Member Activity

Over fifty (50) youth representatives from the fifteen counties of Liberia and national youth institutions have called on the Liberian Government to address key aspects in the fight against illicit drugs and the use of harmful substances in Liberia.
The fight toward a drug free society according to the youth, becomes even more worrisome base on the current state of harmful drugs in the country. “We are worried over the negative and sociological impact drugs trafficking has pose on the youth of this country”, they stated.

The youths made these assertions at the just ended National Drug Prevention Youth Conference in commemoration of the 2017 International Day against Drug Abuse & Illicit Trafficking held in Monrovia on June 22, 2017 at the YMCA organized by the Consolidated Youth for Peace & Development (COYPED), UNODC, ECOWAS and funded by the European Union.

The youth in a communiqué Thursday, presented nine counts recommendation to the Government of Liberia and stakeholders as ways of curbing the growing rate of drugs in the country.
According to COYPED executive director James Koryor, realizing that over 80% of substance users in Liberia are young people between the ages of 13-35 years, limited resources to combat drug trafficking by state institutions, lack of effective civil society organizations coordination and the non-existence of programs that focuses on care and support for substance users considering a human rights based approach;

The COYPED boss furthered that encouraged by the convocation of the United Nations General Assembly on the Worlds Drug Problems (UNGASS - 2016) and ECOWAS Regional Action Plan on illicit drug trafficking, related organized crime and drug abuse in West Africa as an authentic means to announce to national stakeholders and the world at large the views of the young people of Liberia regarding Substance abuse laws, policies and programs and desirous of ensuring that the voice of the youths of   Liberia are heard at the national level regarding issues of Substance abuse.

Also at the program, the Liberia National Police revealed that the LNP has launched what he refers to as a war against drugs, substance abuse and illicit trafficking currently at the peak in Liberia. The LNP disclosed that these acts are being carried out especially among young people considered to be the most dominant of all Liberians nationwide.

The LNP maintained that it will not relent in the fight against the use of harmful substances until the war is won. The Inspector General of the Liberia National Police Honorable Gregory Coleman made the statement when he spoke Thursday in Monrovia through a proxy, Hon. Al Karlay, at the First National Drugs Prevention Youth Conference in the country.

Inspector Coleman maintained that as part of his efforts, the LNP will continue to put in place techniques to clamp down on what he described as the production, distribution and consumption fronts of all narcotics substances in the country.
For her part, the Political Officer at the European Delegation in Liberia, Madam Emma Sundblad stated that the EU is committed to supporting the sub region in the fight against drug abuse.

Madam Sundblad call for concerted effort to minimize substance abuse in Liberia. The EU Political Officer furthered called on youths delegates to come up with key recommendations that could enhance the prevention of drug abuse in Liberia.
Also speaking at the conference, the National Project Officer at the United Nations Office on Drug & Crimes Liberia office, Mr. William T. Thompson, III reaffirmed his organization support to drug prevention in Liberia.

The UNODC official also used the occasion to call on the Government of Liberia to take ownership of national prevention and rehabilitation programs in the country stressing that it is regrettable to note that there is not a single rehabilitation
center in the country.

For his part, the Deputy Information Minister for Technical Services at the Ministry of Information, Hon. Rixck Barsigiah termed as a major challenge for Liberians considering the increase wave of the use of harmful drugs and substances by youth throughout the state.

In his thought, the rate at which illicit drugs has reached in the local society, suggest that such act could get even worse if Liberians don’t see this as a holistic fight. He said the government has done its best in this fight but efforts by the locals will enhance the best opportunity to overcome the practice.

Also speaking at the opening session of the Conference, the Team Leader of Crime Investigation Support Team of the United Nations Police (UNPOL) Mr. Alexandrus Ursu stated that he believe Liberians should begin raising alarms by reporting and not partaking in harmful drug offenses. He added that harmful drugs usage does not solve problem regardless of how much of it is consumed.

The second session of the conference was categorize by comprehensive working sessions that drafted a common position of Liberian youths. The delegates at the event reviewed the document and later adopted and endorsed it as the Liberian Youth Common Position on Drug Prevention. The communique was officially read after endorsement by Boakai Kamara of Gbarpolu County.

In his closing remarks, the deputy director of COYPED, Joseph F. Wiah Jr. commended the delegates for taking up their time to form part of a group that believe it is time that the issue of drug prevention in Liberia be taken serious.

The COYPED official also stated that the Liberian Youth Common Position on Drug Prevention will be the first major advocacy tool for young people to use in holding their leaders accountable as it relates to substance abuse.

The event brought together youth and student representatives from the 15 counties, international organizations, Government officials, CSOs, substance users and the media.

