YOUTH participants of Commonwealth member countries have gained invaluable information and a higher level of understanding on effective approaches in curbing drug abuse through the Regional Workshop on Drugs and Substance Abuse.
According to a participant and private sector official from Sri Lanka involved with the country's social welfare, Asitha Wickramarachchi, the five-day workshop has been helpful in identifying various ways to prevent the influence of drugs from being inflicted in their respective countries.
"This workshop is an excellent opportunity for us to explore and share views on preventive drug policies found in various countries as well as discuss issues involved with drug-related situations," he said.
"I find it very useful. This is my first time participating in this kind of workshop and it has been a very interesting experience so far."
He further stated his hope that he will be able to apply as well as implement what he has learned from the workshop to his country with the cooperation of the Sri Lankan government along with several non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the bid to rid Sri Lanka from drug-related problems.
P Somojut Sing, the secretary of the People's Education and Development Organisation (PEDO), an NGO from India, said that this was his second time participating in an anti-drug workshop.
Selected by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports from the government of India, he recognises the significance of such programmes in alleviating the problem of drug abuse from Commonwealth countries.
"We all need to work together in eradicating the scourge of drugs from damaging our countries, and I think it is particularly effective with this programme because it is using the youths to spread the message," he said.
"Everything we have gone through during this workshop has opened my mind into figuring out more effective ways of drug prevention and solutions that could be applied to my country," he stated, also taking the opportunity to remark on the hospitality shown by Brunei as host country to the programme.
Fauzia Akram from the Pakistani Ministry of Youth Affairs hopes that she will be able to use some of the strategies and policies that have been discussed and learned from the workshop with her ministry to implement a more effective way of dealing with the issue of drug abuse in Pakistan.
"It is a really good programme and I have gained a lot of important knowledge and information that I wish to bring back to my country," she said.
"This workshop is especially beneficial because you get a higher level of understanding of the drug problem, particularly that of which is affecting the youth, because you get to hear the different situations that are found in various countries."
One of the facilitators of the workshop, Dr Suruchi Pant, who is also an official from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, believes that the programme has served its purpose and enhanced the knowledge and understanding of the participants about the various dimensions of the problem of drug use.
"The participants are very interactive and extremely informed. It's been an educational as well as an entertaining workshop."
Participants had the opportunity to conduct presentations on each of their respective countries yesterday at the Orchid Garden Hotel, detailing each country's policies on drug control as well as drug-related problems faced and roles their government and NGOs play in dealing with these problems.
They also had the opportunity to discuss what further action their country could take in solving drug abuse in their respective countries.
In the afternoon, participants took part in various games and activities involving communication skills and lessons on peer pressure as well as certain issues that youths face that causes them to delve into drug addiction.
About 38 participants from eight Commonwealth member countries participated in the workshop, namely Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, India, Pakistan, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
The workshop, which began on March 12, will conclude today with a certificate presentation to all the participants involved.
The Brunei Times
Monday, March 16, 2009
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