Written by Linda Nilsson
Wednesday, 19 October 2016 15:46
The Consolidated Youth for Peace & Development (COYPED) a registered non-for-profit youth-led organization has made the latest call for sustainable rehabilitation program for war affected and disadvantaged youth who are substance users in Liberia.
Speaking recently in an exclusive interview with SKY Television and SKY FM Radio, the Executive Director of the Consolidated Youth for Peace & Development, James Koryor stressed that the current initiative by the Liberian Government through the Liberia National Police to get substance users off the streets especially many of whom are engage into daily street crimes in the nation capital is laudable and must be sustained.
Mr. Koryor used the occasion to call on relevant institutions of government to institute sustainable program that would focus firstly on rehabilitation as a means of providing other services like technical skills to enable those substance users to become useful citizens.
The COYPED Boss furthered stated that the current alcohol and drug addiction situation in the country is alarming and needs attention by all stakeholders including civil society organizations stressing that over 75% of substance users in Liberia are young people who if much attention is not given to could be a serious problem in the future.
The youth advocate also stated that there are lots of circumstances surrounding the increase in drug abuse in Liberia including the 14 years civil war and illicit drug trafficking that can be considered as major reasons.
Mr. Koryor stressed that there is an urgent need to address the current drug abuse crisis in Liberia ranging from enforcement of strong laws for drug traffickers and smugglers, providing rehabilitation opportunities, care and support for substance users who are victims of the situation. The lack or limited rehabilitation facilities in the country is considered as a real obstacle to achieving a sustainable rehabilitation program for substance users in Liberia he asserted.
The COYPED Executive Director also inform the media that his organization over the years has been working and focusing on prevention but he believes that it is time that COYPED institute a program that will provide care and support for substance users through the establishment of a safe home and rehabilitation center. He also called on the Ministry of Youth & Sports, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection as well as key stakeholder to support his organization new initiative.
He further stated that he will also solicited support both materials and financial form philanthropists and charity organizations abroad to ensure that war affected youth who are substance users and homeless are supported and care for in Liberia.
Written by Linda Nilsson
Thursday, 13 October 2016 14:56
One of WFAD's member organization, Swedish Narcotics Officers Association was invited to share their input on the implementation of the outcome document form UNGASS in Vienna, October 11.
Thank you Mr Chairman,
My name is Mika Jörnelius and I work as a police officer in Sweden and I am here to represent Swedish Narcotic Officers Association. SNOA.
Within the board of the SNOA, we have a total of 430 years’ experience working in the judiciary system. We have 2 100 members from police, customs, prosecutor’s office and from our national forensic laboratory.
We are consultative body in drug issues for the Swedish government
Every year SNOA inform and educate 4 -5 000 students, civilians and Law enforcement officers in different drug issues.
Law Enforcement plays an integral role in drug use prevention by protecting public safety, reducing the availability of drugs and discouraging drug use in the population. Law enforcement also take on the role of bridging the gap to the Health sector and social services and therefore serve as an engine for recovery for addicts. Several long and short term projects have been conducted in high intensive drug trafficking areas. These project with different authorities and bodies in society, works very focused and determined together. These project has shown to give the best sufficient results. Projects of that kind are very well documented and shows that it will be a quick visible change even during an increase and up going trend of both supply and demand for drugs.
In the law enforcement society around the world it is obvious that this common approach is the best practise and we are surprised and disappointed that this knowledge and approach has not reached the politicians in such an extend so new policies will be adopted. The UNGASS outcome document offers a wide range of areas to improve supply reduction measures.
SNOA is ready and will support projects to expand the use of smarter sanctions such as drug courts, as alternatives to incarceration in more European countries. At the same time, as we know and are certain of, it`s the trafficking of drugs that is the most important catalyst heating up the all kinds of crimes!
Criminals and their organisations earn too much money on behalf of other humans suffering. To address serious organized crime, it`s important to encourage the use of asset recovery to cripple criminal player’s incentives to commit serious and organized crime. Recovered assets should not necessary fall into the hands of the law enforcement but rather be used by civil society for prevention or treatment purposes.
SNOA has together with partners and colleagues in similar organisations in the US, closely followed the development of legalizing marijuana in different states. It`s a fact that the legalizers success is based on false reports together with a strong financial support from those who see possibility to earn a lot of money on people using drugs. The results from medical research has not been taken under consideration before the decisions to legalize. It`s already possible to see the tragic consequences of that experiment. Mexican cartels are earning more money than ever because some US states have legalized marijuana. In Colorado has the marijuana-related traffic deaths increased 48 percent. A billion-dollar industry similar to Big Tobacco Company is established. It is about time to recognize the very good achievements from law enforcement in the struggle to supress the drug problems.
Law enforcement have really made a difference in regards to both supply and demand of drugs. Officers around the world often meets and communicate with drug addicts on a daily basis in all kind of environments. In many cases the officers are the only persons they can turn to. How many addicts has not been motivated and helped to rehab, assisted by officers on their beat?
So far we have a great amount of public support. In Sweden and worldwide nine out of ten people have the same opinion; illegal drugs are bad.