Youth conference Liberie
Under the direction of Robert L. DuPont, MD and A. Thomas McLellan, PhD, in March 2017 the Institute for Behavior and Health (IBH) convened a meeting of leaders in addiction treatment, health care, insurance, government and research to discuss the scope and implications of the historic 2016 Surgeon General’s Report Facing Addiction in America. The Surgeon General, VADM Vivek H. Murthy, MD, was an active participant in the meeting.

In the brief report issued by IBH, Drs. DuPont and McLellan summarize the core elements of the meeting discussion and recommendations:
- Supporting the recommendations in the 2016 Surgeon General’s Report, the group agreed that addiction is a serious chronic illness and promoted the development of a modern continuum of public health care for addiction.
- The group specified that abstinence is an achievable, high-value outcome, both for prevention and treatment.
- The group recognized the paucity of current models for systematic integration of addiction treatment and general healthcare.
- The group encouraged the identification of promising models and the promotion of innovation to achieve the goal of sustained recovery, defined as no use of any alcohol or illegal drugs other than medicines that are prescribed and monitored to sustain recovery. 

The report can be found here.

For more information about IBH visit
The Consolidated Youth for Peace & Development (COYPED) a registered non-for Profit youth-led organization and partners has launched the Peer Education Program for Alcohol & Drug Prevention among Young People in Liberia Project.

Speaking at the launch of the project on March 24, 2017 in the conference room of the YMCA in Monrovia, COYPED’s Executive Director, James Koryor stated that UNODC, in collaboration with The ECOWAS Commission, is implementing a regional project to “Support the ECOWAS Regional Action Plan on illicit drug trafficking, related organized crime and drug abuse in West Africa” and that the project is fully funded by the European Union.

Mr. Koryor stressed that as part of the project implementation, UNODC, ECOWAS and the EU announce a call for proposals in support of innovative and pilot prevention initiatives in Burkina Faso, Liberia, Mauritania and Sierra Leone.
The COYPED boss further that it was against this backdrop that his organization was awarded a grant through a regional competitive process to implement the Peer Education Program for Alcohol and Drug Prevention amongst young People in Liberia Project.

The project is a peer education engagement to prevent substance use amongst young people in Liberia, stressing that the primary goal of the project is to equip young people to be able to develop, adopt and sustain healthy attitudes and behaviours towards a drug free Liberia targeting Montserrado, Bong, Nimba and Grand Bassa Counties.

Mr. Koryor further that the Programs will also target youth and adolescent involved with harmful substance used. These programs will basically focus on awareness creation, training and peer counselling so as to discourage and minimize drug abuse among substance users and will also encourage and involve families and communities in the development and implementation of community based prevention strategies in the Project selected counties to ensure that the project is sustained.

Serving as keynote speaker, Montserrado County’s District#9 Representative at the 53rd National Legislature, Munah Pelham-Youngblood cautioned Liberian youth to be agents of change in combating drugs in the country.
“We are stronger than what they say we are, we killed the war, we slaughtered EBOLA and with togetherness, we can destroy drugs before it destroys us, therefore, let’s use concerted efforts if Liberia, our common patrimony must be a drug free society not only for us, but for our children and the generations to come,” Representative Youngblood said at the YMCA.

Speaking on the theme; “Making Liberia a Drug Free Society,” she told the youth and students, drawn from several schools and communities within Monrovia that some people at the international level see them as shippers of cocaine, users of marijuana, slaves to drugs, sex and alcohol. They say you are good for nothing, corrupt with large criminal activity, they also see you as significant potential for money laundering and armed robberies, yes, they even call you rapists, their views towards you may be wrong or right but what name will you want the society to call you, she wonders rhetorically. 

Also speaking was the Political Officer of European Delegation in Liberia, Madam Emma Sunblad. She said the EU is pleased to identify with the Project due to its strict adherence to drug and alcoholic prevention in Liberia. Pledging her entity’s supports to future program, Madam Sunblad asserted that this project that is intended to make the country a drug free society is a further manifestation of a much stronger ties between Liberia and the European Union.

Representing ECOWAS’ Ambassador to Liberia, Nathaniel Walker commended COYPED for organizing such unique program that is geared towards the future of Liberia. He said like him, many Liberians are craving for a day that Liberia will be a drug free country where young people will play positive role in the society.

For his part, the National Project Officer of UNODC, William Thompson, said as the future of Liberia depends on the youth, they must be prepared to deny themselves certain social activities if they must be regarded as flag bearers tomorrow.
He called for the togetherness of every Liberian regardless of belonging if we must live in a society where law and order must the norms of the day, adding, the future is at hand. He used the occasion to call on the Liberian Government to give the Liberian Drug Enforcement Agency, LDEA, much needed budgetary support if the Agency must live by its Constitutional mandate.

