Internet: Using the Internet for Drug Abuse Prevention

Internet: Using the Internet for Drug Abuse Prevention

Internet: Using the Internet for Drug Abuse Prevention

Internet: Using the Internet for Drug Abuse Prevention


This publication is one of a series of guides produced by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime as part of the Global Youth Network project. The information presented derives from a workshop held in March 2002 involving representatives from youth experts and groups from around the world involved in using the internet as part of drug abuse prevention programmes.


It is arguable that the creation and explosive growth of the internet over the last two odd decades have been the most significant technological development in recent times. The internet has changed the way we read, travel, shop and entertain ourselves. As with most new technologies, it is young people who are in the vanguard of this [netiziation] of our social existence. Not only do youth feel comfortable using the net they also bring with them their irreverence and questioning minds, thus pushing the limits of this medium, using it for things that were scarcely imaginable.

Given the widespread interest in this medium amongst our so called [target audience] and in order to tap into this exciting interface between young people, youth culture and the internet, the Global Youth Network project teamed up with the prevnet network ( to organize a hands on theme meeting of young people and youth workers who are already using the internet for drug abuse prevention.

The meeting was organized in Athens, Greece on the sidelines of a larger Prevnet conference on telematics and Prevention from 13 to 16 March 2002. The idea was to bring together youth experts who have gained considerable experience in using the Net as part of their prevention programmes and ask them to help us write a short [How To] guide for other youth groups who would like to start using the Net. While it is true that the Internet has revolutionized the nature of knowledge, it can be as much of a decorative trinket as ill-directed TV programmes on drug abuse prevention. Its great power and visibility also make it important for youth to familiarize themselves with the medium before they actually start using it to make social interventions. These and many other issues were discussed by youth who attended the meeting from groups from Belgium, Canada, Finland, Netherlands, Norway and Slovenia. This How To guide is really their work and we hope we have succeeded in accurately representing their views.

This guide is the result of discussions between the participants and hours of hard work put in by our two consulting editors, Ms Tracey Powers Erkkila from the A klinik foundation in Finland and Ms Oonagh Maley, TeenNet Research Project, University of Toronto. Both of them spent a long time working and reworking the ideas that came up during the meeting and writing them up in a format that may be useful for net neophytes. We would formally like to express our appreciation for their efforts. Professor Harvey Skinner also of the University of Toronto helped us conduct some of the sessions during the meeting and has been a source of support. Gautam Babbar, Coordinator of the Global Youth Network project organized the overall initiative and along with Giovanna Campello, Coordinator of the global initiative on Primary Prevention at the UNODC Demand Reduction Section also contributed to the writing of this guide. Finally we would like to gratefully acknowledge the support of the Governments of Canada, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and United Kingdom, whose financial contributions made the Global Youth Network project a reality.

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