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From left to right: Jake Agliata (SSDP Staff), Eva Cesarova (YouthRise), Gonzo Nieto (CSSDP), Penny Hill (Deakin University SSDP), and Sara Velimirovic (SSDP UNGASS Coordinator Intern). YouthRISE member Eva Cesarova began by pointing out that nearly every activity people engage in on a daily basis poses risks to our health; using seatbelts while driving, using climbing equipment while hiking, and wearing helmets while playing ice hockey, etc.
Gonzo Nieto talked about how current drug policies make access to education difficult for youth around the globe. Focusing next on the various ways in which education is impacted by drug policy, Gonzo Nieto, chair of the CSSDP Board of Directors, began by discussing financial barriers to education such as the Higher Education Act (HEA) in the United States. Next, Penny Hill from SSDP Australia discussed the impact of drug policy on human rights, stating that human rights conventions should be privileged over the current drug control conventions. Sara Velimirovic, one of SSDP’s UNGASS Coordinator interns, followed by discussing the results of our Global Youth Coalition Consultation.
We are an international grassroots, student-led organization working to end drug prohibition.
Alcoholic beverage companies have depended on marketing influences targeted at the youth of our country as a way to ensure their company's future with ample alcohol sales from the young adult demographic that makes up their most profitable market share.
CAMY reports that youth exposure to alcohol advertising on United States television alone rose by 71 percent between 2001 and 2009. In an attempt to show good faith and from pressure from the Federal Trade Commission, the beer and distilled spirits companies vowed to advertise to this age group of youth when the composition of underage viewers was less than thirty percent. The Federal Trade Commission and pressure from parents and groups like CAMY hasn't stopped the beer and distilled spirits industry from marketing to this vulnerable age group. There is also ample research that shows that heavy drinking during these ages when the brain is still developing causes a higher percentage of lifelong alcohol related impairments in brain functioning than would occur if these drinking behaviors were postponed to later adulthood.
The alcohol industry is very aware of the research that early-aged heavy drinking has been proven to be a good predictor of alcohol-related problem later in life, such as alcoholism. Awareness building and policy changes that are educating youth about the dire effects of early age drinking and attempting to limit the sale and exposure of alcohol to youth are helping to arrest some of problems that would inevitably be worse without these efforts. One of the principal strategies for limiting alcohol consumption in the general population is to raise taxes on alcoholic beverages, put limits on points of distribution of alcohol so that neighborhoods aren't saturated with alcohol availability, as well as training the staffs of bars and retail stores to be diligent in requiring proof of age before selling to anyone that could be underage, and limiting the type and amount of alcohol advertising targeted at youth. The tobacco industry has already been exposed for their attempts to do similar marketing and they have finally been corralled with public health statistics showing great promise, but in comparison, the alcohol industry still has entirely too much freedom to influence that will follow and destroy our youth if we don't demand responsible attitudes from these "drug pushers". However, at this year’s 59th Commission on Narcotic Drugs, Students for Sensible Drug Policy partnered with our global allies to turn the tide. Penny Hill discussed the human rights implications of drug policies and how they specifically impact youth.
Punitive policies such as the HEA which require expulsion or suspension for low-level drug offenses disproportionately affect young people from low-income families who are already facing unique barriers to future employment and other opportunities. Under the existing framework, a multitude of fundamental human rights are violated in the name of drug policy. Resulting from extensive conversations with youth and members of our esteemed Advisory Committee both in-person and over the web, the paper expresses young people’s belief that existing drug policies have failed our generation and our society. This gain is higher than the television exposure for adults from age 21 and above and their most viable group of adults between the ages of 21 and 34.
The advertising of distilled spirits was thirty times larger in 2009 than it was in 2001, with cable TV being responsible for much of this advertising.
This was put in effect in 2003; however, the evidence shows that it has been ineffective in reducing exposure.
32 percent of drivers between the ages of 16 and 20 that died in traffic accidents in 2003 had measurable amounts of alcohol in the blood and 51 percent of drivers between the ages of 21 and 24 who died in automobile accidents tested positive for alcohol.
Young adults move away from home to attend college or become self-sufficient and live away from parents and will explore their own identity and break away from the messages of caution that they received from their parents. As mentioned above, this attempt as proven that money and industry trumps care for the health of our youth, which points to the need for further efforts to curtail the influence that alcohol advertising has on our youth. On Thursday, March 17th, members of SSDP, Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy (CSSDP), and YouthRISE presented a side event titled “Protecting the World’s Youth From Drug Policy.” Jake Agliata, Outreach Coordinator for SSDP’s international chapters, began the event by introducing the coalition of drug policy reform organizations which represent thousands of young people on six different continents. Society does not deem ice hockey players unworthy of protection from head injury because of their choice to play the game, so why should our treatment of people who use drugs be any different? Similarly, policies which require student drug testing or the presence of drug-sniffing dogs in schools impede students’ future opportunities, undermine trust between students and teachers, and have been shown to be both costly and ineffective.
