Activity

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

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‘Interview with a Partae Girl’ presents a candid and insightful interview with teenager Jenna, who reflects on her own journey with drugs. Jenna started smoking at age 14, and her drug use spiralled out of control over the coming years, with Jenna using increasing amounts of both legal and illegal drugs to cope with life.

Partae - Interview with a party girl
A STUDY GUIDE BY FIONA HALL
We young people are the losers if you legalize cannabis

Big business sees an opportunity to make money on cannabis legalization – they want to make profits while we, the young, and society at large will bear the real costs.

It has been claimed in the Swedish debate that the first step to achieve a sustainable drug policy is to have an open and objective debate. The Swedish Youth Temperance Organization, UNF, agree completely. We need a debate based on facts and a debate that also listens to young people.

We agree that there is no need to exaggerate the negative impacts of cannabis and it only lowers credibility when adults tell horror stories. Young people prefer reasonable arguments and evidence based information. For example one study of Meier et al. that followed over 1000 person for almost 40 years. It is one of several new studies that show that smoking cannabis while young will decrease several functions in the brain and will lower IQ. We need to listen to research, there is clear and solid evidence that cannabis can damage IQ and memory, impair motor skills and lead to addiction. The proven effects are foremost connected to the young brain. We are the ones with the most to lose if cannabis becomes legal and accepted in society.

As many cannabis advocates point to alcohol is a legal drug and is accepted as a natural part of life – sometimes also for the young. The benefit of legalization of cannabis is often argued by claiming that it will decrease the consumption of alcohol and other drugs, this is not true. UNF works daily to break the norm around alcohol and we struggle to make the adult world take responsibility so no adults provide alcohol to young people. No one is happier than UNF if we can discuss the negative impact of alcohol among young people and in society as a whole.

But trying to exchange one drug with another is doomed to fail. Surveys show that young people who smoke cannabis also drink more alcohol. The best way to protect youth from the harms of drugs in an evidence based way, as many in the debate claim they want, is to focus on low availability and high prices.

The idea that a restrictive drug policy is in conflict with humane and effective treatment is also wrong. A restrictive policy leads to fewer persons in addiction and more resources to help and treat those who need support from society. The ones who benefit from a legalization of cannabis are not the persons with addiction or the young. It is big companies and entrepreneurs who see the opportunity to make money on the cannabis industry. That is the reason why George Soros gives millions of US dollars to advocacy organizations to work for legalization in the US. They want to get the profit while the young and society will pay the price.

The creation of a legal industry around cannabis will not help people with addiction. But there is a lot more Sweden can do and UNF wants to be a part of the work for improved addiction treatment. We are convinced that our treatment centers will not have an easier task if there are more legal substances available and more people with addiction.

Young people like us are not naïve, and our voice should be heard in the debate on cannabis. The loud proponents of cannabis legalization are often young but the majority of young people see the risks with cannabis and want cannabis to stay illegal. In a Swedish survey only 14 percent of people under 30 answered that it should be legal to smoke cannabis.

Alcohol, cannabis and other drugs are vital issues for young and decriminalization and legalization is not the solution. A continued restrictive policy together with improved treatment and preventive measures are important initiatives supported by experience and research. Sweden as well as other countries can do more and we in UNF are willing to join and fight for this, together with as many young people as possible.

Malin Thorson

President, Swedish Youth Temperance Organization (UNF)

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On December 3, WFAD arranged the first regional conference in South Amerika.

Many South American countries are nowadays undergoing suffering and poverty because of problems related to drug production, increased use and trafficking. The Board of WFAD therefore decided that it would be important to have the first WFAD South American Conference in Buenos Aires with the aim to spread methods and knowledge around which interventions that work for a comprehensive drug policy.

A Coordinating Commission was established, headed by WFAD Board member Prof. Mina Seinfeld de Carakushansky, a Brazilian who was the first Special Secretary for the Prevention of Drug Addiction in the city of Rio de Janeiro. Prof. Seinfeld de Carakushansky has also been the International Coordinator of the Program Forging Leadership for Drug Demand Reduction in Latin America. Mina has been keeping frequent and close contact over more than 15 years with many Latin American organizations and individuals working with the same aim: educating families and official authorities regarding the perils to society caused by drug use, building a network of strong ties with many outstanding professionals and institutions of the continent.
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The knowledge generated and spread by some of those professionals and their institutions has made them renown in many countries of the American continent, from North to South. Dr. Juan Alberto Yaria, General Director and Dr. Roberto Baiestrocchi, both from GRADIVA, were the main articulators locally, with the help of some other members of the Commission such as Jose Luis Viale, Diana Gomez and Carlos Peres Ulloa.

