The Informal Interactive Stakeholder Consultation for hte United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem was held on February 10 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The Consultation was an opportunity for all relevant stakeholders to contribute to the ongoing process and to share their expertise and experience as an input for consideration for Member States in the negotiations of the outcome document.
Ms Asia Ashraf, Director at the Psychology Department at Sunny Trust International Addiction Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre in Pakistan did the following statement at the opening segment:
Honorable Chair, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen:
May I speak this morning on a rather neglected area of drug abuse in many parts of the world including my own country Pakistan, the female drug abuse? Drug abuse in Pakistan is typically considered a male problem, although UNODC survey in 2013 found 1.5 million or 22% female drug users out of the total 6.7 million illicit drug users nationwide.
Female substance use is on the rise among the urban educated classes, in colleges, offices and homes with tranquilizers and painkillers more commonly used by middle class women and cannabis used by poorer women at shrines, tombs and slums. Their numbers may be under-reported with possible “hidden” population of female drug users, as noted by UNODC in 2010.
Female drug abuse in Pakistan remains under-studied, except for UNODC studies and briefs and some limited research. Overall drug treatment services are highly deficient, accessed by only 30,000 drug users, and do not address the needs of female drug users. Lack of female-friendly services and female drug users’ reluctance to seek professional/qualified help due to social stigma, family reputation, marital risks and cultural constraints makes them doubly suffer in silence or be exploited by quacks, dubious faith-healers, and untrained psychiatrists treating them as mental cases. There is dearth of expertise and understanding on female-specific drug abuse treatment & rehab. A female- focused response by the state and by NGOs have yet to address this critical need.
I personally got interested and involved in treatment of female drug users in Pakistan while actually serving a 50-bed male drug treatment & rehab facility, Sunny Trust International Addiction Treatment & Rehabilitation Centre in Islamabad.
In the course of my last 12 years of work at Sunny Trust, I often came across people initially making discreet enquires for treatment of a male family members, but later opening up and seeking help in confidence for a female drug users in the family. Our outdoor counseling and support was of some benefit, but not always enough, since they could not be admitted in a male facility and no female service around to refer them to.
It set us thinking on the need for separate female-friendly drug treatment service within our socio-cultural setting. We got more female staff and trained them to deal with both in-house male patients and outdoor male and female counseling.
One evening, an educated, professional lady barged into our office along with her 18 years old daughter, desperately insisting that we admit her for drug treatment. We regretted since this was a male facility. The standoff continued until she simply dumped her and left. She was a high school dropout, with history of sexual abuse, whose alcoholic father and drug abusing brother drove her mad. She also turned to poly-drug abuse, now in chronic condition.
We were forced out of compassion to quickly create a temporary, one-patient separate female ward, making her feel at home and starting her treatment involving our female staff. She passed through different stages of recovery and rehabilitation, regaining control of herself, drug-free and smoke-free, to the joy of her mother and her own satisfaction. Back home, she persuaded her father and brother to get treated, and got both admitted to our centre. Back to school, she resumed her studies, married and moved on happily in life. We all believe “One Can Change”, I believe if that “One” is woman, change is massive.
Later, she brought her former drug-buddy for treatment at our centre. She came from a broken home, totally lost to drugs. We happily re-created the separate female-friendly arrangement and admitted her. She soon rehabilitated, strong and healthy, completed her studies. She had to fight out the stigma of her drug-ridden past including her treatment. We continued to extent her follow-up support.
Both cases served as our instructive piloting of female treatment. We decided to establish a separate Sunny Trust female treatment & rehabilitation facility. We have acquired the land and physical planning is underway. I am here in the US on a year-long Hubert H. Humphrey fellowship at the Virginia Commonwealth University to gain knowledge and skills for treatment of female drug users. I am working on the plan to set up a separate female drug treatment facility in Pakistan. This will also serve as a resource and training centre for female-specific services in Pakistan and the region. But it will be just a small drop in ocean. I expect UNGASS 2016 will lead a female-focused and community-based global campaign to deal with the problems of this special group.
Beyond sharing this very modest personal story, let me remind this worthy gathering that saving millions of men and women already lost to drugs remains a global obligation. And preventing many more from falling prey to drugs is an even bigger global responsibility. The horrific drug situation confronting the world is a result of collective global failure. It’s so easy and effortless falling into the drug trap, so terribly devastating living under drugs and so difficult coming out of drugs. The enormity of the drug problem is already a global nightmare.
UNGASS 2016 must take on this challenge head on and show the way to ridding humanity of this global drug menace. We have only two options: a drug-free world or a drug-doomsday----which we cannot afford. Compromises and half-way measures cannot endure over time and are bound to eventually fall apart. I am not against any approach but, I really want to highlight the important role of prevention and stronger community coalition in this field. It’s either now or never, so we must act. Let UNGASS define the vision, and set goal, priorities and benchmarks, for realizing a drug-free world within our lifetime."