Particularly, non-discrimination, the best interests of the child, the right to appropriate information, the right to privacy, the right to health and health services, and the right to education all face unnecessary barriers because of the punitive nature of existing policies. The current drug control regime not only impedes the development of young people but also interferes with our full enjoyment of basic human rights. The alcohol industry's marketing focused on television shows with programming targeting youth between 12 and 20 rather than shows watched by those of legal drinking ages, 21 and above.
México IVCenter for Reducing Health Disparities, Universidad de California.
Our coalition intends to amplify youth voices and draw attention to the fact that young people are both willing and able to speak for ourselves on these monumentally important issues. The implementation of harm reduction measures is a necessary part of social progress in any society and it is to our detriment that we continue to ignore this fact. The current state of drug policies also hinders access to objective, evidence-based drug education by giving preferential treatment to programs which preach “Just Say No” rhetoric in spite of data showing their failed efficiency.



In addition to violating international human rights laws, the implementation of the drug conventions as they currently exist obstructs the path towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
While we recognize that in an ideal world everyone would behave in a manner that prevented harms altogether, we must be willing to admit that this is simply not the case. It would be in everyone’s best interest to include youth in the development of programs catered towards us, as young people are far more aware of their needs than are disconnected academics. However, if destructive policies are to continue being implemented in our name, we must be allowed to speak for ourselves in a manner that does not encourage our tokenization. This population of America is responsible for the most binge and heavy drinking, again, showing that the marketing to this population is working. There will be a new programme run by the National Addictions Management Service (NAMS), and it is targeted not at hardcore abusers, but those below the age of 21 and deemed to be at a lower risk.A The taskforce is also suggesting ways to engage the wider community. The objective is to estimate the prevalence of psychiatric disorders, substance use and suicidal behavior in youth classified as NEET and to compare with those who study only, work only or do both. In particular, our coalition would like to see increased focus on peer education programs and those which differentiate between non-problematic drug use and drug abuse.
Too often, it is assumed that young people simply do not know what we want, when this could not be farther from the truth.
For instance, schools will do more to engage parents to spot tell-tale signs of addiction among their children.A "Our schools and the education sector in general intend to remain very strong supporters of efforts against drug abuse.
Harm reduction, for example, should be enshrined in the drug conventions so that a culture of safety around substance use can be allowed to flourish. With these rising trends that have been detected, I think it guides our efforts in working through our schools as well as our institutes of higher learning," said Ms Sim Ann, Minister of State for Education and Co-Chair of the taskforce."In particular, I think there is scope to tap on the parents' network, so that parents are also made aware of some of these changing trends. Societal acceptance of such a naive belief has contributed greatly to the marginalization and stigmatization of people who use drugs all around the world.
Young people want drug policies which prioritize evidence, compassion, health, and human rights; simply put, we want drug policies to start making sense. Descriptive and logistic regression analyses considered the multistage weighted sample design.
Only through pragmatism and empathy can we expect to achieve a world in which the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is feasible for everyone.
Member states, if not already doing so, should be encouraged to acknowledge the efficacy of harm reduction measures and invest in services such as drug checking kits, supervised injection facilities, educational material about risk minimization, and nightlife harm reduction. Further, existing policies should be evaluated with regard to young people and the relevant treaties, such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Drug education which is evidence-based, age-appropriate, and objective should be provided to young people in a manner which prioritize the reduction of harm rather than relying on intimidation and scare tactics. Youth most at risk of the effects of criminalization tend to be those already on the margins of society and damaging their future prospects does little, if anything, to benefit anyone. Supporting youth to continue studying exclusively may buffer negative mental health outcomes. Lastly, the UN must take steps to ensure active and meaningful youth participation in the upcoming UNGASS and future discussions on drug policy. While bodies like the Youth Forum and the Civil Society Task Force have served as limited outlets for young people, they are simply not enough. It is of the utmost importance that young people are included on member state delegations and that youth-focused side events are prioritized. El objetivo es estimar la prevalencia de trastornos psiquiátricos, consumo de sustancias y conducta suicida en adolescentes NINIs y compararlos con adolescentes que estudian exclusivamente, trabajan exclusivamente y quienes estudian y trabajan.
While the motto of UNGASS is “A Better Tomorrow for the World’s Youth,” we wish for an approach to drug policy which seeks a better tomorrow with the world’s youth. These youth were first referred to as NEET (not in education, employment or training) as a British government classification.
A study in New Zealand of unemployment following school leaving found that exposure to unemployment was associated with increased risks of suicidal thoughts, crime and substance abuse, but not depression after accounting for prior psychosocial adjustment and confounding factors.8 There has been increasing attention given to this population of disengaged youth. Therefore the objectives of this study are to estimate the socio-demographic characteristics and the prevalence of psychiatric disorders, substance use and suicidal behavior of adolescents in Mexico City classified as NEET (nini in Spanish), those who work only, those who both work and study, and to compare with adolescents who study only. The sample consists of 3 005 adolescents aged 12 to 17 selected with a stratified multistage area probability sample design. In all strata, the primary sampling units were census count areas cartographically defined by the National Institute of Statistics, Geography and Informatics.