Adding his voice, Assistant Minister for Planning, Research, and Development at the Ministry of Education, Saa David Nyumah challenged the larger society to take its role much more seriously as the campaign to rid the Liberian society of illicit is everyone’s concern. He called on authority concerned to take the fight against the spread of illicit drug to every school in the country in order for students and youth to realize the danger involved in drug abuse.

Launching the Project, Deputy Youth and Sports Minister for Youth Development, Lance Gbagonyon lauded the COYPED family for the Project and called on the youth to realize the importance of resisting the danger of drug. He reminded them that time waits for no man or woman, the type of life one initiates today will definitely speak for said person in the not too distance future, stressing, Liberia needs you to present her case before peers on the table of competitive political bickering.

Advancing his points was the President of the Federation of Liberia youth, FLY, Augustine Tamba. He said the vulnerability of the society in today’s Liberia is not only due to lack of logistics, but sincerity on the part of drug enforcers.
The FLY’s boss stressed that as soon as an alleged drug pusher is arrested, placed behind bars, in few days time, said culprit is seen on the streets pushing more quantity at times in the presence of enforcers with impunity.
He noted that if Liberia is to be a drug free society that every Liberian craves, collective effort must be the order of the day. 

The Speaker of the Mano River Union Youth Parliament and the President of the Press Union of Liberia where amongst special guest that graced the occasion. The event brought together over one hundred participants including officials of government, international and national NGOs, youth and student groups, substance users and the media.
Welcome to the 3rd edition of Drug Free Australia's update on Drug

Shockingly, Australia remains one of the highest illicit drug using countries (per capita) in the world. Ice and stimulants like ecstasy are the main contributors to the bourgeoning community problems we are all facing. Smoked cannabis/marijuana is also a high contender - adding to our burden of disease and mental health issues.

With new and highly toxic substances now appearing on our streets (such as carfentanyl found in Brisbane in mid-February) we need urgent LONG TERM action to increase prevention education for our children and youth, (as well as for parents, teachers and frontline health workers). Take a look at this article

Surely, if we can reduce tobacco use through continuous campaigns such as QUIT, and prevent our kids from getting skin cancer, with the SUN SMART campaign, we can do so much more to combat these highly poisonous drugs!

What’s happening with drug education in schools?
Drug Free Australia is planning to survey schools across the nation to find out the current status of drug and alcohol education including
• what programs schools are providing,
• how effective they are
• what issues are being addressed and how the programs are helping?
DFA is also keen to find out from schools that are NOT providing drug prevention and alcohol awareness programs, and WHY they may not be able to do so.
We will be partnering with other non-government organisations in this survey and will keep you posted. In so doing we will be able to provide a profile of drug education that IS WORKING in schools and communities over the coming months.

One Pill Can Kill - Teens’ hard hitting anti-drugs video goes viral
An anti-drugs film produced by a group of Co Antrim teenagers has gone viral, racking up almost half a million views. The graphic movie, entitled ‘One Pill Can Kill’, shows the deadly consequences of taking just one drug from a dealer.
Brooke Thompson from the Rathcoole-based group said they wanted to get their message to a wider audience - and they have certainly been successful, drawing in viewers from across America, Canada and England.

"I'm just hoping everyone understands how dangerous drugs can be and we've changed the community," said Brooke.

Signs of a Meth Lab:
Although Methamphetamine (ICE) can be cooked in many different locations there are certain warning signs that may indicate their presence. They can be found in almost any location, from houses, apartments, cars, rental storage units and motorhomes. Some of the common warning signs of a suspected meth lab include:
• Strong odours (acrid, sour, ammonia, solvents, pungent)
• Windows covered with foils or plastics
• Renters who pay landlords cash
• Excessive trash and rubbish, evidence of chemical waste
• Unusual structures, curtains always drawn or windows covered with aluminium foil  
• Increased activity, especially at night
• Discolouration of structures, soil and pavement or driveway
• Increased security systems or other devices
For more information go to:

Just what does Prevention mean when related to illicit drugs?
Australia remains one of the highest illicit drug using countries (per capita) in the world, according to the United Nation’s World Drug Report. Prevention is usually the highest priority in most public health policies. We have already mentioned the success of the Sun Smart campaign to prevent skin cancer and QUIT to stop people smoking tobacco.

However, so far as illicit drugs are concerned, there is often a more ‘complex’ argument put forward – an argument that can serve to compromise the urgent need to prevent our kids from taking drugs in the first place. 
It will help to look at the definitions of prevention, used by most countries, in line with the United Nations Drug Control Conventions. Perhaps then, we can give top priority in this country, to an effective, sustained Prevention Policy.

The United National Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC)’s definition of ‘primary prevention’ is: ‘A way of preventing the initiation of psychoactive substance or delaying the age at which use begins.

According to the UNODC and the World Health Organisation: ‘The primary prevention approach is key for responding to substance use among young people before they start using substances. In addition, this strategy could help to discourage or stop use in those who are already experimenting or using.