Call for Nomination: Informal Interactive Stakeholder Consultation for the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS 2016) 10 February 2016 United Nations Headquarters, NY
Deadlines: 31 December 2015: Apply for Speaking Roles 31 December 2015: Apply for Moderator Role 13 January 2016: General registration of Participants
The General Assembly, in its resolution 67/193 of 20 December 2012, has decided to convene, in early 2016, a special session to review the progress made in the implementation of the Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem, including an assessment of the achievements and challenges in countering the world drug problem, within the framework of the three international drug control conventions and other relevant United Nations instruments.
Furthermore, the General Assembly decided in resolution 69/200, that the special session shall have an inclusive preparatory process that includes extensive substantive consultations, allowing organs, entities and specialized agencies of the United Nations system, relevant international and regional organizations, civil society and other relevant stakeholders to fully contribute to the process, in accordance with relevant rules of procedure and established practice.
To that end, there will be an Informal Interactive Stakeholder Consultation for the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS 2016) on 10 February 2016 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The Consultation is an opportunity for all relevant stakeholders to contribute further to the ongoing preparatory process for UNGASS 2016 by sharing practical expertise and experiences from their work on the ground as an input for consideration by Member States in the negotiations of the outcome document. It presents also an opportunity for stakeholders to prepare for their contributions to the interactive multi-stakeholder round tables at UNGASS.
All organizations wishing to attend the one-day Consultation will need to register by applying here. Applications for general registration for the Consultation are being accepted from 17 December 2015 – 13 January 2016.
The one-day Consultation features an Opening Segment, two interactive-round tables and a closing segment.
Stakeholders are invited to apply to speak at the Consultation, by completing the form available here. Applications will be accepted from 17 – 31 December 2015. The following criteria will be used when selecting speakers:
Must represent an organization actively working in the drug field and be authorized to speak on behalf of that organization. Priority will be given to organizations working at the grassroots level;
Geographical balance and in the case of equal qualification, representatives from the Global South will be prioritised;
Thematic balance in terms of approaches to drug policies to represent the broad spectrum and richness of NGO contributions;
The call is open to ECOSOC and non-ECOSOC accredited NGOs.
A Moderator will facilitate each of the two round tables that are a feature of the Consultation. To be considered for the Moderator role, applicants should be knowledgeable about the subject matter, generally good at including as many voices as possible in the discussion and able to steer the discussion. Please use the form at this link to apply to be a Moderator.
A Selection Committee, comprised of members of the Steering Committee Group of the Civil Society Task Force for UNGASS on Drugs, has been established in order to ensure broad and inclusive participation of stakeholders in the Consultation. To learn more about the Civil Society Task Force, please visit www.cstfondrugs.org.
Moderators, speakers and other participants are strongly encouraged to take into consideration the following guiding questions for the discussion:
What are the main challenges that exist for implementing a health approach to drugs?
Given the recent call for a health approach in drug policy, how should a health focus address the need of the society as a whole, including the marginalized groups and communities, taking into account age and gender perspectives?
Acknowledging the links in illicit drug trade, crime, and development policy, what synergies could be created between relevant stakeholders and Member States addressing alternative development, including within the framework of the SDG’s?
How can Member States and other relevant stakeholders respond effectively to current and emerging threats to health, including hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, untreated pain, and new psychoactive substances (NPS)?
How should relevant stakeholders best support Member States to envision and implement inclusive, people-centred and evidence based drug policies and equal access to justice?
We encourage you to participate in the call for nominations, as well as to share it widely in your networks!
For further information on the above, please contact the Civil Society Task Force on Drugs at
WFAD invites, together with Drug Policy Futures, Recovered Users Union and UNODC, to a side event that will highlight the importance of recovery.
The side event will take place on December 9 at Vienna International Center, in connection with the reconvened CND at 13.00.
Recovery is a way to enable for individuals who have developed drug related problems to function effectively in society and to empower them to take control of their own lives. Community based recovery fellowship provide important opportunities for mutual help. Treatment systems must provide a wide range of effective services to assist people who use drugs in their efforts to recover. These services must be based on the same rigorous evidence and the same principle of non-discrimination that are expected in other sectors of the health system.
The aim of the event is to discuss recovery both in theory and in practice. Boro Goic, representative of recovered users in the Civil Society Task Force, will share the preliminary results from his consultation with recovery organizations around the world. We will also discuss the scientific basis for recovery and how UNODC works to promote recovery from drug addiction.
Speakers Boro Goic Chairman, Recovered Users Network, representing recovered users in the Civil Society Task Force David Best Professor of Criminology Development and Society, Sheffield Hallam University, UK Gilberto Gerra Chief, Drug Prevention and Health Branch, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
Moderator Linda Nilsson Secretary General, World Federation Against Drugs
Organized by: World Federation Against Drugs Recovered Users Network Drug Policy Futures United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
The 5th World Forum Against Drugs is planned to take plcae in Vienna, Austria on March 12-13, 2016!
