World Federation Against Drugs


Adopted at the founding meeting May 19, 2009, held in Stockholm, Sweden.

Revised at the Board meeting on June 26, 2009

Revised and approved by the Congress on June 14th, 2022 in Gothenburg, Sweden


The World Federation Against Drugs is a multilateral community of non-governmental organizations and individuals. Founded in 2009, the aim of WFAD is to work for a society free from the non-medical use of narcotic drugs.

The work of WFAD is built on the principles of universal fellowship and basic human and democratic rights. We believe that working towards a drug-free world will promote peace and human development, dignity, democracy, tolerance, equality, freedom and justice.

The WFAD recognizes that civil society has the right to fact-based information about the risks and damage caused by drugs. All people have the right to be protected from the harm created by illicit drugs.

The WFAD adheres to the Declaration of WFAD (appendix 1)


The WFAD has its office in Stockholm, Sweden.   

Country and/or liaison offices shall abide by the constitution and report to the board of WFAD.                          


The WFAD comprises organizations, institutions and individuals who accept and observe the conditions for membership. The WFAD may grant or refuse membership and has final jurisdiction as regards the membership of such organizations, in accordance with this Constitution.

Membership requires an annual fee as determined by the International Board.

1. Full Membership

Full membership in the WFAD may be granted to any organization, any institution, or any foundation, that:

• Fully endorse the WFAD platform;
• Requires its members to lead a life free from the use of illicit drugs;
• Is registered as a not-for-profit organization according to the national legislation of the applying organization;
• Conducts activities related to the values, priorities and activities of WFAD.

Special consideration can be given and exemptions granted on the basis of the organizations’ involvement as social enterprise contributors and/or civil society improvement activities.

Member organizations shall have full voting rights in the WFAD Congress (from this point on known as ‘Congress’) and their members are eligible to hold any office within the WFAD.

2. Individual Membership

Individuals may be granted membership to the WFAD if they endorse the WFAD platform. They shall have no voting rights in the Congress but may speak and are eligible to hold any office within WFAD.

Individual membership may be granted by the International Board of WFAD.

3. Admission to Membership

A two-thirds majority of votes cast at an ordinary Congress in session is required to admit any new full member. Pro tempore membership, valid until the next Congress, may be granted by a majority vote of the International Board.

4. Termination of Membership

Membership in WFAD may be revoked/suspended by a majority vote of the International Board if there is evidence of a violation of membership conditions. Such a decision by the International Board is subject to approval by a majority at the following Congress, after which membership in WFAD is finally terminated. A WFAD member is deemed suspended from the date a majority of the International Board votes to revoke/suspend such member from the organization.


1. The Congress

The Congress shall meet every other year at an agreed time and venue. The Congress may meet virtually.

2. Quorum of the Congress

At least half of the registered delegates must be present to form a quorum of the Congress.

3. Convening of the Congress

The Congress shall be convened by notice given to its membership by the International Board. Any such notice shall be in writing and shall include the time and place of the Congress, a draft agenda, and the number of delegates each organization is entitled to send. Such notice shall be given no later than four months prior to the date of the Congress.

The agenda and the documents for the Congress shall be sent one month prior to the opening of the Congress.

4. Extraordinary Congress

An extraordinary Congress can be convened when the International Board so decides or when at least one-third of the members with full membership have requested this in writing.

In the event of an extraordinary Congress, at least three months’ written notice shall be given to the membership, together with an agenda listing the matters to be discussed. No other business shall be transacted at an extraordinary Congress session.

5. Representation

The Congress shall be a representative body consisting of delegates. Each full member of the WFAD shall be entitled to send one delegate to the Congress.

All members are permitted to attend the proceedings of the Congress and any member may speak by special permission of the presiding officer. Only delegates and members of the International Board are entitled to make motions.

The names of the Congress delegates shall be submitted to the International Board no later than 14 days prior to the opening of the Congress. In the event of names not being submitted and no satisfactory explanation given to the Congress, the organization concerned may, by decision of the Congress, lose its right to vote.

6. Voting Procedures

A simple majority of the votes cast is required for decisions to be binding on Congress, except where a two-thirds majority of the vote is required by the Constitution. Abstentions or invalid votes are not counted. The President shall not vote except in the case of a tie vote. In cases where the President does not exercise the tie-breaking vote, the matter shall be decided by drawing lots. Elections shall be conducted by secret ballot if one or more of the delegates request it.

