Turning Point’s Chloe Bernard represents Australia at United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Youth Forum

23 Jun 2021

In March this year, Turning Point research assistant Chloe Bernard, participated in the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Youth Forum as the first Australian representative to attend. This five-day event brought together 62 young people, representing 41 countries, to discuss evidence-based approaches to drug use prevention across the lifespan.

Read more about Chloe’s experience at the Youth Forum, in her own words, below:

youth forum group photo

Why did you want to participate in the Youth Forum?

I was interested in participating in the Forum as I have a passion for substance use treatment, harm reduction and health promotion, particularly as it relates to young people. I am also very keen on advocating for the participation of young people in the development and implementation of harm reduction and prevention initiatives. The Forum was therefore a great opportunity to contribute an Australian perspective on drug prevention and policy, while also learning from my peers worldwide.

What were the highlights of participating in the Youth Forum?

To me, the most interesting feature of the Forum was the group work. Over the 5 days, we worked together to brainstorm evidence-based prevention and policy strategies that we would like to see in our countries. Hearing about participants’ experiences with drug prevention and policy in their home countries highlighted the diversity of global drug policy and that Australia’s three-pillar approach (demand reduction, supply reduction and harm reduction) is quite different to the policies of some other countries. I was also able to join an informal group of like-minded participants from Canada the US and Norway, where I was able to engage in discussion about the importance of a harm reduction approach among young people.

What did you take away from your participation in the Youth Forum?

I have a deeper understanding of global drug policy, and the role that young people can play in bringing a youth perspective to drug policymaking. I also have a greater appreciation for the complexities involved in policy development, and how important it is for representatives of key population groups to advocate for the needs of their community members. I am looking forward to implementing what I have learnt during the Forum here in Australia and advocating for the participation of young people in drug policymaking!