Minister Risikko presents the European Drug Prevention Prize at award ceremony
On 3 - 4 November the Finnish Minister of Health and Social Services Paula Risikko attends the Ministerial Conference of the Pompidou Group that deals with drug issues under the Council of Europe. In connection with the conference in Strasbourg Minister Risikko will present the European Drug Prevention Prize to three European projects of young people. A live webcast of the award ceremony can be followed starting at 19:25 on the website of the Pompidou Group. Information on the winning projects can be found on the same website after the ceremony. The purpose of the prize is to highlight the importance of young people's engagement in drug prevention work. The prize is now awarded for the first time during a Ministerial Conference. This year altogether 80 projects from 26 countries competed for the prize. The prize is special because it is awarded for young people's real participation in both the projects rewarded and in choosing the prize winners. Drug use cannot be prevented without young people's own involvement in drug prevention work since adults cannot credibly transfer their values and opinions to young people. Every young person finally decides on these matters by himself or herself. Young people are also experts in matters regarding themselves. "The European Drug Prevention Prize is unique in that it is a prize from young people to young people. It is awarded as a reward for young people's direct participation in drug prevention work - from project planning to its implementation. Such participation gives young people an opportunity to adapt their living environments and own lives. Furthermore, young people can make use of adults' experience and expertise," states Minister Risikko. The Ministerial Conference of the Pompidou Group discusses different countries' experiences of establishing an effective drug policy. Minister Risikko will give Finland's national address. "Preventive work must be integrated into all primary services. In Finland's schools for instance health education is incorporated in the curriculum. Pupils' and students' wellbeing and health are monitored on a regular basis, and the schools also provide them social and health services. All schools have drawn up their plans for substance abuse prevention and for how to deal with situations where drugs and alcohol are involved," says Minister Risikko. The Pompidou Group holds a Ministerial Conference every four years. The Group is the first pan-European arena established for discussing drug issues, and for a long time it was the only one. On Finland's initiative the Group started in 2002 a European Youth Forum, which awards the European Drug Prevention Prize every two years. Young people contribute a fourth dimension to the work of the Pompidou Group, alongside decision-makers, researchers, and professionals engaged in practical work.
Outi Kuivasniemi, Ministerial Adviser, tel. 050 4350269, [email protected]
Tapani Sarvanti, Ministerial Counsellor, Social Affairs, tel. 50 5535534, [email protected] (Finland's permanent correspondent in the Pompidou Group)