Serbia Successfully Implements ‘Listen First’

December 5th, 2021

UNODC’s ’Listen First‘ program is implemented in the Republic of Serbia with the support of the Office for Combating Drugs of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, which is responsible for implementing drug policies. The Office for Combating Drugs devised an ambitious plan with various state administration bodies and organizations at both the central and local levels of government that deal with drug use issues. ‘Listen First’ is released along with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, the Ministry of Family Care and Demography, the Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veterans and Social Affairs, the Red Cross, and others, reaching people across Serbia with a consistent and engaging substance use prevention message.

High-level officials in Serbia agree that mutual cooperation of central and local authorities is needed to effectively prevent substance use.  Currently, ‘Listen First’ is implemented both in the capital of Belgrade and in local self-government units with which the Office for Combating Drugs is working along with multidisciplinary teams in Loznica, Sabac, Novi Pazar, Bor, Majdanpek, and Sremska Mitrovica. 

The project is implemented in a variety of ways across Serbia, including:

  • Pamphlets and videos are available to the public on the websites and social networks of state bodies and organizations participating in the project,
  • The Office for Combating Drugs promotes the project at conferences and meetings,
  • ‘Listen First’ highlighted in media, including TV appearances,
  • The program is promoted within the local state administration’s forums

The Office for Combating Drugs has additionally taken every other chance to promote ‘Listen First’ as a vehicle to increase awareness and promote effective substance use prevention, including at various international conferences and experts meetings.

‘Listen First’ will continue to be promoted in Serbia in 2022.  Plans include continuing the promotion in the media and organizing a forum to raise awareness of the importance of proper education of children as an initial step toward children growing up healthy and safe. The completion of the project’s first phase is planned for January 2022, which will make ‘Listen First’ the longest project in the field of substance use prevention in the territory of the Republic of Serbia. 

UNODC is hopeful that based on its successes Serbia will consider investing in “Super Skills,” the next phase of ‘Listen First’ which focuses on developing social and emotional learning for primary age children. A special congratulations to our partners in Serbia!

To visit the Serbian 'Listen First' content, click here.

Made possible with the generous support of France.