Primary Prevention is key to Demand Reduction. (If we reduce demand, we reduce the market for illicit drugs).
The term "drug demand reduction" is used to describe policies or programmes directed towards reducing the consumer demand for narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances covered by the international drug control conventions ….
Demand reduction programmes should cover all areas of prevention, from discouraging initial use to reducing the negative health and social consequences of drug abuse. They should embrace information, education, public awareness, early intervention, counselling, treatment, rehabilitation, relapse prevention, aftercare and social reintegration. Early help and access to services should be offered to those in need.

Another UN source, which further explains the levels of Prevention and the importance of Demand Reduction:
• The term “demand reduction” refers to all activities aimed at reducing demand for drugs and includes primary, secondary and tertiary prevention.
• Demand reduction efforts should be integrated into broader social welfare and health promotion policies and preventive education programmes.
• Health promotion and primary, secondary and tertiary prevention together contribute to the overall aim of reducing problems associated with drug use.
• Primary prevention is directed at populations not currently using or not seriously involved with drugs. Such populations are much larger than those targeted by secondary and tertiary prevention; hence their potential for reducing rates of drug use in a jurisdiction is significant.. Primary prevention promotes the non-use of drugs and is aimed at preventing or delaying the first use of drugs and the transition to more serious use of drugs among occasional users. Most drug use begins during adolescence and early adulthood, when young people are developing cognitively and socially. For that reason, primary prevention is mainly directed at those life stages and those before them.
• Secondary prevention measures are aimed at reaching early those individuals who are seriously involved with drugs but are not dependent on drugs.

For more go to:
For examples of Prevention that works, go to Drug Policy Futures :

WFAD Regional Conference held in Nairobi Kenya

Deb Nya
By Deborah Nyambu, Nurture Smart Youth Program Kenya

I recently had the privilege of attending a Regional Conference hosted by World Federation Against Drugs, WFAD, in Nairobi Kenya.

The two day conference held on 10th and 11th of February was well organized depicting the amount of work that was put in by the organizers to make it a success.

The conference doors opened with welcome remarks from the Secretary General, Ms Linda Nilsson who was also the day’s moderator. A succession of speakers then followed with a brief discussion on the UNGASS outcome document, starting with the International President of WFAD, Mr. S Carlsson followed by remarks from Mr. Victor Okioma, the CEO NACADA. Mr. George Ochieng, the Executive Director of Slum Child Foundation emphasized on the need for prevention, education, treatment, recovery and integration work being done by the civil society and for the need to move these efforts to the next level.
Creative illustrations were put across by Mr. Fayzal Sulliman, the Program Coordinator, UNODC Regional Office for Eastern Africa while touching on the subject of prevention. Ms. Jenna Philippe then gave us an elaborate illustration on development link to Vienna NGO Market place. A lot of knowledge was imparted here including the fact that the NGO Market place increases visibility of NGO’s work showcasing the successes of an organization. This facilitates achievement of overall organizational goals as well as helps bridge the impact gap!

Having enjoyed a scrumptious meal over the lunch hour, the afternoon began on a high note with Mr. Patrick Okwarah, the Coordinator of community Anti-Drug Coalitions of Kenya taking us through Community prevention in Kenya. We were enlightened on the importance of coalitions and how they combine talent and resources to engage communities in the sub-counties they work with.
Uganda Youth Development Executive Director Mr. Rodgers Kasirye reminded participants of the need to not only share information but also keep records and documentation of projects and programs being undertaken by organizations. In order to comply and Keep up to speed with international standards participants were encouraged to maintain the good practice of documenting activities and also embracing a reading culture to keep up-to-date with the latest developments.

Mr. Boro Goic, the Chair of Recovered Users Network took us through a very elaborate talk on the importance of recovery oriented drug policies and emphasized on the need to support recovery efforts by addressing specific needs of the whole person, their family members and community.

A couple of speakers then briefly touched on different topics these being; Paul Mburu, Real Mentor Soberlife Mentorship Society, Pamela Masese, Assistant Director Probation & Aftercare Services and Antony Kangethe from Asumbi Treatment Center. Emphasis here was supporting and enhancing recovery efforts to ensure strengthened transformed individuals, families and communities.NURSYPK LogoOne of the participants, Dr. Jennifer Kimani, thanked WFAD for the work they are doing and especially so for bringing the conference to Nairobi, Kenya.

The conference was truly superb and left us all inspired, motivated and ready to tackle prevention, treatment and recovery efforts in our various fields to a higher level!
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.

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

Thank you Mr Chairman

Mika CND
Mika Jörnelius at UNODC in Vienna
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:

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.
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.

Paul 2paul youth nairobi

Paul Mburu
Real Life Mentor, Soberlife
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.

Thank you

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