News from WFAD

Save the date for the 6th World Forum Against Drugs!

The 6th World Forum Against Drugs will be held in Gothenburg Sweden, May 14-16, 2018 under the patronage of H.M. Queen Silvia of Sweden.  MG 4871

The World Forum Against Drugs is a biannual arena for exchanging knowledge and experience, an arena to describe new research and to inspire to new methods of prevention. It is a meeting place for people around the world who work to prevent illicit drug use through grassroots efforts, on a voluntary basis, professionally or as policymakers.

The 6th Forum will be held together with ECAD’s 25th Mayors Conference. This will enable us to do a bigger event, attract more people and also attract the best possible speakers.

We hope to see many of you in Gothenburg next year. More information about the program and practical information will come!

 MG 5122
Intervention by WFAD's board member Ezekwesiri Eluchie at the CND Post-UGASS thematic Intersessional Meeting, Vienna. 

November 16, 2017

In my capacity as Representative for Sub Sahara Africa on the Civil Society Task Force on UNGASSS 2016, during the build up to UNGASS 2016, I undertook a series of consultations in 8 Sub Sahara Africa countries (Ghana, Senegal, Kenya, Malawi, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Nigeria) with Civil Society Organizations, Government agencies and intergovernmental/international donor agencies to gauge their responses and towards addressing the substance abuse situation in the region covered. Sequel to the release of the UNGASS 2016 Outcome Document, I have likewise continued to maintain consultations and communications with the various stakeholders in the countries earlier visited across Sub Sahara Africa on best practices towards implementing and facilitating the intendments of the said Outcome Documents.

A critical and fundamental problem highlighted in all the countries evaluated in the course of the Consultations was the dearth of data and statistics relating to the substance abuse and a corresponding lack of human capacity to sustain requisite interventions in all facets of the substance abuse situation across Sub Sahara Africa, ranging from Prevention, Treatment, Care and Rehabilitation, and Interdiction and Supply Control. Though there was a palpable problem with regards to the substance abuse situation in all the countries evaluated, the dearth stated above made it near-impossible to understand, with any real exactitude, the scope and extent of such problems and which areas to best deploy the scare resources available to record a higher Return-on-Investments.

There is unanimity of purpose amongst the countries evaluated, that the foremost area requiring specialized, targeted, effective and sustainable technical assistance would be in building the domestic human capacity in the areas of collating and maintaining reliable statistics and a data base of information on substance abuse situation. The unique role and outreach potentials of civil society and community based organizations as vehicles to penetrate hard-to-reach populations in Sub Sahara Africa, places such organizations in a unique vantage position to best utilize such technical assistance.

The paucity of financial resources available in the region and the fact that the region is generally weighed down by such basic health challenges as Infectious diseases, High maternal mortality and Childhood killer diseases, and Immunization concerns making less funds available for addressing secondary and tertiary health care concerns makes the prioritization of evidence based prevention strategies and practices inevitable. Financial assistance towards translating time-tested and experience-based substance abuse prevention strategies and practices in the region into scalable domestically generated evidence based practices was paramount to succeeding in addressing the substance abuse situation in the region.

The need for countries in the Sub Sahara Africa region, in view of the proximity in their situations, to increase collaboration and exchange ideas as to what works best within their respective countries was agreed as a panacea to the continued reliance on ‘evidence-based’ prevention practices sourced from countries far removed from the situation of African countries (South-South collaboration).  North-South collaborative programs should not be restricted only to interdiction and supply control approaches but also cover prevention and demand reduction strategies and practices.

On our part, our organization, People Against Drug Dependence & Ignorance (PADDI) has concentrated on building local, national, regional and Africa-wide network of CSO’s/NGO’s with a view to ensuring that when resources are pooled together, the scarcity of resources for which the African continent and its constituent countries are notorious for, can be converted into a pedestal for cooperation, shared responsibilities and mutual benefit towards addressing a common Drug abuse problem.

In collaboration with WFAD and under the patronage of H.E Pierre Bou Assy, Minister of Social Affairs in Lebanon, Nusroto Al-Anashid Association organized an international convention on Drugs  at Monroe Hotel in Downtown - Beirut,Lebanon on May 3rd & 4th, 2017.

