HANOI, October 30, 2018 – Since June, three Vietnamese professionals—Mr. Nam Cao, Chief Coordinator of Vietnam Program for Internet & Society, University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Vietnam National University Hanoi, Mr. Chung Nguyen, Department for Social Vices Prevention, Ministry of Labor – Invalids and Social Affairs and Ms. Hang Pham, Vietnam Television Reporter—have been striving to create an effective drug use prevention program for Vietnam’s public media. In the emerging digital world, media-focused substance use prevention plays an important role in reaching mass audiences with minimal expense, especially the youth. Media-based substance use prevention programs are only effective though when anchored on sound theories of Health Behaviour and Prevention Science. With the benefit of scholarships from the U.S. Department of State, these professionals have been able to attend the Claremont Graduate University, School of Social Sciences in California as students (United States).
The Claremont Prevention Program, through the U.S. Department of State, funds those professionals focused on the prevention of drug use to develop advanced theory-based prevention programs, using the media to enhance prevention effects. Prevention science theory and research, along with on-the-ground practice, are covered in an intensive three-week face-to- face lesson with subsequent mentoring of students online. The program is designed to cover six key areas of Media-Based Prevention Science and Evaluation, culminating in the development of an applied practicum project.
While in Hanoi for the annual meeting of members of the Colombo Plan, the Division Director for Counter Narcotics of the Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, Brian A. Morales, met with the recipients of this INL funded scholarship and commented:
“We are proud of our partnership with Vietnam in piloting a research-based drug prevention media program. The experience of Vietnam will inform societies around the world who seek effective mass media strategies that both inform and persuade our youth to avoid illicit drug use. Drug prevention is a validated scientific field and we should invest more in this area, since every dollar spent on prevention today will save ten dollars in economic and social costs tomorrow. ”
The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs funds a variety of programs to support drug demand reduction throughout the world in cooperation with multilateral and regional organizations.