'Listen First' is an initiative to increase support for prevention of drug use that is based on science and is thus an effective investment in the well-being of children and youth, their families and their communities. Listening to children and youth is the first step to help them grow healthy and safe.
Listen First was launched in 2016 during the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the World Drug Problem. It began as a campaign on science-based drug prevention to raise awareness around listening to children and youth as the first step to help them grow healthy and safe. The campaign targets parents, teachers, policy makers, health workers and prevention workers particularly, as well as the wider public.
The global campaign - using the hashtag #ListenFirst - aims to increasing support for science-based drug use prevention. In order to illustrate this important issue to a diverse audience, public service announcements, videos and fact sheets have been developed for use by health workers, parents, teachers, prevention workers and policy makers.
Prevention of substance abuse is a key target under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, specifically under Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 on Health. 'Listen First', seeks to raise awareness of the fact that drug use prevention based on science is an effective investment in a healthy future.
During the global pandemic in 2020, UNODC focused the Listen First materials to increase support for prevention of drug use that is based on science and is thus an effective investment in the well-being of children and youth, their families and their communities, specifically during times of isolation and physical distancing.
The key messages of the campaign are:• Core of science-based prevention is listening.
• Listening to children and youth is the first step to help them stay healthy and safe.
• Evidence-based science to prevent drug use in children and youth is an effective investment in the global health and well-being of communities.
Materials are currently available in English, French and Spanish and will be launched in other official languages at a later stage.
Please read the voice (statement) of Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in the United States.
Please read the voice (statement) of Dr.Gilberto Gerra, Director of Prevention, Innovation and Research Unit, Mental Health and Addiction Department, Public Health System, Parma, Italy