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Malaysian website to empower young people to resist experimenting with drugs

KUALA LUMPUR, 30 June 2006 - Young people in Malaysia can now log-on to www.whatareyoudoing.net to learn about drugs and why ‘using is for losers’.  The website is part of the ‘Keep the Music Clean’ campaign designed to engage, educate and empower young people to resist the temptation to experiment with drugs.

‘Keep the Music Clean’ is a communications partnership between Zouk Kuala Lumpur, Grey Global Group, Hitz.fm and UNICEF.  It carries anti-drug messages to the physical and virtual spaces frequented by young people such as night clubs, the radio and the Internet.  ‘Keep the Music Clean’ reminds us to create safe environments for young people so they can enjoy good music without the harm caused as a result of drug abuse.

“We know that ‘clubbing’ is part of contemporary social life for young people in many parts of the world, including in Malaysia, and we welcome ‘clubbing’ as a positive activity.  It brings young people together to socialise and express themselves.  We believe this shouldn’t be compromised by the threat of drug abuse,” said Gaye Phillips, UNICEF Representative to Malaysia.

Concerned about the increased availability of so-called ’feel good’ drugs such as amphetamines and ecstasy, Zouk Kuala Lumpur and UNICEF launched the ‘Keep the Music Clean’ campaign in 2005.  A host of activitie,s including a special event by anti-drug activist and world-renowned DJ Paul Van Dyk, resonated with young people.  A three-month long pledge drive resulted in approximately 2,000 club-goers signing on to commit to ‘Keep the Music Clean’.

“The 2005 ‘Keep the Music Clean’ campaign was so successful that we agreed to make it an annual event.  We are especially pleased with the response from club-goers to the pledge drive.  It is clear that, given the opportunity and the correct information, young people choose to act responsibly and not take part in risky behaviour,” said Phillips.

Possibly because of lack of information and lack of essential life skills to resist pressure, some young people find it hard to withstand the temptation to experiment with drugs.  Not all young people understand the link between their actions today and the consequences they may face tomorrow.  Aside from health risks such as personality disorders and respiratory problems, UNICEF is also concerned that young people under the influence of drugs may engage in other risky behaviour such as unprotected sex, and so increase their chances of contracting HIV, hepatitis and other sexually transmitted infections.

The whatareyoudoing.net website is one way to talk directly to young people and help them see beyond the immediate ‘high’ of ‘feel-good’ drugs to understand the long term repercussions of drug abuse and the negative effect on relationships, appearance and their finances.  Created and managed by a young team of web designers from Grey Global Group in Malaysia, the website has four sections which are currently online:

• Event Information about ‘Keep the Music Clean’;
• Straight facts on the risks and effects of drugs, especially those popular with club-goers;
• The repercussions of drug use;
• Downloadable screensavers with anti-drug messages.

Future plans for the whatareyoudoing.net website include a Bahasa Malaysia version, interactive games to explore risky situations and a pledge wall to log a commitment to ‘Keep the Music Clean’. The website can also be accessed through Zouk and Hitz.fm websites, both of which are popular with young people.

‘Keep the Music Clean’ 2006 which will be launched at Zouk Kuala Lumpur on 1 July and supports UNICEF’s global campaign to ‘Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS’.

For 60 years UNICEF has been the world’s leader for children, working on the ground in 155 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For further information, please contact:
Indra Nadchatram, UNICEF Mayalsia, Tel. +603 2095 9157, inadchatram@unicef.org




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