On April 9, a three-day training seminar for policy makers and professionals in charge of development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policy and programs on drug use prevention in Belarus opened in Minsk.
The seminar participants are the representatives of such spheres as drug trafficking control, healthcare, education, youth-related issues, social development, and information policy.
The seminar is initiated by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Belarus and is supported by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Joint UN Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), and UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the Ministries of Education and Information of the Republic of Belarus.
The aim of the seminar is to expand coverage and improve quality of programs, policy, and inter-agency cooperation in the field of prevention of substance use and risky behaviour among children, teenagers, and youth in the Republic of Belarus using the international standards on drug use prevention developed by UNODC and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Speaking to the seminar participants, UN Resident Coordinator in Belarus Joanna Kazana-Wisniowiecki emphasized the importance of drug use prevention for the states including Belarus where the major part of registered drug addicts are young people aged 20-40 years and the number of synthetic drugs users among young people aged 15-29 is growing.
She stressed that prevention strategies based on scientific evidence and aimed at work with families, schools, and communities allow to provide healthcare and safety for children and youth, in particular within the most vulnerable groups of population.
Though the main purpose of drug abuse prevention is to help people including youth to avoid or delay early exposure to drugs, the overall goal of drug abuse prevention is much wider: it is the provision of healthy and safe development of children and young people enabling them realize their talents and potential and contribute to the society.
“In this context the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the principle “leave no one behind” have the crucial significance as they imply careful work with vulnerable groups including people using drugs, teens and young people, through their active involvement into the community and socially important processes,” - said UN Resident Coordinator who also stressed that working together across different sectors, law-enforcement organs, schools, and healthcare services can greatly improve the effectiveness of drug use prevention and support to young people and their families.
In 2013 UNODC developed the International Standards on Drug Use Prevention and since then, has entered into a dialogue with policy makers in over 60 countries via regional and national seminars on how to use the Standards to improve prevention of substance use at the national level.
The standards shape and describe the policy and interventions that have proved remarkably effective in preventing drug use, toxic substance abuse, and other risky behaviours among children, youth, and adults. Concurrently, the Standards define the major components and features of an effective national drug prevention system that is a substantial part of the effective and balanced national drug policy.
The International Standards have been repeatedly recognised by the UN member states as a useful tool to improve prevention policy and measures.
In 2018, the 61st session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs presented the second updated edition of the Standards issued by UNODC and WHO.