UNODC presented the results of Lions Quest "Skills for Adolescence" programme implementation in Montenegro and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

27 September 2016, Podgorica, Montenegro; 29 September 2016, Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: Resulting from the collaborative efforts of the Lions Clubs International Foundation and UNODC, a drug use prevention programme of the Lions Quest "Skills for Adolescence" was availed in 2014 in the region of South Eastern Europe. The programme was initially conducted in Serbia followed with the expansion in Montenegro and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

The Lions Quest "Skills for Adolescence" is a school-based life skill programme targeting young people to develop skills, to accept the responsibility, to learn how to communicate effectively and make health decisions, as well as to resist pressure to use alcohol and drugs. With the active support of relevant Ministries, the programme was disseminated in 17 elementary schools in Montenegro and 47 elementary schools in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia reaching more than 2,500 students in the academic year 2015-2016.

Organized by the Ministry of Education of Montenegro, a panel session on drug use prevention programmes addressing the adolescence period was convened with the representatives of expert society to present the results of the Lions Quest "Skills for Adolescence" programme. It was also aimed to discuss the value of the evidence based interventions for the national educational system. Furthermore, the interconnectivity prospects between the available programmes in the country and the newly established Lions Clubs initiative were showcased and acknowledged.

The Ministry of Education and Science of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia presented the programme results and in particular highlighted positive indirect outcome with the groups of students who were involved in the programme in view of their greater attachment to school, better scholastic achievements and decreased violence in schools. The initiative was commended as an evidences-based intervention of great importance for the national response system to drugs and its further expansion in the country was suggested by the Minister of Education and Science in his opening remarks.

During the implementation in both countries the programme was thoroughly monitored and the effectiveness of the intervention was evaluated using the standardized questioners with case and control groups in all schools targeting four main indicators: substance use, refusal skills, intention to use and normative beliefs. Preliminary programme results are convincing in displaying the positive trend among the assessed groups in terms of strengthening the refusal skills and with positive outcomes related to the intention to use alcohol, tobacco and cannabis.

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