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DPNA/DFAF Forging Leadership Workshops


Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina
November 27 and 28, 2003

Local Partner: The Higher Court of Justice of the Province of Tierra Del Fuego.

General Coordinator: Our local coordinator and the coordinator of the seminar was Dr. Mario Arturo Robbio - Judge of the Higher Court of Justice - Province of Tierra del Fuego, Argentina.

Format of the Seminar: This Forging Leadership training was a "piggy-back" event held in the Argentinean city of Ushuaia of the Province of Tierra Del Fuego which was part of a larger seminar. The main objective was to explain to prominent leaders of the community the importance of working together with the objective of obtaining drug demand reduction in their Province. Most expenses were covered by the Higher Court of Justice of Tierra del Fuego, including the site, travel expenses for Forging Leadership DPNA/DFAF presenters, as well as the hotel. We were only required to cover the expenses of the per diems for Dr. Juan Alberto Yaria and Dr. Guillermo Fernandez and the cost of the materials which were specially prepared for this event: spiral bound booklets, each with 82 pages, and a CD with materials in Spanish, Portuguese and English. We are currently waiting for a sample of the materials to be shipped to us by our international coordinator, Mina. A sample will be provided with next month's report.

Participants: This event included approximately 150 leaders of the Province. A snow storm, unusual for this time of the year, contributed to the absence of about 50 more invited leaders. The participants were mainly judges, teachers, social workers, doctors and businessmen. We are currently waiting for copies of the evaluations and the sign up forms to join DPNA/RIPRED signed by the participants to be shipped to us by Mina. Copies will be provided with next month's report.

Forging Leadership Presenters:

  • Dr. Juan Alberto Yaria
  • Dr. Guillermo Fernandez, who also delivered Mina Seinfeld de Carakushansky's presentation
  • Note: Professor Mina Seinfeld de Carakushansky appears in the program as one of the presenters. Due to an accident which occurred a few weeks ago in Buenos Aires, wherein she broke her arm, she was unable to travel, but Dr. Guillermo Fernandez and Dr. Juan Yaria made the presentations she was supposed to make.

Themes:

1.   Effective drug demand reduction policies are based upon a solid scientific and technological basis while the movements for drug legalization use shoddy science and lies to promote their agendas.

2.   Explanation as to how the strategies are used in order to achieve a global philosophical shift to decriminalization and legalization of substances as the principal approach and philosophy in addressing drug problems.

3.   Presentation of best proven and state of the art drug prevention strategies: community coalition building and preventive cities, working together effectively in order to reach common goals.

4.  Efforts against drugs are not a failure. Examples of China, Sweden and the USA show that the war on drugs is a war which has to be fought in a similar manner as the war on poverty, the war on crime, the war on cancer, etc.

5.   Explanation that prisons all over the world are not full of small-scale marijuana drug users for long prison terms, and that drug legalization would increase the harms drugs cause to our society. Approaches that would increase the availability of drugs would exponentially increase the damages these substances cause.

6.   Steps that can be taken to reaffirm stands for health and for well-being:

     Confirm a positive goal for a society in which consumption of drugs is as low as is possible, and where illegal drug use is not considered a positive, sustainable, or viable lifestyle.

     To cease using such expressions as harm reduction, medical marihuana, recreational drugs, etc. to describe a country's response to drugs, and to confirm a commitment to do what it takes to help addicted persons get off drugs and sufficiently rehabilitated to stay off.

     Need to place our energies and emphasis on a preventive approach to substance abuse.

     The importance of community mobilization such as health promotion activities and campaigns.

     Health service reorientation -enhancement of services and access to services by young people at risk.

     Employment and training.

     Laws, regulation, policing and enforcement.

     Social marketing-using mass media to promote health messages to young people.

Conclusion:  Based upon the feedback we had from Dr. Mario Robbio, Dr. Roberto Maldonado (one of the important organizers of this event), and from the future Minister of Education of Tierra del Fuego, this training can be considered a success even though we had the misfortune of the unexpected snow storm and Mina's injury which prevented her from traveling to the site and managing the training. Many attendees indicated that they were impressed with the event and saw value in the training. A good indicator is that the participants from the City of Rio Grande, came up to Drs. Yaria, Robbio and Fernandez to formally express their desire to host, if at all possible, a Forging Leadership event in their own city, in April 2004. In a similar demonstration of interest and technical and scientific respect regarding what was presented, three different groups of people from Ushuaia expressed their desire to have a specific Forging Leadership event in their city, in the months of July or August of 2004.