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5th World Forum Against Drugs

 

The 5th World Forum Against Drugs is planned to take plcae in Vienna, Austria on March 12-13, 2016! 

2016 is a special year in international drug policy. The UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the world drug problem will be hosted on April 19-21. This is the biggest meeting on the world drug problem in almost 20 years. Member states and the civil society begun the preparation for the UNGASS meeting already in 2012.

WFAD plans to host the 5th World Forum Against Drugs before the start of the 59th CND meeting and we will invite all our members to the Forum, so please save the date for this important meeting!

The aim of the Forum will be two folded; to share the knowledge and experience of member organization together with new knowledge and experience in from researchers; and to gather the best practices to also be put forward to the member states at the CND meeting. The CND meeting will be one of the last opportunitites to influence member states before the UNGASS meeting.
 
More information will come about practical details around the Forum and also more detailed program.
 
If you have any questions or input for the Forum please contact Linda Nilsson

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Your experience is essential in the UNGASS preparatory process. The Survey on Youth is part of the global civil society consultation for UNGASS 2016. We want to voice the opinions of young people, and assess civil society work worldwide, related to youth and drugs. You can reply to the survey either as an individual or an organization.

Your input will provide the Civil Society Task Force with invaluable information to bring to global policy makers at the United Nations, for the UNGASS preparation and beyond. You can access the survey through this link:
https://ungasscstf.typeform.com/to/chdS8x

If you have questions or want to know more about the voice of the young people in the UNGASS process, please contact the youth representative in the Civil Society Task Force, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it from Active - Sobriety, Friendship, Peace.

More information about the UNGASS process can be found here, and here you can find more information about the involvement of the Civil Society in the process.

 

The following resolution was adopted at the closing ceremony of the 17th Congress of Addiction, hosted by Centros de Integración de Juvenil and World Federation Against Drugs.  


1. Nowadays, the participation of the organized civil society is strategic to frame broad impact public policies that favor global wellbeing.

2. Our children and youth have the right to grow up in a drug-free environment, where they can achieve their full potential.

3. We defend the Article 33 of the Convention of the Rights of the Child to protect childhood from drug-abuse:

"States Parties shall take all appropriate measures, including legislative, administrative, social and educational measures, to protect children from the illicit use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances as defined in the relevant international treaties, and to prevent the use of children in the illicit production and trafficking of such substances."


4. Drug-abuse is a global problem that harms millions and unbalance families, the foundation of sound communities and nations. Civil society has the right to rely on itself and its government work for a drug-free environment

5. The essence of drug policies should be health safeguarding and to contribute to the development of safe community environments, impervious to illegal drug supply.

6. Social development, democratic improvement, and equality should be the basis of far-reaching policies in terms of its effects and permanency.

On road to UNGASS 2016, we declare our commitment to:

Discuss the current drug-audit global system while affirming the key objectives of international conventions.

Drive scientific debates in relation to drugs, where the main objective is to preserve community health, and particularly that of children and youth, the most-at-risk population.

Foster in every country the respect for human rights for users and non-users alike, as well as the right to health and social insertion.

Avoid stigmatization of substance users. Instead, strengthen their way back to society.

Favor in each legislation laws made to ponder the proportionality in sentencing for drug possession.

Settle options of alternative justice to support the social reintegration of people that have committed drug crimes.

Have influence upon the governments so that they strengthen civil programs focused on prevention, treatment and social reintegration, as well as on the training of professionals that deal with its assistance and study. 3

Close the existent budget gaps between the programs oriented to fight drug supply and those directed to drug demand reduction.

Raise governments, civil society and community’s awareness of the fact that accessibility to work, education, culture, and amusement are the best basis against drug consumption and trafficking.

Inform governments, civil society, mass media, social media and community about the risks of legalizing drugs.

For all of the above reasons, it is thus essential to set up a new institutional network, where the same principles are shared, working to counter legalization of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, and whose main objective is to gain a greater impact, continental in scope, and favoring social welfare and that of childhood and youth particularly.

Dear civil society representatives,

The United Nations General Assembly Special Session, UNGASS, on the world drug problem will be held on 19-21 April 2016. This is the most important meeting around drugs at international level in 20 years. I am writing to you to ask for you expertise in your prevention work as an input to the UNGASS meeting.

