Vienna (Austria), 11 March 2021 – Evidence-based drug use prevention strategies and practices in collaboration with families, schools, and communities can warrant that children and youth, especially the most marginalized and poor, grow and stay healthy and safe into adulthood and beyond.
On March 10, 2021, The UNODC Civil Society Unit (CSU) together with the Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs (VNGOC) hosted a webinar for civil society on the International Standards on Drug Use Prevention.
Mirella Dummar Frahi from the UNODC CSU and Jamie Bridge from the VNGOC opened the webinar that gathered more than 350 participants. An interactive presentation by UNODC expert Giovanna Campello on the International Standards on Drug Use Prevention followed. She particularly emphasized the importance of early and development focused prevention, the applicability of the International Standards to different strategies, and the fact that evidence-based prevention should cover as many different settings as possible. Indeed, for every dollar spent on prevention, at least ten can be saved in future health, social and crime costs.
Moreover, the two civil society panelists, Dayana Vincent from Fourth Wave Foundation India and Eric Siervo from CADCA USA, provided valuable insights on the civil society perspective on drug use prevention. Dayana’s presentation discussed current issues around remote schooling and online education making way for misinformation, targeted marketing and increased access to drugs for children on social media. She demonstrated how an evidence-based prevention programme could tackle these issues in Kerala, India. Moreover, her presentation was a strong reminder of how the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the drug-abuse situation. Eric introduced the concept of Community-Based Multi-Component Initiatives to strengthen the capacity of community coalitions to create and maintain safe, healthy and drug-free communities globally.
In the open discussion and Q&A session moderated by Jamie Bridge participants addressed questions to the speakers on a diverse range of issues regarding the gender dimension of drug use, the effectiveness of prevention strategies in extreme contexts such as famine and health crises, as well as the applicability of the International Standards on Drug Use Prevention in African developing countries.
In closing the event Mirella Dummar-Frahi used the occasion to remind about the possibilities of NGOs to share drug related experiences on the NGO marketplace platform.
This webinar, sponsored by the government of the United States of America, provided the opportunity for CSOs to learn more about the International Standards on Drug Use Prevention, an important tool in the international efforts to reduce drug demand.