The conference aimed to:
Raise awareness in Lebanon around strategies for drug prevention and their implementation in the educational system;
Discuss the most deceloiped types of treatment and rehabilitation; 
Educate and promote healthy options for a drug-free environment;
Exchange and share experience and knowledge.

The opening day was attended by the Minister of Social Affairs, Mr. Pierre Bou Assi, representatives of the Ministers of Justice, Health, Interior and Education, MPs and Ministers, including former Minister of Social Affairs Dr. Salim Sayegh, President of the World Federation Against Drugs, Mr. Sven-Olov Carlsson, , Head of Law Enforcement in Lebanon, Head of the Customs Office, Ambassador Graziella Seif, President of the International Ambassadors Association in the United States, Ambassador Aftab Khokher, Raúl Madrigas charge d’Affaire for the Cuban Embassy, the Mayor of Zahle, and the Bishops, Judges, Lawyers, heads of parties, Media, Priests, civil society figures and specialists such as psychiatrists, professors and therapists. The conference was attended by specialists from Sweden, Austria, Pakistan, Tunisia, Cuba, Africa, Saudi Arabia and Syria.
The conference of "Drugs:  Prevention and Treatment" highlighted about a dangerous file that results in cases of disability and death. The Lebanese Minister of Media Melhem Al-Riachi told the audience that from the platform of the Nusroto-Association Conference he will protest drugs through the Lebanese state radio, to allocate special awareness programs on the Drug  problem as well as on the official  television channel of Lebanon. He also has the right to oblige other media institutions to publish what he deems necessary.

President of the WFAD Mr. Sven-Olov Carlsson said: "We believe that working for a drug-free world will promote human development, dignity, democracy, tolerance, equality, freedom and justice,", also focusing on the importance of disseminating prevention strategies that solely protect future generations from the scourge of drugs, noting the great work and efforts implemented by Nusroto Association in Bekaa region. Minister Al-Sayegh presented the importance of the role of non-governmental organizations in dealing with drug addicts. MP Joseph Maalouf gave a lecture on the reasons for the amendment of the drug law, which deals with the subject of drug legislation, saying that the Lebanese state is not ready for it.

Father Marwan Ghanem, President of the Nusroto Association, who spoke at the opening session about the conference's objectives: to help patients with drugs at all levels of life, to identify action plans to spread the culture of drug risk awareness, and to develop human resource capacities in the fight against drugs. Father Ghanem ended the conference by highlighting the roles of this conference and Nusroto-Al-Anashid Association in the fight against drugs. Also he has promised to issue a book about  the conference, summing up the sessions and making important recommendations to the legislative and governmental authorities.
 The vice president of the Nusroto Association and the representative of the Asian continent at the WFAD , Mrs. Rima Saade Turk, who directed and organized the conference, spoke about Marijuana in the countries of Asia, she focused on trading this kind of drugs in Lebanon, which is profitable despite its illegitimacy.

The recommendations made by the conference were presented to the Excellency President of Lebanon.

Photos from the conference can be found here.

In collaboration with WFAD, Nusroto Al-Anashid Association under the patronage of H.E Pierre Bou Assy, the Minister of Social Affairs in Lebanon, are organizing an international convention on Drugs  at Monroe Hotel in Downtown - Beirut,Lebanon on May 3rd & 4th, 2017

The theme of the conference: “Drugs: Prevention and Treatment”.

The conference will include Ministries Speakers: Ministry of Social Affairs, Ministry of Interior and Municipalities, Ministry of Media, Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Education and Higher Education, professional speakers from Europe and Asia specially from Sweden,Austria, Pakistan, Syria, Lebanon, and other countries as well as the International president of WFAD (World Federation Against Drugs) in Sweden.

The conference will also include presentations and lectures on the most updated drug treatments, rehabilitation, and prevention. Attendees will be from political, religious,military and civilian authorities.

