President Piñera presents the Elige Vivir Sin Drogas (choose to live without drugs) program
The President of Chile visited a school in the San Bernardo district of Santiago to explain the new model of drug prevention that is to be implemented throughout Chile. The initiative is based on the experience of Iceland, which 20 years ago had the highest rates of drug abuse among young people under the age of 18 and has succeeded in reducing this to the lowest level of such abuse in the whole of Europe today.
On Tuesday, President Sebastián Piñera presented the Plan Elige Vivir Sin Drogas (Choose to live without drugs program) to students at a school. This program seeks to prevent drug use through strengthening environmental development, socio-community and family contexts.
“We want to provide parents and family members with effective instruments and tools so that they can better care for and protect the children and young people of each and every family in Chile," the president said at an event held in the high school Liceo Polivalente Fidel Pinochet Le Brun.
“We are proposing a strategic partnership for the health, happiness, freedom and future of our children," added the President of Chile. He was accompanied at the event by the Interior and Public Security Minister, Andrés Chadwick, the Director of the National Service for the Prevention and Rehabilitation of Drug and Alcohol Consumption (SENDA), Carlos Charme, together with senior officials and civil society representatives.
Schoolchildren in Chile rank highest of all the countries in the Americas in the consumption of marijuana, cocaine, cocaine paste and unprescribed tranquilizers. With respect to alcohol consumption, Chile is among the continent's top 10.
In order to address this scourge, President Piñera has decided to apply the Icelandic Model. This consists of analysis, intervention, monitoring and evaluation, along with the implementation of the program provided by SENDA and other services, as well as strengthening relationships with parents and the family environment, and working with the school community.
The model, which allowed Iceland to become the European country with the lowest level of drug abuse, is already running in more than 20 countries, with Chile being the first to implement the program in the Americas.
The program seeks to restrict the visibility of alcohol and other drugs, enhance the practical skills of adults responsible for caring for children, increase recreational activities such as sports or the arts, promote the abilities of young people to be social agents of preventing consumption and improve the state's capacity to monitor the issue.
Implementation of the initiative will begin during the first half of this year, covering a total of 50 municipalities.
"There is a different path, one that will allow for a much fuller, much healthier and much happier development of our children and young people," said the President.