Prevention of Drug Use Among Young People in Vietnam Through Communications and Community-Based Activities

Ha T. N. Nguyen

Ha T. N. Nguyen. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Vietnam

A total of 178,305 people were identified and recorded as drug users in 2007, an increase of more than 11 percent as compared with 2006. Most of the registered drug abusers were young people (73% of the registered drug abusers were under age 30). Heroin stood out as the most commonly used drug, accounting for 83 percent of the total drug consumption. More than 80 percent of the registered heroin users were identified as injecting drug users (IDUs). Fifty-two percent of new HIV infection cases detected in 2006 were found among IDUs. The emergence of amphetamine-type substances (ATS) is a rising concern in Viet Nam.

To prevent drug use in Viet Nam, especially among young people in the community, through communications and community-based activities, the Government of Vietnam implemented a project with a total budget of USD $589,200 to enhance and integrate information and mass communication campaigns with community-based activities. The project focused on communications, capacity building, community mobilization, coordination and collaboration, enhancement of parenting skills, journalist training on drug prevention reporting, and building the capacity of local communes to deliver vocational training and relapse prevention programs to youth at risk of drug abuse.

After 5 years (2004–2007) of pilot implementation in five provinces, the projects achieved the following results: Capacity of the professional and volunteer drug prevention workforce at the project sites has been developed and enhanced, especially in designing, formulating, and implementing drug communications and education in the community effectively; communications and education models have been diversified and integrated in traditional culture values; mass media agencies have been mobilized to get actively involved in drug prevention propaganda with diversified communication modalities (TV spots, commercials, and quiz show); life skills for students and parents have been provided; social associations, especially the Youth Union and Women Union, have been actively involved in drug communication and education; and capacity of the journalists from newspapers, radio, and television has been enhanced on drug prevention reporting and how the media can work together in an integrated manner to communicate these factors to the community.

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East Asia
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