Statement submitted by World Federation Against Drugs to the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs Sixtieth session, Plenary, tenth meeting, Vienna, 13-17 March 2017

Madam Chairman, Distinguised Delegates, Ladies and gentlemen,soc 60

Drug use is a risk factor for a wide range of negative outcomes including mental and other illnesses, school dropout and academic failure, road accidents, unemployment, low life-satisfaction and relationship problems. Drug use and other social and health problems are intertwined so that drug use is associated with and commonly exacerbates other problems.

The first task of a public health-oriented drug policy is to prevent drug-related problems from occurring. Environmental strategies that discourage drug use and reduce the availability of illegal drugs are a central element of prevention. Community-based strategies that promote drug-free environments and supportive social norms are shown to reduce the use of both legal and illegal substances. Environmental strategies should be supplemented by education and evidence-based prevention as well as more targeted interventions that reach high-risk groups and problem drug users.

Drug use is particularly harmful to youth. Drug use usually begins in adolescence, making youth the major target for prevention. Drug related harm affects all regions of the world.

Drug use does not only affect the drug user. Often, family and friends are the first to experience the problems caused by drug use. In addition drug use has serious consequences for society as a whole, e.g. in the workplace, schools, on the roads, in the criminal justice system and in the health and social services.

There is a need for a comprehensive approach to drug-related harm, with a strong focus on prevention and early intervention, as well as control measures, health services, treatment and rehabilitation for users.

Drug problems are particularly intractable in the nexus of mental health problems, crime, deprivation and social exclusion. Problem drug users often need comprehensive services including health, housing, education and work. The essential point here is that drug addiction is not only a health problem nor only a crime problem.

World Federation Against Drugs believe that recovery is the best way for individuals who have developed drug-related problems to minimize their risk of further consequences, to enable them to function effectively in society, to take part in education, work or other activities, to mend the relationships with their families and to empower them to take control of their own lives.

Alternative sanctions that require enforced abstinence, but also reduce the use of imprisonment for drug-related offenses should be developed, e.g. Drug Treatment Courts. Instead of being an obstacle to recovery, the criminal justice system should become a powerful engine of recovery. Alternative sanctions should empower people to become drug-free, crime-free and integrated members of society.

To promote public health and public safety it is essential that governments adhere to the three main drug control treaties of 1961, 1971, and 1988, as well as the Convention of the Rights of the Child. We believe that the UN drug treaties provide the best framework for reducing nonmedical drug use and its many negative consequences.

World Federation urges all member states to recognize that these treaties create a solid foundation on which to build future drug policy innovations. Yes, we need alternatives, but we don't need to create a public health and safety disaster through legalization.

Sven-Olov Carlsson
International President
WFAD is part of the network of Drug Policy Future, a platform for drug policy based on health. DPF believes in engaging in open dialogue about the strengths and weakness of the global drug policies. DPF advocates for evidence based strategies to promote public health, safety and the wellbeeing of society, including those addicted and their drug families.

On March 15 The Drug Policy Future launched four position papers at a lunch held for member states at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs meeting in Vienna. The papers are action oriented, we wanted to provide input to the implementation of the UNGASS outcome document, "Our join Commitment to Effectively Addressing and Countering the World Drug Problem".

The four documents with recommendations on the way forward can be found here:

Ten steps for Successful National Action on Drugs
In Spanish: Diez pasos para una acción nacional exitosa sobre drogas

Effective prevention methods are ready for implementation
In Spanish: Los méthods eficaces de prevención están listos para la implementación

Recovery and Social Reintegration

Proportionality in reactions to Drug Related Crimes

2017-03-15 13.43.32

This intervention was done at the fifth Intersessional meeting of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, October 27-28. The meeting discussed the implementation of the UNGASS outcome document and the intervention was done under the chapter on Alternative Development; regional, interregional and international cooperation on development-oriented balanced drug control policy; addressing socioeconomic issues.
Thank you for giving me the floor.

When we started the process towards UNGASS in 2014 I did an intervention here in Vienna saying that too often the debate is dominated by organizations and representatives of the western world, although the majority of us are not men in dark suits. A lot of work still remains but important steps have been taken in the right direction. World Federation Against Drugs, and our 200 member organizations, are pleased with the inclusiveness of the civil society in the UNGASS process, and the many possibilities for civil society to express our view. The need to include civil society is mentioned in the outcome paper and I also welcome that we are well represented here to give our voice on the implementation of the outcome paper.  I also think that we from the civil society learned a lot from this process on how to organize ourselves to ensure that people who are affected and are working with the problem from all over the world are able to give their input.  

