Today, officials from the Dangerous Drugs Board, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Department of Health, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and World Health Organization gather to mark the official launch of the drug abuse prevention campaign dubbed as “Listen First.”
Developed by UNODC and WHO, this campaign aims to increase support for science-based drug abuse prevention. Using the slogan “Listen First,” the campaign also wants to raise awareness of the importance of listening to children and youth as the first step to help them grow healthy and safe.
The campaign focuses on parents, teachers, policy-makers, health workers, prevention practitioners, and other target groups and sectors.
Speaking during the launch, UNODC’s Senior Policy Advisor Olivier Lermet explained that “not all prevention efforts are effective, but some approaches have demonstrated their impact on improving the resilience of young people over harmful behaviors, such as drug abuse.” These include properly designed early childhood programs, parental and family skills, and school-based interventions.
DDB Chairman (Secretary) Catalino S. Cuy acknowledged this situation and committed to continue the development and implementation of evidence-based prevention programs. “Guided by this campaign and the International Standards on Drug Use Prevention, the Philippines reaffirms its commitment to continue to formulate educational programs and services suited to the various developmental stages, settings and specific needs of the members of our communities.” This he also said is in response to the balanced, holistic and comprehensive drug abuse prevention and control priorities under the Philippine Anti-Illegal Drug Strategy or PADS.
During the event, the DDB and the DOH also formally endorsed training toolkits on “Community-Based Voluntary Services for People Who Use Drugs in the Philippines,” developed with the support of the UNODC. The kit contains training modules on the different aspects of establishing community-based treatment and rehabilitation services.
This will help the DDB, DOH, and partner agencies incapacitating barangay health workers, local government officials, and treatment and rehabilitation practitioners and other duty bearers in providing appropriate services for drug users who voluntarily surrender to authorities.
This initiative is part of UNODC’s continued support to the Philippines on drug abuse prevention and control.