (ROSEN) based in Dakar, Senegal and other local Offices based in different countries of the region.  

For more information:

UNODC action against drug trafficking in West Africa

Support Project to ECOWAS Regional Action Plan on illicit drug trafficking in West Africa

"UNPLUGGED", for preventing drug use in schools through West Africa

European Drug Addiction Prevention trial (EUDAP)