The outcome document has a lot of good elements and strategies, we have a roadmap, the big work now is to turn the words into action. We need to mobilize ordinary people and the local communities if we want result, the civil society is vital in this. This is also why our international network, Drug Policy Futures, has identified one big challenge both for governments and NGOs in the period towards 2019: To mobilize one million communities in a global wave of prevention.

WFAD welcomes the operational recommendation on alternative development and fully support the initiative to promote inclusive economic growth and initiatives that contribute to poverty eradication and the sustainability of social and economic development. It is evident that we need not only to remove the cultivation of illicit drugs, we also need alternatives that improve people’s possibility to have a good life.

We welcome the connection to the sustainable development goals, there is a specific goal around substance abuse; (3.5) To strengthen prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol. This is the essence of the issue, we need to connect the world drug problem to sustainable development BUT when doing this we need to also remember that we still need specific interventions to reduce the use of drugs. We know that the need for treatment is unmet in many countries and prevention, to support and protect the youth of the world is not universal.

Substance use is an obstacle to development and poverty and lack of possibilities to improve life can be an engine for both trade of illicit drugs and use of illicit drugs.

As I mentioned WFAD has around 200 member organizations around the world, the majority of them are located in the global south and are working with BOTH specific initiatives on illicit drugs and more general development issues. For example Livelihood and Vocational skills Training to enhance socio-economic transformation of disadvantaged young people through advocacy, psychosocial and skills development for self-reliance and reintegration with their families. They work with street children, slum youths, juveniles, out of school youths and other disadvantaged groups to increase their possibilities to break the vicious circle of poverty, lack of opportunities and substance use.  The aim is to enable children to live a meaningful successful life, and to protect them from illicit drugs, all in line with the convention of the rights of the child.

WFAD is right now planning to start implementing cooperation project between our members that will contribute to regional cooperation and to address socioeconomic issues related to both production and consumption of illicit drugs on a local level. We know that many of our members are doing vital work and this work can be multiplied if they are connected to each other. We are therefore planning to gather our members and together do assessment to identify problem areas and use them to develop the work already being done. We are aware of some problems already, such as the lack of data in big areas of the world, access to resources and the problem of sustainability of many civil society organizations.

By capacity building and networking to shareexperiences, research, reports and emerging trends in the region we aim to increase our efforts to implement the many good strategies in the outcome document. And we of course need and wish for cooperation with member states. The outcome document also provided us with an important tool to demand action from you, to actively promote a society free from non-medical drug use and remind you about your determination to address public health safety and social problems resulting from drug abuse. I can promise you that we will continue to remind you about this.

Thank you for your attention.

17 October, 2016

Open letter to:
Karin Wanngård - Mayor of Stockholm
Åsa Lindhagen - Chair, Committee of Social welfare, Stockholm
Sara Pettigrew - Board member of ECAD, representing Stockholm

Regarding Stockholm’s discussion to leave ECAD
The signatories of this letter are concerned over the fact that Stockholm is considering leaving European Cities Against Drugs (ECAD), an organization it founded. We have been informed that one of the reasons for this potential withdrawal is concern that ECAD has lost its importance internationally.

Let us provide reflections on ECAD from our international perspective which stems from nations around the world.

ECAD is an important global voice for drug prevention. Some argue that prevention does not work, or think that instead of investing in prevention efforts we should put more of our limited resources on mitigating the effects of drugs. However, by being present on the international drug policy stage, ECAD has provided the world with clear examples of effective prevention from its member cities, showing that prevention does indeed work. Prevention gets at the root of the global drug problem by preventing and even delaying initiation to drug use, bringing tremendous cost savings to communities and nations worldwide. For these reasons it is of the utmost importance that we invest in prevention and that ECAD continue to lead on this front in the international debate as there are too few members of the civil society that can show good examples on a community level.