In order to include the views and work of civil society, a Civil Society Task Force (CSTF) has been created.  The CSTF acts as official liaison between the United Nations and civil society in the preparatory process of and at the UNGASS.  The objective of the CSTF is to ensure a comprehensive, structured, meaningful and balanced participation of civil society in this process.

The CSTF consists of 31 members representing regions in the world, affected populations and global voices. I represent the global voice of prevention and this is the reason why I am writing to you. I am interested in collecting the voices of civil society around prevention. In particular, I am interested in knowing (i) your best practices and ideas on how to prevent illicit drug use and (ii) your views on global drug policies.
The UNGASS will be structured in five different thematic areas:
  1. Drugs and health;
  2. Drugs and crime;
  3. Human rights, women, children and communities;
  4. New challenges, threats and realities in addressing the world drug problem;
  5. Drugs and (alternative) development.
You are invited to share your input with me along these thematic areas and/or the lines below:
  • What works in prevention and where do you see room for improvement;
  • What do we know and where do we need more knowledge;
  • Innovating ideas;
  • Drug policies and their implementation;
  • Your expectations from UNGASS and beyond.
I also ask you to share descriptions of your prevention models if possible. I aim to add all the models/descriptions/manuals around prevention to the report as an appendix. This will be an important input to the UNGASS process.
Please also remember to state the name and region of your organization and send me ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) your reply by December 1. 
 
Sincerely,
 
Linda Nilsson
Secretary General, World Federation Against Drugs
Member of Civil Society Task Force, representing prevention
Phone: +46705734259
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Skype: rns_linda
DECLARATION ON THE RIGHTS OF MOST AT RISK CHILDREN TO THE FORTHCOMING  UNITED NATION GENERAL ASSEMBLY SPECIAL SESSION (UNGASS) ON THE WORLD DRUG PROBLEM IN NEW YORK 2016

Definition


Most at risk Child: Any child who stands the risk of being exposed to Narcotics as per UNCRC definition, which states that; “States Parties shall take all appropriate measures, including legislative, administrative, social and educational measures, to protect children from the illicit use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances as defined in the relevant international treaties, and to prevent the use of children in the illicit production and trafficking of such substances”. More so street children and children living in the rural and poor urban settlements

We, the children gathered today for the children convention on illicit drugs on 26th of September 2015 In Nairobi, Kenya do declare as follows:
  1. Taking note of the principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 44/25 of 20 November 1989 entry into force 2 September 1990, in accordance with article 49 that children are protected from illicit drug through all means to ensure global Drug- free goal in both prevention and treatment. 

  2. Affirming that most at risk children are equal to all other children and state parties should ensure that they recognize and protect them from all sorts of illicit use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances as stated in article 33 of the United Nation children right convention, and to be respected as such like any other child. This shall mean that the ambition shall be a drug free environment also for children at risk, in line with Article 33.

  3. Guided by the purposes and principles of the United Nation Children right Convention, and UNICEF’s child protection policy from 2008, and commitment by state parties in the fulfillment of the obligations in accordance with the Convention, commit not to allow legalization (occasionally referred to as decriminalization) of possession of drugs for personal use, as the net effect of such sanctions is often harmful to society more so children and especially most at risk, and if allowed by state parties will lead to breaching of the UN drug conventions, by facilitating illicit drug use among first world citizens at the expense of a drug free environment for children there, as well as an increased risk that third world children will be recruited for illicit production and trafficking, described in ILO Convention 182 as among the worst forms of child labour.

  4. Convinced that Article 33 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, is the only core UN human rights convention that capture illicit drugs and need not to be changed as there is no mistake in the meaning and intention of CRC Article 33. 

  5. Affirming also that all children more so most at risk if protected from Narcotics will contribute to the wellness, diversity and richness of cultures, which constitute the common bond and growth of many societies globally,

  6. Affirming further that all United Nations state parties should come up with doctrines, policies and practices based on or advocating priority attention to children’s rights as per CRC in policy making, including drug policy, as per CRC Article 3, particularly considering that those at risk are protected from illicit use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances

  7. Recognizing the urgent need by state parties to respect and promote the right of children and remain committed to so without allowing political, economic and social structures influence from their cultures, spiritual traditions, histories and philosophies, 

  8. Recognizing also the urgent need by state parties to respect and promote the right of children from drugs by ensuring they have an affirmative and essential right to drug-free childhoods as stated in treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements with other States and international bodies,

  9. Reaffirming that children more so the most at risk, in the exercise of their rights, should be free from discrimination of any kind, thus the need by state parties to take appropriate measures to keep them free through all means from illicit drugs.