All households within these city block units with adolescents in the age range were selected and one eligible adolescent from each was randomly selected using random number charts. Interviews were conducted in the homes of the participants, all of whom were offered information on local mental health services.
The Internal Review Board of the National Institute of Psychiatry approved the recruitment, consent and field procedures. A section on suicidal behavior asked about suicidal ideation ("Have you ever seriously thought about committing suicide?"), suicidal plan ("Have you ever made a plan for committing suicide?"), and suicide attempt ("Have you ever attempted suicide?"). Employment includes both remunerated and non-remunerated work such as in a family business and formal and informal employment, but does not include volunteerism.
Weighted proportions are presented for four groups: those who neither study nor work, those who study and work, those who work only, and those who study only.


Estimates of standard errors of Odds Ratios (ORs) from logistic regression coefficients were also obtained by SUDAAN, and 95% Confidence Intervals (CI) have been adjusted to design effects. Multivariate tests are based on Wald A?A‡2 tests computed from design-adjusted coefficient variance–covariance matrices. Of working youth, those who also attend school work an average 17 hours per week while those who do not report an average of 33 hours per week. The most frequent occupations are sales, elementary services, and unskilled labor such as hand packing and odd-jobs. Adolescents classified as NEET are older, have lower family income, lower parental education and are less likely to live with both parents than those who study exclusively. Youth who work only and youth who both work and study have similar sociodemographic characteristics to the NEET with the exception that those who work and study simultaneously are not likely to be married or have children.
Because NEETs and working teens are more socially disadvantaged in terms of family income and education, family disintegration and having adult responsibilities such as marriage and children, these variables were controlled for in the analyses to evaluate the association of educational and employment status with psychopathology. Those who work exclusively do not have significantly higher odds than students for suicidal behavior.
Those who both work and study have four times the odds of a suicide attempt, but no increased odds for ideation or plan. However, these findings also indicate that working adolescents, regardless of whether they study, are also vulnerable. While nine years of education are compulsory and guaranteed (usually terminating at age 15), many youth leave education at this age either by choice, financial necessity or by inability to secure school entrance which is no longer guaranteed by the state.
Disengagement from socializing institutions (education and labor) may be a reflection of prior mental disturbance or may increase the risk of psychopathology either by failing to provide structure and the necessary developmental experiences or by increasing exposure to other disenfranchised or non-normative peers. One possible explanation is that 30% of anxiety disorders in these youth were specific or social phobias10 which are less impairing than other anxiety disorders and other non-anxiety disorders19 thus accounting for a weaker or null association. Consistent with findings that adolescent labor increases substance use, the highest odds of substance use, abuse and dependence in this study are for youth who work whereas the highest odds for other psychiatric disorders and suicidal behavior are for NEET youth. The greater substance use of working adolescents has been attributed to contact with older people and greater access and financial resources to buy substances. In Mexico, where violence due to drug trafficking and the war on drugs has disproportionately affected the young, mass media and some government officials have suggested, though there are no data to support or refute the claim, that NEET youth are the prime targets of exploitation by organized crime.
This aside, youth labor in Mexico is often exploitative which may help explain the negative relationship between youth employment and mental health. Psychopathology may contribute to the likelihood of entering NEET status, may inversely be a consequence of NEET status, or may only be related by some third variable that is a risk factor related to both.
While socio-economic disadvantage is related to both NEET status and psychopathology, our findings held even after controlling for this. Our findings suggest that they do, and future research of our group will focus on determining the factors that might explain this risk.
Longer duration of unemployment has been found to be more detrimental.8 Implications Despite these limitations, this study has important implications. Adolescents who study exclusively have better mental health, above and beyond their socioeconomic advantage. Furthermore, getting NEETs jobs may not be the best strategy as teen labor appears to be deleterious to youth development. The jobs that are available to youth without education or experience are likely to put them in high risk situations, compromise their wellbeing and not further their professional development.
These findings suggest a need for evaluating the specific conditions of youth labor which contribute to risk. Education is likely a protective factor in numerous ways such as allowing youth to focus on the developmental demands of adolescence, limiting peer interaction to same age and normative peer groups, keeping youth out of high-risk contexts, providing structure, supervision, and additional resources such as problem-solving abilities, critical thinking, and self esteem to ease the later transition from school to work. The evidence that those with psychiatric conditions are likely to abandon their education earlier, suggests the importance of prevention and intervention for mental health problems during the primary school years. The survey was carried out in conjunction with the World Mental Health (WMH) Survey Initiative. Youth mental health in a populous city of the developing world: results from the Mexican Adolescent Mental Health Survey. Los retos para el empleo y la cohesión social de los jovenes en el contexto economico y social regional. Employment barriers for persons with psychiatric disabilities: Update of a report for the PresidentA‚A?s Commission. Chronic childhood adversity and onset of psychopathology during three life stages: childhood, adolescence and adulthood. Childhood adversities of populations living in low-income countries: prevalence, characteristics, and mental health consequences. Work-related injuries among child street-laborers in Latin America: prevalence and predictors.



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