ECAD has also played a considerable role in shaping the debate about the roles of treatment and the criminal justice system in drug policy. Drug policy is not a choice between the systems of treatment and criminal justice; instead we must find ways to effectively use these two systems together that reduce drug use, increase access to and completion of drug treatment and limit incarceration. ECAD has been instrumental in identifying and promoting examples of how we can use the criminal justice system as a tool to promote and reinforce both prevention and treatment. Once again there are many useful examples of such effective policies and programs implemented at the local level from the ECAD members that must be shared on a global platform.

Finally, we want to emphasize that ECAD plays a critical role in the fight against the commercialization of cannabis which is financially backed by a powerful and growing cannabis industry. In the United States, three states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for recreational uses. In November, California and four other states will vote on similar legalization measures. We also see policy shifts in Europe moving in the same direction. For example in the Netherlands the parliament is currently discussing legalizing the production of cannabis. The outcome of the upcoming state-based initiatives in the US will influence the European cities. We strongly encourage Stockholm to remain in ECAD. Withdrawing from ECAD would cripple the organization and directly limit the ability of ECAD to work against the commercialization of cannabis and other drugs on the European market.
ECAD builds on and promotes the successful extension of the Swedish drug restrictive policy that links the criminal justice system and health care and that seldom uses incarceration.

1 States voting on the legalization of cannabis for recreational uses include: Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada. An additional four states will vote on measures related to the legalization of cannabis for medical uses include Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota.

Sincerely Yours,

Robert L. DuPont - MD, President, Institute for Behavior and Health, Former Director, National Institute on Drugs Abuse, USA

Linda Nilsson - Global voice of prevention, Civil Society Task Force for UNGASS 2016

Sven-Olov Carlsson - International President, World Federation Against Drugs

Boro Goic - Chairman, Recovered Users Network

Asia Ashraf - Hubert H. Humphrey Alumni, Head of Psychology Department and Director Rehabilitation, Sunny Trust, Pakistan

Mike Sabin - Former Member of Parliament, New Zealand

Jo Baxter - Executive Director, Drug Free Australia, Australia

Solomon Rataemane - Professor, Head Department of Psychiatry, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University (SMU), South Africa

Jon Sigfusson - Director, Youth in Europe – A Drug Prevention Program, Iceland

Inga Dora - CEO, Icelandic Centre for Social Research and Analysis, Iceland

Bertha K Madras - PhD, Professor, Dept. of Psychiatry, McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School, USA

Carmen Fernandez - General Director, Centros de Integracion Juvenil, A.C., Mexico

Mina Gerhardsen - Secretary General, Norwegian Policy Network on Alcohol and Drugs, Norway

Stig-Erik Sørheim - Chair EURAD – A network for prevention, treatment and recovery, Global coordinator Drug Policy Futures

Hans Lundborg - Ambassador, Former Chair of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, Sweden

Antonio Maria Costa - Former Executive Director, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

Kevin A. Sabet - Ph.D., President, Smart Approaches to Marijuana, Director, Drug Policy Institute, University of Florida, President, Policy Solutions Group, USA

Neil McKeganey - Ph.D., Director, Centre for Substance Use Disorder, UK

Patrick J. Kennedy - Former U.S. Representative and Honorary Advisor, Smart Approaches to Marijuana, USA