  10. Recognizing in particular that there is no any convention that allows nonmedical and recreational use of illicit drugs as a protected lifestyle choice, state parties should commit not to come up with any convention that will allow this

  11. Emphasizing that undefined concepts such as “war on drugs”, “harm reduction”, “de-criminalization” etc shall be left without attention until these have been defined..

  12. Welcoming the fact that international drug policy debates at the moment in the world should change focus more to children than Adult since they have been overshadowed by the moral and legal obligation to protect them from drugs more so those at risk since Drug use most commonly starts in adolescence.

  13. Emphasizing that the United Nations should urge their international partners and donors to avail more funding to Fund practical implications on drug policy, advocacy and lobby to children more so those at risk, and avoid employing celebrities with a record of drug transgressions as Goodwill Ambassadors.

 



 

The book, ‘Chasing the Scream’ by Johann Hari, is being promoted world-wide by a strong pro-drug lobby. This article is a snapshot of a more detailed critique being published in the ‘Quadrant’ in November. Those who have the health and well-being of our communities (and especially our emerging generations) will do well to read this and the complete article. They will then be better positioned to judge for themselves the best course of future action we need to take to prevent illicit drugs from spreading.

Some quotes from the Critique article are:

“Hari’s approach is not limited to the underhanded titling all illicit drug policy ‘a war on drugs’, but rather a far more explicit, creative rewriting of drug policy history, manufacturing an illusion that the historic international agreements prohibiting the recreational use of opium, heroin and cocaine in 1912 and of cannabis in 1925 are really all the work of one dishonest US bureaucrat, Harry Anslinger. 

That Anslinger led the US Federal Bureau of Narcotics from 1930 through to 1962, commencing years after these agreements were established, does not deter Hari from rearranging history to suit his thesis that ‘Anslinger treacherously beguiled and bewitched the entire world into prohibiting the very drugs which Hari believes are largely beneficial with significantly less harm than alcohol or tobacco’.

To make this thesis work Hari has to creatively unhinge his creative assertions from verifiable fact, fact that is eminently verifiable (given every Anslinger file from his 32 years at the Bureau is still archived at Pennsylvania State University). 

Hari’s treatment of Anslinger commences with, “From the moment he took charge of the bureau, Harry was aware of the weakness of his new position.  A war on narcotics alone—cocaine and heroin, outlawed in 1914—wasn’t enough.  They were used only by a tiny minority, and you couldn’t keep an entire department alive on such small crumbs.  He needed more.” 

Such a creative rearrangement of history ignores the fact that Anslinger, when commencing his work in 1930 at the Bureau, did everything he could to avoid the public hue and cry led by various newspapers and legislators in the Southwest regarding the use and effects of marijuana.  Anslinger maintained that cannabis was not being imported as was opium or cocaine, but rather domestically grown, and should therefore be controlled by each State rather than the Federal Government’s 1914 Harrison Act.  It was not until 1937 that Anslinger begrudgingly acceded to pressure, a very different reality to Hari’s inversion of facts to suit his emotionally appealing but fanciful polemic which carefully avoids the reality of how and why these prohibitions were initially instituted.

Along with previous legalisation apologists, Hari ridicules Anslinger’s views concerning cannabis harms, particularly his promotion of cannabis as a cause of drug-related violence and madness.  Despite the lampooning of the lobby there is now a copious science indicating a dose-response relationship between cannabis and psychosis with a February 2015 Lancet study finding that daily users of high THC cannabis have a fivefold risk of psychosis.  Previous studies had indicated a doubling of psychosis risk from lower THC cannabis use. 

Studies in 2003 by Niveau & Dang and in 2007 by Howard & Menkes have investigated the effect of cannabis on a particular neural mechanism controlling impulse and found a connection with violence and aggression.  It stands to reason that the lowering of inhibitions via intoxication will create a greater expression of violence in those so predisposed, whether by alcohol or cannabis.  In the Geneva Convention discussions of 1925, the Egyptian delegate M. El Guindy implored the prohibiting of cannabis on the basis of ‘madness’ associated with its use, but also that its intoxication ‘takes a violent form in persons of violent character.’   Contrary to Hari’s assertions, Anslinger was never alone in linking violence and madness with cannabis use and modern science exposes Hari’s scorn. 

