International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking Marked in Armenia

YEREVAN–June 28 (Armenpress)–An art exhibit on drugs–as perceived by 7 to 18 year-old children–opened at the UN House in Yerevan–marking the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking. The exhibition by the South Caucasus Anti-Drug Program (SCAD)–is funded by the European Union and implemented by UN Development Program (UNDP).

International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking commemorates the signature of the declaration adopted at the International Conference against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking on June 26–1987. Each year a theme is chosen to draw public attention to–and the theme for 2005 is "Value yourself… make healthy choices."

At the exhibition–Armenian children presented paintings and ceramic crafts–individually expressing their attitude towards drug phenomenon as "Evil." Grigor Malintsyan–SCAD program coordinator–and Alla Bakunts–UNDP democratic governance portfolio coordinator–opened the ceremony with short speeches.

This year’s anti-drug campaign intends to send out a message of self-respect to young people around the world. It calls on youth to consider the health-related reasons why they should stay away from drugs or stop using them. "Healthy choices" is not only about saying "no" to drugs but also about choosing healthy lifestyles: sports–music–theater–civil service–and other positive activities.

Malintsyan noted in his speech: "Leading a healthy lifestyle requires making choices that are respectful of body and mind. To make these choices–young people need guidance from parents–teachers–and other role models who should not only persuade them to stay away from illegal drugs–but also encourage them to engage in healthy activities. Thus–participation of children in our event is a vivid example of their choice for a ‘healthy lifestyle.’"

At the event–the National Focal Point on Drugs presented the second National Annual Drug Report 2004–prepared by the joint efforts of national and international experts. The event participants were awarded special gifts and certificates. T-shirts and baseball caps covering the day’s theme and logo–as well as EU and UNDP logos–were distributed.

About SCAD Program: The SCAD program was launched in Armenia in 2001. It aims at harmonizing drug law enforcement tactics and operational techniques in the participating countries while fostering cooperation at the regional level. The overall objective of the program is to reduce drug trafficking from and through the three South Caucasian countries towards EU member states. For this purpose–the program has provided assistance to the Police–Ministry of Justice–State Customs Committee–Ministry of Health of the Republic of Armenia–many NGOs dealing with drug and HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment–and to other relevant agencies.

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