Mothers Against Drugs

MOTHERS AGAINST DRUGS

P. O. Box 214, 220005, Minsk, Belarus

Tel.: +375-17-239-07-59

Fax: +375-17-210-07-07

E-mail: mothersantidrugs@tut.by

Web: www.mad.narkotiki.by

HOW IT BEGAN

Mothers Against Drugs (MAD) is a non-governmental organization based in Minsk, the capital city of Belarus. MAD was established in October 2000 by a group of parents of drug addicts, former drug users, educators, police officers, and businessmen. Elena Pisarenko, 45, professional educator, was elected Director of the organization.

 

CHIEF GOAL

The chief goal of MAD is to mobilize parents (and especially mothers), educators, and community leaders to prevent their children from getting into the terrible tragedy of drug addiction, which today affects one fifth of all Belarusian families.

 

MAJOR AREAS OF WORK

The four major areas of work for MAD are:

 

1. Education (drug abuse primary prevention programs in schools);

2. Raising awareness about the dangers of drugs and referral services;

3. Helping the codependent (self-support groups);

4. Expanding through establishing new affiliates.

 

1. EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM: SAVING YOUNG BELARUSIANS BY TELLING THE TRUTH ABOUT DRUGS

The organizations major activity in the area of education is presenting its educational drug abuse primary prevention program Dont Let It Kill You to students, educators, and parents in grade schools, high schools, trade-schools, colleges, and universities in Minsk and other cities.

The format of this 45-minute program varies depending on the type of audience, but always consists of following three parts:

 

1. A 10-15 minute introductory talk given by Elena Pisarenko, Director of MAD in which she introduces the problem, presents statistical data on drug use extent among young people in Belarus, describes factors influencing young people to start using drugs, and urges the students to make the decision to stay drug-free.

 

2. Showing Masquerade video (10-15 min.).

3. A 10-15 minute talk given by a former drug addict, in which he shares his personal experience of getting into addiction, the horrible consequences leading to a suicide attempt, and the difficult way to become drug-free.

About Masquerade Video

The video was developed by Focus On the Family, USA, Colorado Springs. The popular American youth speaker Milton Creagh, blows the cover off many popular myths about drugs. His unique balance of tough love and encouragement through down-to-earth, honest dialogue motivates parents to raise drug-resistant children and urges young people to choose drug-free lives.

 

As of today (2003), this program has been presented to over 75,000 students in over 1,200 public schools, colleges and universities in more than 25 cities all over Belarus.

 

 

 

2. RAISING AWARENESS ABOUT THE DANGERS OF DRUGS, REFERRAL SERVICES

Among the objectives of MAD is also to increase the public awareness about the consequences of drug use and the available help to drug users and their families. This includes addresses and interviews on the national radio, TV, articles in the press; holding special workshops and conferences; producing brochures for parents and teachers; maintaining and developing the website Everything About Drug Addiction in Belarus and the Help Available (www.narkotiki.by).

 

 

3. HELPING THE CODEPENDENT FAMILIES

Since August 2003, MAD has been carrying out the project Mothers Against Drugs: Forming Self-Help Groups in Belarus supported by the World Bank. The goal of the project is to form 4 self-help groups of parents of drug users in Soligorsk, Mogilev, Pinsk, and Baranovichy, and to organize a national scale information campaign to create prerequisites for forming such groups in other cities of Belarus. First time in the CIS, during this project the codependent will get united to solve their own problems and help other citizens to overcome consequences of drug use. Parents and other family members of drug users will be working together as a self-help group which is not limited to a social rehabilitation group but is an aggressive community action group. Among the activities of the groups in the four cities will helping other families of drug users, visiting HIV-positive drug users in prisons, organizing prevention programs in public schools, and promoting no drugs lifestyle.

 

 

4. MULTIPLICATION: ESTABLISHING AFFILIATES ALL OVER BELARUS

Since the establishment of the organization in 2000, citizens in several other cities decided to follow the example. Today MAD has regional representatives in 12 Belarusian cities: Soligorsk, Baranovichy, Zhlobin, Orsha, Pinsk, Gorky, Slonim, Gomel, Bobruisk, Mogilev, Svetlogorsk and Volkovysk.

In each of the cities, these are groups of highly motivated parents of addicts, physicians, educators and community leaders actively involved in primary prevention programs in schools, raising public awareness about drugs and alcohol, providing information about the help available, establishing and maintaining self-support groups, and starting interdiction citizen initiatives.

 

MAD takes part in all national drug abuse prevention projects and programs including Soccer Against Drugs, Bikers Against Drugs, Rock Against Drugs and others. Effective cooperation has been established with several members of the national parliament, leadership of the state narcological service, top-level drug control police officials, and most influential national newspapers.

Mothers Against Drugs is a member of Belarus HIV/AIDS Net of over 20 NGOs.