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Drug-free Childhood: Developing Nations Need to Bring in Effective Legislation

In Kerala
November 18, 2022

It is important for developing nations to bring ineffective legislations and policy frameworks for prevention and treatment of drug abuse among youth and children, said Chantelle Pepper, Chair, Western Cape (WC) Substance Abuse Forum-South Africa at theInternational Forum on ‘Children Matter-Right to a Drug-Free Childhood’, here on Thursday.

“A multi-sectoral approach by providing programmes in safe environment is the key, besides the involvement of various stakeholders,” Pepper said in her presentation on ‘Policy implementation: Advocating for a community-based multidisciplinary approach and evidence-based prevention interventions for children, youth and women.’

The three-day conference is organised by Fourth Wave Foundation (FWF) in partnership with UNODC and World Federation Against Drugs (WFAD).

Citing the prevention model in South Africa, Pepper said collective efforts by government departments, central drug authority, civil society, local drug action committees and private sector have contributed significantly to the cause.The programme involves right from the national and provincial governments and down to the local civic institutions, ensuring multi-tier policy interventions.

Dr Ashwin Mahesh, Advisory Board, FWF-India, speaking on ‘Community-led approach to drug demand reduction,’ said there is a need to dramatically increase number of problem-solving people with skill and expertise. It is important to keep validating and building this capacity.

Emily Hennessy, Associate Director of Biostatistics, Recovery Research Institute-US, on ‘Rehabilitation and social cohesion of children-Reducing stigma and the gender perspective,’ said though access to treatment is necessary to reduce stigma caused by drug abuse, acute clinical intervention is not enough in most of the countries.

Scott Hendersson, Executive Director, National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children (DEC)-US, who spoke through video conferencing on ‘Recognising signs of a possible drug endangered child for teachers and law enforcement,’said drug endangered children are at risk of suffering physical or emotional harm from drug use, possession, manufacturing, cultivation or distribution.

Hendersson added that DEC is a community-based mission and its vision is to ensure health and safety of children, families and communities that are free from negative impact of substance misuse and drug activity.