There are significant lessons that can be drawn from the elevated use of drugs due to their legality.  Clearly, a society can ill-afford any drug use becoming entrenched since reversing widespread use and acceptance comes at an exorbitant cost.  Also, our experience with tobacco teaches that educating the public about its real harms has inevitably caused an increased disapproval of tobacco users, which has been a factor in reducing use.  Hari appears to recognise this when he states that ‘As a result of this policy where tobacco is legal but increasingly socially disapproved of, cigarette smoking has fallen dramatically.”  He fails to recognise the contradiction, though, between the positive impact of what is effectively a stigmatisation of tobacco users, and his advocacy for the removal of any stigma from illicit drug use.  Little does he seem to recognise as an apologist for illicit drugs that there inevitably will be a stigma on any activity that presents gratuitous harms to any community, and it is a stigmatisation which works to stifle recruitment of new users and the further expansion of drug use.  Hari cannot have it both ways.

There is another lesson to be drawn from tobacco use where the harms have been advertised and are so well known.  Despite the millions put into prevention and education, the uptake by teens and early-twenty year olds of such a senseless habit still continues.  With no more glamorous advertising to sell the product, tobacco companies still continue due to current users recruiting new users.  All this with a legal product as irrational as heroin.  It is therefore not the prohibition of the illicit drugs that chiefly drives their expansion, as Hari alleges, because as with tobacco, users recruit new users for reasons other than supporting their own habit”. 

Jo Baxter 
Vice President World Federation Against Drugs
Executive Director, Drug Free Australia 

No to Legalization and more focus on prevention strategies and programs in West Africa 

The First West African Forum on Drugs took place in Lagos, Nigeria on July 8-10 and gathered över 60 participants from Nigeria and neibouring countries. The theme of the conference was "Mainstreaming Health and Child-Right Concerns in Substance Abuse Policy, Planning and Programming in West Africa". 

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The invited speakers that presented on the theme came form civil society organizations, UNODC and governmental officials. 

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The conclusions form the Forum was presented in a communique. The communique expressed concern over the trends and efforts of some persons and organizations in the region to legalize som substances that are now classified as illegal for non-medical use. The Communique also highlighted the need to develop prevention strategies and programs in the region. The whole communique can be found here

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This year, for 26 June, the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, Preporod celebrates nine years since it was formed. For its ninth birthday, in cooperation with the Ćano Koprivica Foundation, Preporod is advertising the:

ANTI DOP AMBASADOR 2015

for individuals, media, government institutions, associations and non-government organisations – which have contributed to the fight against abuse of psychoactive substances in the most effective or notable way.

The aim of the competition is to recognise, acknowledge and publicly encourage individuals, the media, institutions, associations and NGOs that give an example to others with their work and actions, and set standards which should be aimed for in fighting against abuse of psychoactive substances. At the same time, the aim is the reduction of stigmatisation and discrimination, as well the promotion of solidarity, acceptance of difference and taking responsibility. A no-less-important aim is to highlight the importance of this fight, bearing in mind that drug-abuse is a problem that touches everyone of us and is sometimes called the "21st century plague".

Read more on http://preporod.me/index.php?lang=mn

In the period from 26th June,2014  till today NGO Preporod was the address where nearly 100 people from all over Montenegro soak for help in different services that Preporod offers.

We will continue to look for the best solutions and methods in order to influence the reduction of the number of addicts and have impact on our society to be healthier. It is important to be conscientious and aware and to act in that way without prejudices and with clear understanding that our acting is never neutral, even our non-acting leads to extension of state as it shouldn’t be. To those that are affected by the disease help and care are necessary not only today, when everyone speaks about that, but every day.

Thanks to everyone who has in any way influenced that our struggle become successful and helped Preporod to be positioned where it is now.

Let’s go on!
Call for participatnts 

WFAD and People Against Drug Dependency & Ignorance are inviting NGOs in the West African region to the 1st West African Forum on Drugs!

The conference will take place in Lagos Nigeria the 8th - 10th of July 2015. We are inviting interested Civil Society Organizations working in the areas of Drug Demand Reduction programs across the West African sub-region to register interest for the confrerence. The theme of the conference is: Mainstreaming Health and Child-Right Concerns in Substance Abuse Policy, Planning and Programming in West Africa.

To enhance interaction between NGOs/CSOs and stakeholder in the field of Drug abuse issues, the Forum will also invite representatives of relevant professional bodies and public sector Policy administrators and formulators in the Drug control issues. The West African Forum on Drugs, will also serve as an opportunity to urge greater CSO/NGO involvement in the forthcoming United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the Worlds Drug Problems (UNGASS 2016).

