Mentor’s efforts to promote a holistic approach to education and prevention have been acknowledged by international delegates at the UNODC global conference.
Mentor was recently given an exciting opportunity to share our work, with specific focus on ways we strive to protect young people from New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) use. Mentor was invited to the 59th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs held at the UNODC headquarters in Vienna on 14-22 March 2016, to take part in an expert panel as part of a side event, “Designer drugs and Social Prevention”, organised by The Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS). Emilio Torrini, a research analyst at Mentor, attended the event and presented on the role played by Mentor in protecting young people in the UK from designer drugs (see his presentations on Slideshare).
The event looked at the overall impact of preventative measures against the widespread use of NPS amongst young people in most countries worldwide and the role of governments and civil society in countering this growing phenomenon. Within this context, we were given the chance to share our holistic and life-course approach to education and prevention, as well as an overview of current changes to the legislation around NPS in the United Kingdom and its implications for those who work in prevention in the UK.
We stressed the point that, as far as a prevention measures are concerned, the new law doesn’t really change our approach and our work. In fact, when it comes to prevention, the key message is: whether NPS are legal or not, the risks and harms posed by these drugs remain very high and should be treated exactly like all other psychoactive substances.
Overall, the event highlighted that a balance must be struck between control and prevention in countering the production, spread and intake of NPS. It was recognised that there still is too little attention and action on the latter, regarding prevention of NPS intake. It seemed that the most urgent issue is the further development and streamlining of formal preventive education through existing and new channels, such as schools, parental training, and the overall community. Mentor is proud to be on the frontline when it comes to promoting and implementing best practices for evidence-based prevention programmes.