The number of participants was limited to 250, among the many others who also desired to participate in this Conference. Two excellent auditoriums were provided, free of cost, by the Barcelo School of Medicine, with all the necessary equipment regarding sound, image, professional translators, and technicians to care for all that, as well as the coffee-breaks.

The event, in one day, Dec. 3, 2014, resulted in a very dense conference, from 8AM to 7PM, where the main speaker was WFAD’s president, Sven-Olov Carlsson, explaining clearly what is the world scene regarding drug issues nowadays and what are the main principles which the WFAD has set for dealing with this very important and urgent subject.

All other speakers were carefully chosen among professionals who are leaders in their specific field of work and are sensitive and strive for a world with no drug use.

Since time was so precious, each speaker had only about 10 minutes to deliver his/her message and main thoughts. With no false modesties, it can be said that those speakers, because of their clear understanding, scientific knowledge and experience in the field, represent la crème de la crème of his/her own field of work. As examples of this statement, can be highlighted names such as “Father Pepe”, a Catholic renown Argentinean priest who is the Head of the Pastoral de Drogas and an advisor to Pope Francisco (who is Argentinean). Padre Pepe works with huge portions of Argentinean youth population who live in the slums. He is an inspiration and an example of spiritual effective work. Other speakers included Presidents of Associations (from Medical, Business, Education, etc.)

Also worth of highlighting among all the participants are Congressman Aurelio Elorrio and Maria Rosa Marcone de Pagano, who head the political party in Cordoba called “Encuentro Vecinal” (Neighborhood Encounter) who are organizing many youth seminars to teach the younger generations the risks of drug use and form the leaders of tomorrow. Dr. Jorge Gentile, a Supreme Court Judge, also from Cordoba and the President of Instituto Maritain and a high level lawyer in the field of finances who is determined, together with other leaders, to tackle more seriously and effectively the problem of drug trafficking.

The enthusiasm of working together for a common cause instilled hope and optimism that together we are stronger than by ourselves.
The next day, in a closed coordination meeting with WFAD President, the coordination group decided to aim at having an even bigger event in 2015 and invite more international speakers.
The testimony below is from a person at the rehabilitation centre "Cenacle of the Son of Man", one of WFAD's member organizations. 

I was born 1980 with a clear mind and an angel heart as every child in this world. I lived a quite nice life under a free blue sky. Fifteen years passed in the blink of an eye full of excitement and ambition. In 1996 a girl came into my life and changed every dream and every thought in my daily agenda. At that time all I was thinking about was wake up every morning and see her beside me.
 

For her, I was simply a guy with needs. But she changed my life and turned it into unbearable hell. With her, I discovered marijuana for the first time iy life. She was so proud of herself, so proud of the life of addiction that she made a long term commitment with Lucifer and chose me to be her partner. I believed her and never realized that such an innocent and beautiful girl could act so badly with such an amount of lies.  

Few years later, in 2000 I went with her to a cocaine binge party at her friend. She soon disappeared.   A week later, I heard from a friend that she died from a drug overdose.  lost all my hope and my journey to hell began. Three years of struggle after her death, I decided to travel to Far East saying to myself that this could be a cure so my life would be back on track again. But I was wrong.  

There, I learned crack and speed and free base, the most dangerous drugs of them all which blacked out my mind and destroyed my life more than ever. Deep inside, I knew that this was wrong, I couldn’t trust myself anymore and always found a reason to escape by taking drugs. After all I was lying to myself with no sympathy. So I started praying every day and night asking God to release me from devil inside me but my prayers weren't answered. 

2007, I started my new business  and  succeeded to make good money but the problem I faced was how to keep all this money with drugs addiction possessing  my life and  pushing me to  lose the trust of my family and friends.  

Every night , I used to lay down on my bed and  hear myself saying silently: "I want to stop" from the bottom of my heart, then the voice of my other self, my bad self, said no and sometime me and my bad self used to have endless conversation, sometime  my good self won sometimes my bad self did. Life is so short, how can I live this desperate life with my family?  

Of course, I couldn’t let them catch me and they will never understand... How could they? The only way to make them understand is to tell them the truth but I couldn’t. 

I was living my life in the fast laneand it surely made me lose my mind and made me reach the last limits.  

Every day and every night I used to ask myself in bed and tried to imagine what it looks like to be normal? How can I change my life again? I can’t even remember when the last time I was normal. I was longing to have a normal life. I didn’t want anybody to know how different I was.  

