ISSUP Staff Participated in the UNODC Consultation Meeting in Vienna for "Friends in Focus": Shaping the Future of Peer-to-Peer Drug Prevention

The International Society of Substance Use Prevention and Treatment Professionals (ISSUP) remains committed to advancing global health through active participation in international initiatives.

Last week, our Deputy Chief Executive, Livia Edegger, and Scientific Support Coordinator, Rasha Abi Hana, had the pleasure of attending the 3rd Informal Technical Consultation for the "Friends in Focus" peer-to-peer drug prevention programme hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Vienna from June 11th to 13th.

This three-day consultation meeting brought together 20 global experts and six youth representatives to provide valuable feedback on the development of the "Friends in Focus" project. The aim of this initiative is to create a balanced and inclusive peer review process, ensuring the effectiveness and relevance of UNODC's prevention programmes.

The "Friends in Focus" initiative by UNODC embodies the philosophy of empowering young people to participate meaningfully at all levels of the prevention system. With "Friends in Focus," young people learn preventive thinking for themselves and how to disseminate it among their peers. The programme involves training peer trainers to deliver interactive sessions that help youths recognize risk and protective factors, critically reflect on drug-related information, and support their friends. During the consultation, participants provided insights and recommendations to ensure the programme's success and relevance to the target audience.

We look forward to the continued development and implementation of the "Friends in Focus" programme and to furthering our collaboration with UNODC and other global partners in the field of substance use prevention.