Protecting Children and Young People from Drug Danger
31 May 2019
The theme of this year's International Day is "Listen First – Listening to children and youth is the first step to help them grow healthy and safe". Speaking at the event, the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Mr. Kamal Malhotra, urged everybody to "listen to the children and youth with warmth and care, provide them with skills and opportunities, and invite them to be part of the solution." He also expressed wish that "the government, ministries, communities, families, schools, civil society, businesses, religious organizations, the media and the entire society continue doing everything possible to raise awareness of the harm caused by illicit drugs and provide support for people who are affected by drug use and dependence." He reiterated that "those who suffer from drug use dependence can be supported through evidence-based, voluntary treatment. Punishing or stigmatizing people who use drugs is not a solution."
This year's national action month, themed "Protecting children and young people from drug danger", aims to intensify coordination between related ministries, sectors and offices to raise public awareness on drug abuse, drug-related crimes and their negative impacts, and increase the community's responsibility for the fight against drugs. Speaking at the event, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam stressed that protecting the public, especially the youths from drug use and dependence is an important and urgent task that requires synchronous and effective measures. He also asked that each and every youth will become an anti-drug advocate and will say NO to drug possession and use.
At the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the World Drug Problems in 2016, member states, including Vietnam, unanimously agreed on an outcome document containing over 100 recommendations for implementing balanced, comprehensive and integrated approaches to effectively addressing and countering the world drug problem. Vietnam has made commitments to realizing the Sustainable Development Goals, including Goal 3 on ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages as well as its target 3.5 which is focused on strengthening the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol.
The United Nations in Vietnam in general and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) in particular have been working closely with the Government of Vietnam in various areas from developing policy to finding legal and sound medical ways to address the challenge of illicit drug dependence.