Anti-drug Abuse Endeavor Gets More Urgent During Pandemic, and Seed Teacher Training Held at Tzu Chi University

Despite strictly imposed anti-pandemic policies, such as city lockdowns and stay at home quarantine orders, drug trafficking still continues, and even shows a growth trend. A United Nations report pointed out that more than 35 million people worldwide suffer health problems because of drug addiction. With economic recession triggered by the pandemic, the poorest groups of people are the most likely to be addicted and even turn to drug cultivation or trafficking.

Discerning the urgency for an anti-drug abuse endeavor, the Hualien County Government and Tzu Chi University jointly sponsored the “2021 Hualien County Seed Teacher Training and Certification on Anti-Drug Abuse.” A total of 124 primary and secondary school teachers, and anti-drug abuse volunteers, participated in this event on February 21, 2021.

In the opening session, Ministry of Education superintendent in Hualien Mr. Kuang-Tsung Han presented a citation of appreciation to Tzu Chi University in recognition of its contribution to the anti-drug abuse endeavor. Dr. Ingrid Liu, Tzu Chi University President, thanked the attendees for their enthusiastic participation. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide has exceeded 96 million, but every year, more than 35 million people worldwide lose their health due to drug abuse. COVID-19 damages the lungs and drugs harm the brain. It is of utmost importance to make young people aware of these dangers and free them from the temptations of illicit drug use.

At the beginning of school year 2020, the Ministry of Education launched an anti-drug abuse campaign among students from the fifth to the ninth grades, through seed teachers and a special Ministry of Education edition of teaching materials. Presentations were given in individual classes and incorporated life experience. During the February 21 event, teaching presentations were conducted by Ms. Shi-Yu Wang of Chungde Elementary School, Mr. Hong-Yao Cai of the Hualien Department of Education, Ms. Ti-Wen Lai of Yichang Junior High, Principal Chi-Ming Liu of Jian Junior High, and Mr. Ji-Guo Feng of Huaren Junior High. The 124 attendees received their certifications on the following day.

Teachers who are used to teaching adopted the roles of students. They took careful notes and participated in group discussions and games conducted by the lecturers. Mr. Zhi-Hua Xiao from Sanzhan Elementary School said that the anti-drug abuse campaign has long been a major endeavor at his school, but he still has learned quite a lot about new methods and materials at this anti-drug event. Children in the upper grades face more temptations. It is of vital importance to let them know the dangers of drug abuse, so that when they face critical moments in making choices, they will have more courage to say “NO!” to drugs.

The new teaching materials have interesting topics like the “Journey of Inhaling,” and the video about the Anti-drug Goalkeeper. The diverse content allows children to review why people take drugs, what should be done if some family members take drugs, and what better solutions there are, when people face setbacks or frustrations. The lecturers shared their actual teaching experience and reminded the participants of each class’ diverse situation, so flexible adaptation is always helpful and even necessary.

Three University student volunteers participated in the certification program. Yin-Ling Chen from the Department of Child Development and Family Studies, said that as a freshman student, she was excited to have the opportunity to learn from many senior teachers and was eager to take anti-drug ideas to elementary and secondary school children.

Ms. Ruo-Mei Zeng, a section chief in Hualien Department of Education said that Tzu Chi University has a long history of cooperation with the Hualien Department of Education to make anti-drug abuse resources available in schools. Hualien County, with its large territory, needs more manpower dedicated to this endeavor. She thanked the University for being a dedicated member in the anti-drug abuse group to protect the health of young people.