UNODC promotes successful collaboration with Lions Clubs International Foundation at the CND side event

18 March 2016, Vienna, Austria: UNODC in collaboration with the Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) and the Governments of Serbia, Montenegro and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia held a side event at the margins of the 59 th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs entitled "Piloting a school-based prevention programme in South Eastern Europe: Results from Lions Quest - UNODC collaboration".

Cooperation between UNODC and LCIF provided an opportunity to pilot Lions Quest "Skills for Adolescence" programme in South Eastern Europe since 2014, starting from Serbia and successfully expanding to Montenegro and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.  This is part of the Lions Quest global evidence-based school-based programme delivered by teachers to improve the social, emotional and life skills of students and thus prevent a variety of risky behaviours - including substance use - while building protective and resistance factors.

The Lions Club-UNODC programme has been delivered in the three South Eastern European countries to the benefit of over 3,000 students in over 40 elementary schools. Moreover, the wider indirect effect in the region is most significant. A good example was provided by the Ministry of Education of Montenegro who pointed out that in their country a total of 15,148 students are positively affected by the programme reaching to unbelievable 22% of VIth  to IXth graders in all schools in the country.

According to research, the programme positively supports and improves:

#establishing positive norms and personal commitments that drug use is not the norm among young people and that a personal commitment to not use drugs is essential;

#addressing risk and protective factors that encourage and discourage drug use; 

#building social and emotional competencies and resistance skills that strengthen the skills to make healthy choices and resist negative peer pressure to use drugs; 

#recognizing impact of drug use with accurate information about short- and long-term effects of drug use on young people's health, friendships, interests, and future goals;

#bonding with prosocial peers and caring adults who are skilled in reinforcing key prevention concepts and skills and providing a safe, caring network of support.

Furthermore, the programme leads to a significant improvement in refusal skills of students, and not only as relates to drugs, but also in significant improvement in perception of harm of alcohol and tobacco.

The side event provided an opportunity to showcase the results of work in Serbia where the programme has been launched first and therefore completed and evaluated, as well as in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro where the programme is currently being delivered. The best practices were shared with other Governments and civil society. Presenters from the Ministries of Education from the three countries briefed the meeting on the outcomes of work and promoted the value of the programme, especially in view of the extension of the national educational curriculum with evidence-based drug use prevention interventions, highlighting the importance of systematic and sustainable programme application.

The programme is in line and in closely referenced to the International Standards on Drug Use Prevention and compliments the UNODC Strengthening Family Programme.

The results of the programme will also be presented at New York Headquarters of the United Nations at the side of the Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on the World Drug Problem in April 2016.