/ 25 March 2022

THREE public school student leaders vowed to create programs that will enlighten their school and communities on preventive drug education during the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime Youth Forum 2022.

Grade 12 students Lara Victoria De Guzman of the Francisco Barzaga Integrated High School in Dasmariñas City, John Edward Sabeniano of Supang-Datag National High School in Catanduanes and Annika Elinzano of Mangatarem National High School in Pangasinan said that they are committed in promoting drug prevention education efforts.

“As a Barkada Kontra Droga President in my school, I will integrate everything that I’ve learned and transform it into doable programs to reach out to those who are in dire need of help in my community,” De Guzman said.

Meanwhile, Elinzano said he learned the importance of focusing on the drug user not on the vice itself.

Sabenio said that the forum enriched their knowledge on mental health and valuing physical health which has a big role in producing a better community.

The virtual forum, which ran from February 28 to March 4, brought together 75 young leaders who learned evidence-based drug use prevention and various perspectives on the world drug problem.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones lauded the youth leaders for their participation in the forum.

“While the Department is working on new methods in drug prevention education, we believe that the youth can effectively participate by identifying the needs and possibilities for the prevention in their communities,” Briones said.

Meanwhile, UNODC Executive Director Ghada Waly emphasized that while the young are among the most vulnerable and the most affected by drug use, their passion and modern views are better than anyone else in achieving true and lasting change to communities.

“Your engagement will be essential in raising awareness, changing attitudes, and developing solutions,” Waly told the participants.