The International Conventions on drugs and International agreement on cooperation are basic. This international cooperation is essential to combat serious cross-border crimes. But the laws, regulations and policies must correspond with the police resources when it comes to human resources and training.
Law enforcement must and can play an important role but not in solitary. If we are serious of reaching results and creating a better future for our young ones we must get together and find ways to work and act together during long time in able to reach sufficient and long lasting effects. The common goal should be to have a society without illegal drugs.
The keywords are prevention, prosecution and improved care initiatives
Written by Linda Nilsson
Friday, 16 September 2016 11:55
Special Issue on Addiction and Substance Abuse – Science Journal of Public Health (SJPH)
Lead Guest Editor - Ikenna Molobe, Co-founder/Director, Unified Initiative for a Drug-Free Nigeria (UIFDFN)
Drug and substance abuse is a global health problem. The global situation of drug abuse reveals that the problem has become a major source of concern. The dearth of research in drug abuse and addiction is also a major source of concern. More especially there is lack of facts and finding in Africa and Nigeria in particular. The solution to drug situation cannot be achieved without research. Studies on issues of drugs and addiction are most neglected. Likewise, some research has been conducted but has not been accessed or made available to the public due to lack of publishing. In order to promote publication and access to researches on the issues of drugs and addiction, Mr. Ikenna Molobe, the Co-founder and Director of Unified Initiative for a Drug-Free Nigeria (UIFDFN) proposed a special issue research publication project on Addiction and Substance Abuse under the Science Journal of Public Health (SJPH) of the Science Publishing Group (SPG) USA. This project he implemented on the approval of his proposal and as the Lead Guest Editor of the Special Issue on Addiction and Substance Abuse, carried out the responsibility for inviting papers submissions, the reviews and quality of the whole Special Issue. The special issue was advertised through social media and drug abuse coalition networks around the world for a 6 months period, and web portal was opened for researchers to submit their work which passed through a professional peer review process for acceptance. Respectable scholars around the globe were also invited as Guest Editors for review process and advisory for review papers. The key objective of this project is to improve prevention, rehabilitation and treatment methodology through advanced research where original research papers are solicited in any aspect of innovative approach and findings as it relates to drug use and addiction. The published papers will also back facts and findings to support review of policies and implementation of interventions. The published papers have received many views which can be accessed on the following link: http://membership.sciencepublishinggroup.com/specialissue/specialissueinfo?specialissueid=251022&journalid=251
The Lead Guest Editor’s research paper on Sexual Behaviour and Abuse of Drugs among Urban Teenagers in Lagos was also part of the published papers in the special edition. The publishing project is expected to continue in editions as part of the initiative of the Ikenna Molobe, the co-founder/Director of Unified Initiative for a Drug-Free Nigeria (UIFDFN) in partnership with Science Journal of Public Health (SJPH) to encourage more research and publication on drugs and substance abuse.
Written by Linda Nilsson
Friday, 16 September 2016 11:11
Nairobi 2016 AidEx Confrerence
The conference was held between on 14th -15th at the Safari Park hotel. The meeting brought together representatives of the donor community, governmental, international non-governmental and local organizations. The theme was Localization and how local actors in the humanitarian sector can be more engaged in decision making as well as running their community led initiatives. Soberlife Mentorship Society was invited to the meeting due to the organization’s extensive outreach especially to the vulnerable youths, marginalized regions and very poor communities in Kenya, all done through volunteer basis.
During Interactive and Partnerships Sessions, Soberlife shared its networking experience with WFAD which is keen on bringing small organizations into the lime-light by organizing and supporting Networking platforms where they can share their initiatives, successes and challenges and how they can address them through a united front.
This is way that donors as well as international organizations can support start-up initiatives to realize greater impacts in the society and hence achieve Localization and community empowerment.
Continuing Outreaches by Soberlife Drug abuse still remains a real emerging threat among the youth today. Kenya is one of the most at risk countries in terms of production and consumption of many drugs of abuse such as alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and of late, khat commonly known as miraa as well as Sheesha, a flavoured tobacco product. Consumption in Kenya is known to be more than the rest of East African countries combined. The country has also been mapped out as a key transit and destination point of hard drugs including heroin and cocaine. Soberlife has continued to carry out its prevention, awareness and mentorship sessions all over Kenya with a special focus to the vulnerable groups especially the youth.
Written by Linda Nilsson
Tuesday, 29 March 2016 11:02
At the 59th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs WFAD arranged, together with Active, Uganda Youth Development Link and African Youth Initiative on Crime Prevention, a side event called: Voices from the youth - protect the future. The event aimed to bring African Youth Voices to the CND to show effective prevention models and how NGOs are working to protect children in accordance with the Rights of the Child to be protected against illicit drugs. Below you can find the statement form Brother Paul Mburu form the organization Soberlife Mentorship Society, an organization working in the slums of Nairobi, given at the side event.