2016 is a special year in international drug policy. The UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the world drug problem will be hosted on April 19-21. This is the biggest meeting on the world drug problem in almost 20 years. Member states and the civil society begun the preparation for the UNGASS meeting already in 2012.
WFAD plans to host the 5th World Forum Against Drugs before the start of the 59th CND meeting and we will invite all our members to the Forum, so please save the date for this important meeting!
The aim of the Forum will be two folded; to share the knowledge and experience of member organization together with new knowledge and experience in from researchers; and to gather the best practices to also be put forward to the member states at the CND meeting. The CND meeting will be one of the last opportunitites to influence member states before the UNGASS meeting.
More information will come about practical details around the Forum and also more detailed program.
If you have any questions or input for the Forum please contact Linda Nilsson
The following resolution was adopted at the closing ceremony of the 17th Congress of Addiction, hosted by Centros de Integración de Juvenil and World Federation Against Drugs.
1. Nowadays, the participation of the organized civil society is strategic to frame broad impact public policies that favor global wellbeing.
2. Our children and youth have the right to grow up in a drug-free environment, where they can achieve their full potential.
3. We defend the Article 33 of the Convention of the Rights of the Child to protect childhood from drug-abuse:
"States Parties shall take all appropriate measures, including legislative, administrative, social and educational measures, to protect children from the illicit use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances as defined in the relevant international treaties, and to prevent the use of children in the illicit production and trafficking of such substances."
4. Drug-abuse is a global problem that harms millions and unbalance families, the foundation of sound communities and nations. Civil society has the right to rely on itself and its government work for a drug-free environment
5. The essence of drug policies should be health safeguarding and to contribute to the development of safe community environments, impervious to illegal drug supply.
6. Social development, democratic improvement, and equality should be the basis of far-reaching policies in terms of its effects and permanency.
On road to UNGASS 2016, we declare our commitment to:
Discuss the current drug-audit global system while affirming the key objectives of international conventions.
Drive scientific debates in relation to drugs, where the main objective is to preserve community health, and particularly that of children and youth, the most-at-risk population.
Foster in every country the respect for human rights for users and non-users alike, as well as the right to health and social insertion.
Avoid stigmatization of substance users. Instead, strengthen their way back to society.
Favor in each legislation laws made to ponder the proportionality in sentencing for drug possession.
Settle options of alternative justice to support the social reintegration of people that have committed drug crimes.
Have influence upon the governments so that they strengthen civil programs focused on prevention, treatment and social reintegration, as well as on the training of professionals that deal with its assistance and study. 3
Close the existent budget gaps between the programs oriented to fight drug supply and those directed to drug demand reduction.
Raise governments, civil society and community’s awareness of the fact that accessibility to work, education, culture, and amusement are the best basis against drug consumption and trafficking.
Inform governments, civil society, mass media, social media and community about the risks of legalizing drugs.
For all of the above reasons, it is thus essential to set up a new institutional network, where the same principles are shared, working to counter legalization of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, and whose main objective is to gain a greater impact, continental in scope, and favoring social welfare and that of childhood and youth particularly.
The United Nations General Assembly Special Session, UNGASS, on the world drug problem will be held on 19-21 April 2016. This is the most important meeting around drugs at international level in 20 years. I am writing to you to ask for you expertise in your prevention work as an input to the UNGASS meeting.
In order to include the views and work of civil society, a Civil Society Task Force (CSTF) has been created. The CSTF acts as official liaison between the United Nations and civil society in the preparatory process of and at the UNGASS. The objective of the CSTF is to ensure a comprehensive, structured, meaningful and balanced participation of civil society in this process.
The CSTF consists of 31 members representing regions in the world, affected populations and global voices. I represent the global voice of prevention and this is the reason why I am writing to you. I am interested in collecting the voices of civil society around prevention. In particular, I am interested in knowing (i) your best practices and ideas on how to prevent illicit drug use and (ii) your views on global drug policies. The UNGASS will be structured in five different thematic areas:
Drugs and health;
Drugs and crime;
Human rights, women, children and communities;
New challenges, threats and realities in addressing the world drug problem;
Drugs and (alternative) development.
You are invited to share your input with me along these thematic areas and/or the lines below:
What works in prevention and where do you see room for improvement;
What do we know and where do we need more knowledge;
Drug policies and their implementation;
Your expectations from UNGASS and beyond.
I also ask you to share descriptions of your prevention models if possible. I aim to add all the models/descriptions/manuals around prevention to the report as an appendix. This will be an important input to the UNGASS process. Please also remember to state the name and region of your organization and send me (
) your reply by December 1.
Linda Nilsson Secretary General, World Federation Against Drugs Member of Civil Society Task Force, representing prevention Phone: +46705734259 Email:
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".
The invited speakers that presented on the theme came form civil society organizations, UNODC and governmental officials.
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.
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
(+234-8152677926) Director of People Against Drugs Dependency & Ignorance and board member of WFAD.
‘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.
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.
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.