27/8/2007 I was arrested for almost 28 days for drugs use.  What a nightmare! Years and years of struggle, I could not find my way to the light... Dark thoughts... Nightmares… Lies… It had been a long hard trip but after all I was alive praying every day. It is said that living is higher perfection than being, and understanding is higher than living. 20 years of drugs addiction and lies I didn’t gain anything from it. Moreover, I was losing all my friends and family members one after another.  

2013 I decided to stop so I took a real decision to change and have a good life, a new life just like a new born child. My father and mother sister and brother supported me and gave me   mental support, month after month from shrink to another but they unfortunately failed. Nevertheless, my prayer   didn’t stop and I was asking God desperately to help me. 

2014, I realized the truth that drugs are illusion and I could gain nothing from it. It was like a frightening dream somehow, I was alone... it was very dark... I grabbed through stifling blackness, trying to find a light but all I found was darkness.  Darkness and the sound of my own breathing, harder and harder as I was grabbed more and more madly through the darkness. 

Once, I heard myself saying: Lord is greater than I can see so I prayed to change my life forever and will never be afraid to close my eyes. It’s hard to know where you are going if you can’t know where you have been  

Here I am standing in front of you my friends and brother in life with my story  as a Muslim in a Christian  Rehabilitation Center where I feel no difference in treatment and believe. “St. John says: when God shall appear, we shall be like to him because we shall see him as he is.” If you wish to attain to his likening to God in our heavenly country you must take pains to be linked to him in good works here on earth: Jesus Christ came to send peace upon earth. “Thomas Aquinas writer 

And I feel that I was recovered from my thoughts and my daily life and I have new vision in life from my experience. I think it is enough to look forward and begin to live for tomorrow and save my soul before it is too late. 

 
World Federation Against Drugs will participate in a high-level meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina on December 3, 2014. The International President, Sven-Olov Carlson, will be the central figure at the high-level meeting at the Barceló University on drug prevention, treatment and enforcement, leading professionals from Argentina, Brazil and several other South American countries will also participate. 

A round table will open the event where the region's main problems regarding drugs and their possible solutions will be presented. Among the speakers will be Professor Mina Seinfeld de Carakushansky, WFAD Board member and President of BRAHA - Brazilian Humanitarians in Action; Calvina Fay, Executive Director of DFAF - Drug Free America Foundation; Jorge Jaber, President of ABRAD - Brazilian Association on Alcohol and Drugs; Jorge Gentile, renown Argentinean Judge and author; Neuza Amaral, Drug Prevention Secretary of Volta Redonda, Brazil; as well as the local Coordinators of the event including Juan Alberto Yaria, Director of Gradiva and Roberto Baiestrocchi of Barceló University; Claudio and Luis Viale from Mariten Foundation; and Diana Gomez, in addition to many other high representatives from universities, religious, political, social and family associations.

For more information contact WFAD board member This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Thank you Ambassador Shaama.

Distinguished Representatives of the members states,

Colleagues form the NGO sector,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I speak on behalf of San Patrignano, World Federation Against Drugs, European Cities Against Drugs, European Action on Drugs, Drug Policy Futures and Recovered Users Network

We welcome the support of the member states to a meaningful and inclusive participation of the Civil Society in the preparation for the special session of the General Assembly on the world drug problem to be held in 2016.

We congratulate the Chair for the non-paper on the thematic discussions that should be addressed at the UNGASS meeting, and in this regard we would like to highlight the following thematic areas that we believe should be addressed by the member states with special attention:

-          Drug prevention

-          Recovery oriented treatment, including effective social reintegration

-          Enhanced cooperation between the Criminal Justice system and the Health system, Alternative sanctions empowering people to become drug-free, crime-free and integrated members of society

We would like to have the broad spectrum of civil society represented in the discussions we therefore support the creation of the Civil Society Task Force and we look forward to contribute to the Task Force.

In summery we put forward the following principles as an input to the UNGASS preparations:

-          Drug policies should prevent initiation of drug use.

-          Drug policies must respect human rights, for users and non-users alike, as well as the principle of proportionality.

-          Drug policies should strike a balance of efforts to reduce the use of drugs and the supply of drugs.

-          Drug policies should protect children from drug use.

-          Drug policies should ensure access to medical help, treatment and recovery services.

-          Drug policies should ensure access to controlled drugs for legitimate scientific and medical purposes.

-          Drug policies should ensure that medical and judicial responses are coordinated with the goal of reducing drug use and drug-related consequences.

All the above mentioned points are to be considered in full respect of the existing UN drug conventions, which we fully support in their current form.

Thank you for your attention! 

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