US: (US Embassy, Pakistan Govt urge youth engagement to combat drug abuse)September 1, 2015
ISLAMABAD: Over 400 college and university students from Islamabad and Rawalpindi gathered in the National Library of Pakistan on Wednesday morning for a seminar entitled, “Engaging Pakistani Youth in Anti-Narcotics Efforts: Building Generations and Societies.”
The program educated students on their roles in combating drug abuse in Pakistan. The Pakistan-U.S. Alumni Network (PUAN) and the Ministry of Interior and Narcotics Control jointly organized the U.S. Embassy-funded event.
U.S. Embassy Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Jeffrey Sexton urged the students to look for opportunities to volunteer and to serve their communities.
“As we have learned so well today, to affect change you need strong communities. Communities unite people behind common causes. Communities call people to action. You are proof that youth with a vision can make a difference in Pakistan,” he told the young audience.
Director of the U.S. Embassy’s International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Section (INL) Ramon “Chico” Negron discussed INL’s support for drug rehabilitation programs across Pakistan and comprehensive drug awareness campaigns in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh province.
“We all share responsibility for raising awareness about the dangers of illegal drug use,” Negron stressed. Minister of State for Interior and Narcotics Control Mohammad Baligh-ur-Rehman also addressed the students.
The close coordination between the Ministry of Interior and Narcotics Control, PUAN, and the U.S. Embassy demonstrated the shared commitment of the United States and Pakistan to combating the corrosive effects of the illegal drug trade.
According to a press statement, Pakistan has one of the largest U.S.-alumni communities in the world, with more than 15,000 students and professionals who have participated in U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs.
PUAN organizes events across Pakistan through 12 regional chapters, including community service projects, leadership training, roundtable discussions, and community engagement activities.