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Workshop on prevention of drug use in children and adolescents in Panama

Panama, June 22, 2022. "Prevention must be a commitment of all", said one of the 25 National Police units that participated in the workshop on prevention of drug use in children and adolescents delivered by the Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation Section of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Other participants spoke of the positive impact of the prevention talks they give to the youngest members of the high-risk communities in which they work. And to make the effectiveness of these programs even more evident, among the attendees was a young man who is currently an English teacher and who shared a testimony of how his life was turned around because of his active participation in drug prevention activities.
This workshop, which was mostly attended by units of the Child and Adolescent Police, was given by Dr. Wadih Maalouf from UNODC's Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation Section and was held on June 21 and 22 thanks to the support of INL Panama.
"We know that the work of prevention to protect children and adolescents from the vulnerabilities inherent to their stage of development and the environment in which they find themselves is a daily task that involves various sectors, health, education, social sector, civil society, law enforcement agents, among others," said Melva Ramirez, coordinator of prevention programs of the UNODC Regional Office.
The role of law enforcement in prevention and public health; what is needed in terms of developmental milestones at different ages according to prevention science and substance use in schools as a public health versus public safety issue were some of the topics discussed in the working agenda.
UNODC's Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation Section supports Member States in addressing drug use and drug use disorders as any other health condition, i.e. by implementing drug use prevention strategies and providing treatment, health care, social protection and rehabilitation services, including for children and adolescents, based on scientific evidence, human rights and gender considerations.