Ladies and Gentlemen, greetings this afternoon,
It is my honour to present my humble contribution to this side event today. My presence here was made possible by the World Federation against Drugs and I thank Linda here on behalf of the organization. My name is Brother Paul as I am usually identified in the communities where I work. I represent a small grass-root initiative called the Soberlife Mentorship Society based in Nairobi Kenya.
Before I give my submission, I wish to share in this forum a portion of my life which is the basis of my contribution in this session.
2016 is a highlight year for me. It marks exactly ten years since I last smoked the last marijuana roll, mixed with lethally intoxicating liquors. For the decade I had been in addiction, this is a summary of what I went through:
Running away from home due to conflicts with the family
Wasting six full years of education between high school and college
Engaging in crime and peddling with friends some of whom died or were banished in prisons. I too was remanded but later given a pardon.
Continuous use led to extreme health effects including mild tuberculosis, hallucinations and dread. Some of the effects still linger today.
Due to the emptiness within me and a search for identity, I joined the Nyahyabingi Rastafarian Movement whose paradise is in Shashamane Ethiopia. I reared dreadlocks in accordance to the requirements and also increased consumption of weed.
Finally, when everything failed to give the liberty from the chains of addiction and the risks I was exposed to, I decided to end my life on the 10th of August 2006 through poison ingestion.
I believe I did not die but have lived to tell this forum the great calamity haunting your sons, daughters, brothers, sisters and humanity at large. While listening to the many presentations going on in the greater Conference, it seems there is a deliberate attempt to pull the people of this world and youth in particular into opinions and lifestyles that are absolutely contrary to their needs.
Within the Kenyan context there are four major issues which I will share as being most important. This was also presented to the CSTF regional meeting which was held in Nairobi and was purely based on the social, economic and cultural realities of our region.
Comprehensive prevention initiatives to be formulated and implemented targeting the pre teenage, teenage and early youth groups, the population at the highest risk of initiation or those in the early initiation into drugs. Primary prevention remains and will remain the only sure way of dealing with drugs. We stand for complete harm deterrence through prevention against the so-called harm reduction which we know does not reduce any harm. It is a means of more harm generation through encouraging ‘clean methods’ for drug users to ensure sustainability of their habits. Offering clean syringes for instance does not make injection drugs clean. And more so, in the African reality, HIV/AIDS is more than 70% spread through risky sexual behaviours and not shared syringes use.
Treatment and comprehensive rehabilitation for those already affected by the habit. In this perspective, CSOs to advocate to their respective governments to establish affordable rehabilitation facilities or work with private institutions to ensure services are accessible to all. This should be expanded to hospitals, prisons and juvenile centres where most of the users are found. These should be made corrective centres that can help bring a behaviour change to those who are affected. Clear punishment should be outlined with severe consequences on producers and traffickers.
Re-integration of recovery and recovered people back in the community. This is in two phases: Carrying out an awareness in the community of origin of those affected by drugs to be ready to accommodate the ones being re-integrated by creating a stigma free environment. On the other hand, those being re-integrated to be empowered economically through creation of investment opportunities to enable them be engaged, motivated and avoid the risks of easy relapse. Youth empowerment programs must be at the heart of every African government to realize any development and sustainability of the State.
There should be a review of the family institution and emphasis on stable families. It is universally acknowledged that the family is the single most important institution in shaping up individuals. As we speak about ‘juvenile delinquency’ we should also spend time speaking on parental delinquency. The African society is currently facing a generation conflict emerging from 1970s parents who were born in the traditional, religious and morally conservative conditions against the 1990s generation of children born in the new world order of rights, liberties and technologies. This has created a huge social conflict, causing many parents to disregard children at their hour of great need while children, left without their primary mentors turn to rebellion and juvenile lifestyles. The problem has also been aggravated by absentee fathers whom children need especially boys entering teenage years.
Parenting skills within the acceptable social, political and cultural backgrounds of the African must be strengthened in order to bring up responsible youth who will shun influences and challenges, not only on drug use but other issues such as esteem, sexuality and general development.
Soberlife Mentorship Society stands for every effort and strategy that promotes primary prevention, care, rehabilitation, recovery and re-integration.
We have a duty to protect the society from all forms of enticements and intimidations that are only meant to enrich a clique of people while destroying humanity’s most essential investment; the youth. For those who mean well, let’s join hands in this great initiative regardless of our backgrounds or limited resources; and let the passion to mentor and make a lasting impact to the youth be our driving gear.
Written by Linda Nilsson
Thursday, 19 November 2015 11:50
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,
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.
Written by Linda Nilsson
Friday, 02 October 2015 16:38
DECLARATION ON THE RIGHTS OF MOST AT RISK CHILDRENTO THE FORTHCOMING UNITED NATION GENERAL ASSEMBLY SPECIAL SESSION (UNGASS) ON THE WORLD DRUG PROBLEM IN NEW YORK 2016
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,
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
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,
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,
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.
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
Emphasizing that undefined concepts such as “war on drugs”, “harm reduction”, “de-criminalization” etc shall be left without attention until these have been defined..
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.
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.
Written by Jo Baxter
Monday, 28 September 2015 15:06
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
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".
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.
Written by George Ochieng
Friday, 20 March 2015 16:12
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.