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Home Lions and UNODC: Partners in Prevention

Lions and UNODC: Partners in Prevention

Since 2014, LCIF has partnered with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to implement Lions Quest in communities across the globe. As an evidence-based program for drug prevention, Lions Quest builds social and emotional competencies and supports in families, schools, and communities to ensure that youth grow and stay healthy and safe into adulthood.

Our Mission

To bring together schools, families, and communities to promote the development of healthy and responsible young people by supporting social and emotional learning (SEL), character development, drug and bullying prevention, and a commitment to community service.

Our Focus


Lions Quest is a social and emotional learning program that aims to prevent risky behaviors by promoting the positive potential of children and youth, the development of skills and character essential to life, personal and social responsibility, and community and family involvement.

Lions Quest is the global leader in school-based prevention.

Lions Quest has three, age-appropriate programs: Skills for Growing, aimed at children from 5 to 9 years, Skills for Adolescence (10 to 14 years), and Skills for Action (15 to 19 years). In this first phase of the partnership, LCIF and UNODC are implementing the Skills for Adolescence program to address topics such as entering adolescence, developing self-confidence, managing emotions in a positive way, strengthening interpersonal relationships, and learning through service.

By building resiliency in youth, Lions Quest prevents and/or delays the onset of drug use among adolescents. With the help of Lions around the world, more than 19,000,000 children have benefited from Lions Quest.

A Sobering Reality


In early adolescence, when children advance from primary to secondary school, they face new and challenging social and academic situations.

  • The teenage brain is still developing and especially vulnerable to substance use. The earlier substance use starts, the bigger is the risk of it leading to substance use disorder1.
  • Harmful drinking among young people is an increasing concern in many countries. Alcohol use starts at a young age: 14% of adolescent girls and 18% of boys aged 13–15 years in low- and middle-income countries reportedly use alcohol2.
  • Lack of a good education and poor classroom management set the stage for lower levels of cognitive functioning, poor social skills, high levels of stress, and high levels of perceptions of inadequacy and failure, each of which is implicated in risk of substance use3.

Building Healthy Communities


In 2015, UN Member States adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change. LCIF’s and UNODC’s joint collaboration on Lions Quest works toward realizing Goal 3: to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages, by tackling Target 3.5 to “strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol.”

Leading the Global Charge


As a result of the Lions-UNODC partnership, LCIF has granted more than US$1.4 million to pilot Lions Quest in Serbia, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Ivory Coast; UNODC has mobilized a similar amount. Together, the two organizations disseminated the data collected from the project at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the World Drug Problem in 2016. One outcome of the session was a recommendation to “increase the availability, coverage and quality of scientific evidence-based prevention measures and tools that target relevant age and risk groups in multiple settings” such as Lions Quest.

As a result of the partnership, Lions Quest has positively impacted more than 10,000 students, 500 teachers, and 200 schools. Projects are ongoing in communities across all eight countries. To date, 20% of all schoolchildren have been reached in Montenegro alone!

(1) UNDOC, 2014(2) WHO, Fact Sheet on Adolescent health, 2015(3) UNODC, page 32

Proven Results

Lions Quest students have reported statistically significant reductions in substance use. Results were published in, “Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence Program as a School Intervention to Prevent Substance Use—a Pilot Study Across Three South East European Countries” in Prevention Science.

Expanding to West Africa

In December 2019, LCIF and UNODC expanded partnership efforts to West Africa. In collaboration with the Ivoirian Ministry of Education and the local Lions clubs, LCIF is piloting Lions Quest in 20 schools in Côte d'Ivoire that will provide crucial feedback for regional expansion.

Presenting on the Global Stage

In March 2020, LCIF and UNODC jointly organized a side-event at the 63rd session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs. The global event has served as a platform for promoting the effective drug demand reduction initiative achieved through Lions Quest for the past five years.