For more details around the conference please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it (+234-8152677926) Director of People Against Drugs Dependency & Ignorance and board member of WFAD.  MG 5122
On the plane to Vienna my mind was full of expectation especially in my prevention work, Bundle of joy through the stream of my blood vessels with high expectation in my heart that there is something good for my work through the 58th Commission on Narcotic Drugs and preparation for the forth coming UNGASS.

Moments of reflection before my landing knocked hard at back of my brain and I thought hard about the voices of the poor voiceless young children I work with through Vienna Forums, they shared their expectations that they would love the world to know and be taken for consideration in the forth coming UNGASS. I checked on my note book to review what they shared with me, I asked myself how will it be possible for people to acknowledge the little known grass root and voiceless organization coming from the rubbish and neglected part of the world, this left me in dilemma.

I checked into my Hotel in Vienna, my mind was still troubled about where am going and I was so eager to step a foot into the United Nations building especially the one related to my work, Narcotics. This was a dream come true, from a chilly, freezing weather, ultra modern train to tight security check up, I made my way into the warm, nice and welcoming environment of UNODC.

Made my way to the general Assembly where the official opening was taking place, took some photos and shared with my friends and street children I work with back home that I have reached Vienna International Center the Headquarter of UNODC and their message will be delivered, messages of joy and best wishes come through.

My first assignment was being given a platform by Vienna NGO Committee to share our expectation at the forthcoming UNGASS; I knew this was my time, to deliver what I was sent to share with the world. When I saw my name printed and a chair reserved for me, I had several heat beats and to some extend I was nearly declining the offer but the inner push from the voices of this children gave me courage to move ahead and take the mantle to air their voices. It was a honor to sit in the platform to share the voices, but much was still ahead, many people encouraged me for the good work and urged me to keep the fire burning.

Walking into the side event organized by WOCAD and Koffi Annan Foundation I had too much expectation and knew something good would come out for the poor children globally more so Africa. Through the presentation made I knew there was hope especially when former president of Nigeria took to the stage. Through the speech I felt hit hard when he mentioned prevention has failed, this meant that my work in the streets with kids is in vain.

If my work was in vain, then why did drug cartel vandalize our offices in the slums? Why did drug cartel attack us and pushed us into forceful eviction from our place in the slums? They were losing and they recorded lose from our stand of telling children the truth and keeping them off from drugs and the only way to win us was to divide and separate us from the children I work with, so that they can spread fiction to children to buy their products, that cause more harm than good.

When this was running through my mind the former president was through with his presentation, I wanted an audience to tell him that prevention has not failed and ask him how they can protect poor grassroots organization like mine from the so called “big fish” who have not been feeling ok in our prevention work down in the slums of Korogocho and the entire world. I was bold and courageous to ask Mr. president my question adding that I come from the slums, which many people who come from similar background fear sharing, My question was answered but not to my satisfaction, this left me with question mark who will the poor children in the slums turn to for protection against Narcotics?

I thought I was the only offended in my prevention work and looking forward for the next day there were side events on prevention, I was eager to know and look at the best experience that I could take home. I attended the prevention side events and I knew there is hope for me and the people working in the field of prevention.

Attending side event organized by WFAD, IOGT and slum Child foundation was a great opportunity to share with the world how we have been hit hard by drug cartel who are for treatment not prevention, through the session I was able to know how legalization of marijuana has had effects in different parts of the world. Immediately I had a mental reflection of how things would look like in the slums if Marijuana could be made legal.

On Friday was my last day to be at the Vienna International Center, I thank God that I was selected to air the views of the grassroots organization through the platform of Market place to the world and I thank Michele Perron for the Idea and VNGOC / UNODC for implementing the idea and looking forward for the big launch next year during UNGASS. For me I thought such platform would be meant for big organization and small or grassroots organization would have no voice especially during big event such as the 58th CND and the forthcoming UNGASS.

Before I left Vienna I shared with colleagues from Africa to have a consortium of Organization working in the field of Narcotics so that we can have one united voice on matters related to subject of discussion and I have developed everything in place. Pan Africa Substance Abuse Consortium (PASAC) is rolling down, special thanks to UNODC, VNGOC, WFAD and others for making this happen.


By George Ochieng
Slum Child Foundation

2015-03-11 09.45.50

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