Yvonne Thunell - Chairman, Mentor International, Mentor Sverige, Sweden
Action. Now. That will make a difference.
A position paper in support of a balanced and effective drug policy towards 2019
Member states and civil society organizations from all over the world should use the years leading up to the next milestone in 2019 for one thing: National and local action and policy implementation. We don’t need more words, documents or commissions now.
Action is what is missing.
The UNGASS Outcome Document offers an excellent strategy for a comprehensive, balanced and effective policy to reduce drug use and its related harm – if words are made into action.
Using the next three years for a continued struggle over words will not make any difference for those who suffer from drug use, directly or indirectly. Three years of evidence-based interventions will.
It is not true that everything has been tried and nothing works. Many interventions do work. The problem is that most of them are not used by governments. UNGASS 2016 should be the turning point. Action is also needed to achieve the ambitious targets in the Sustainable Development Goals.
The signatories to this appeal suggest the following priority areas for action till 2019 and beyond:
Focus on universal prevention: The first component of a comprehensive, balanced and effective drug policy is prevention. The UNODC International Standards on Drug Use Prevention offers a wide range of evidence-based primary prevention interventions. Prevention is effective, humane, cost-effective and empowering. Effective drug prevention will contribute to the reduction also in other social problems. Prevention solves problems before they ever occur.
Mobilize a million communities: Prevention efforts are even more effective when they are combined, when they interact and when they are implemented by local communities. This is where the people are, this is where social interaction takes place. UNGASS should invite local communities all over the world to join in a global wave of prevention. One million communities could be reached before 2019.
Use alternative measures: Several countries have already implemented an array of diversion programs instead of using incarceration or fines as reaction to minor drug offences, including dissuasion commissions, youth contracts, drug courts and rehabilitation programs for drug users. More countries should follow suit. Many of those programs have shown promising results. Experiences should be shared internationally.
Support alternative development: A development approach aimed at improving people’s quality of life is needed in order to mobilize local communities where coca, poppies or cannabis are produced. The most conflict-ridden countries in Latin America and Asia need support from the international community. Donor countries should secure increased funding for alternative development programs in the coming years and see this as a long-term commitment.
Offer treatment and rehabilitation programs: Based on a principle of non-discrimination, all people with drug use disorders must have access to a wide range of knowledge-based treatment approaches, rehabilitation and social reintegration programs. Such services must aim at maximizing the affected individuals’ possibility for recovery, including people around the users.
An action plan for essential medicines: UNODC and WHO should invite member states to develop an action plan for securing access to essential medicines with the aim to show tangible results already before 2019. Such access is one of the key objectives of the UN drug conventions. An action plan must identify unnecessary obstacles and interventions to remove them, as well as secure funding for these interventions.
Implement the principle of proportionality: Reactions to drug related offences must be in proportion to the crime committed. The drug conventions do not demand incarceration for drug users, rather they encourage prevention, treatment and rehabilitation as alternatives. Militarization of law enforcement and other inhumane and disproportionate approaches, including the use of capital punishment for drug-related offences, should be abolished as they are not in accordance with the spirit of UN conventions.
This statement is supported by an alliance of networks covering
more than 300 NGOs from all over the world:
Drug Policy Futures       European Cities Against Drugs    IOGT International
Smart Approaches to Marijuana  World Federation Against Drugs
Active – Sobriety, Friendship and Peace    Recovered Users Network
EURAD – A network for prevention, treatment and recovery
Actis – Norwegian Policy Network on Alcohol and Drugs
FORUT – Campaign for Development and Solidarity
The biggest meeting to discuss the world drug problem in nearly 20 years will start next week, the United Nations General Assembly Special Session, UNGASS.  

The agenda for the meetings, as well as the proposed outcome document and the list of side events can be found here. The discussion will be broadcasted so it is possible to follow it live here.

The Civil Society Task Force, CSTF, will host a Civil Society Forum the day before the UGNASS begins, April 18 from 10am to 1 am. The aim of the Forum is to present the findings of the CSTF global consultations with civil society, to provide valuable input on priorities and recommendations from grass-root organizations. More information and the full agenda for the Forum can be found here.

At the UNGASS WFAD is co-hosting two side events; 
  • The Social and Economic Advantages of investing in Recovery. Organized by San Patrignano, WFAD, Eurad, Recovered Users Network and ECAD, April 20 at 2.30 in Conference room B
  • Alternative Legal Regimes for Cannabis: what are the Public Health and Society Impacts. Organized by Community Alliance for Drug Free Youth, Smart Approaches to Marijuana, WFAD and ECAD, April 21, 5.30 in Conference room B.

One of the most important issues that we have identified to be addressed at the UNGASS meeting is the need to put words into action, and we are not alone on this. The statement below that we will shared at UNGASS is supported by an alliance of networks covering more than 300 NGOs from all over the world.

Action. Now. That will make a difference. A position paper in support of a balanced and effective drug policy towards 2019

Page 3 of 6