7. Congress Agenda

The agenda shall include the following items:

a.     Opening and approval of the agenda

b.     Election of officers

c.      Admission of new member organisations

d.     Selection of congressional committees

e.     Reports from the International Board

f.      Financial reports and the auditor’s report

g. Discharge of Liability of the International Board

h.     Motions

i.     Plan of Action

j.      Election of International President

k.      Election of  International Board

l.      Election of auditor

m.      Election of Nominating Committee

n.    Statements from the Congress

o.     Time and venue for the next Congress

p. Other Business

q.     Closing

Motions or other items for consideration by the Congress shall be submitted to the International Board not later than two months prior to the opening of the Congress. In cases of urgent matters, the International Board can place items on the agenda.

After an ordinary or extraordinary Congress, the International Board shall publish the journal of proceedings and provide member organizations, regional councils and officers with a copy.

To be elected as an officer of the International Board the candidate must have received a majority of all the votes cast, unless there is only one nominee for an office, in which case the presiding officer, after asking if there are any further nominations, shall declare the nominee elected to the office.

8.  Nominations Committee

The Congress shall elect a Nominations Committee of three to six members and shall hold office until the next Congress. This committee shall organize the process of nominations and election to the International Board.

The Nomination Committee should work for a balanced board to represent both different regions and sub-regions of the world as well as the different perspectives of drug policy and gender balance.

9.  The International Board

The International Board shall represent the following world regions:




Latin America

North America


Each region shall have one representative on the International Board and one Deputy Board member. The Congress shall elect to the International Board one (1) International President (IP), six (6) Board members and six (6) Deputy Board members. If a Board member cannot function, or chooses not to function, the Deputy Board member can act on the behalf of the Board member. Board members shall serve until the end of the next Congress.

The International Board shall appoint from its membership an International Vice President and a Secretary.

The International Board may meet virtually.

In the event of incapacitation of a board member to act as a board member, the President has the authority to act as proxy or to appoint a proxy from the region until the next Congress of WFAD.

10.  Audits

The auditor shall on an annual basis audit the accounts of the WFAD. The auditor shall examine the accounts and other financial records, the assets of the organization and ensure that the instructions of the Congress are observed. The auditor shall report to the next ordinary Congress. The auditing of accounts may be delegated to a firm of auditors by a special decision of the Congress. In that case, the Board shall appoint the firm.


Member organizations are encouraged to set up Committees to facilitate an effective network among affiliates; to encourage mutual support by exchanging information, organizing workshops and initiating joint projects. Committees are encouraged to find their own financial support.

The Committee links the International Board and the member organizations and coordinates work in the region or in a field. The Committees may have an office if approved by the International Board. Committees of WFAD shall abide by this Constitution.


The fiscal year shall commence on January 1st and end on December 31st. The International Board shall make a full report of receipts and expenditures, including a balance sheet, for each fiscal year and present it to the next ordinary Congress. The International Board shall decide upon a budget for the coming period until the next ordinary Congress.


This Constitution shall not be altered except on a proposal made in writing by the International Board or a full member. Any proposed amendment shall be sent to the International Board two months prior to the opening of the next ordinary Congress. The International Board shall communicate any such amendment to all member organizations at least one month before the date of the Congress. A two-thirds majority of the delegates attending and voting is required for the adoption of an amendment. Adoption of an amendment to the Constitution may be at an ordinary or an extraordinary meeting of the Congress.


The WFAD can only be dissolved by a 2/3 vote of the International Board and the Congress.


Any legal disputes or legal interpretations shall be according to the law of Sweden.


Declaration of the World Forum Against Drugs

Stockholm Sweden, September 10, 2008 – Revised in Gothenburg, Sweden, June 14th, 2022

World Federation Against Drugs (WFAD) is a multilateral community of non-governmental organizations and individuals. WFAD was founded in Sweden in 2009 with the aim to work for a society free from non-medical use of narcotic drugs through strengthening prevention and other demand reduction measures as well as increasing access to treatment and promoting recovery

The work of WFAD is built on the principles of universal fellowship and basic human and democratic rights. We believe that working for a society free from non-medical user of narcotic drugs will promote peace, human development, democracy, tolerance, freedom and justice. All people have the right to be protected from the harms created by illicit drug use. Furthermore, people with substance use disorders (SUD) have the right to live productive, drug-free lives; and should be supported in their recovery journey.

The UN Conventions on Drugs(1) and the 2016 UNGASS resolution supports and informs the work of the World Federation Against Drugs. The UN conventions provide an ideal platform for international cooperation. In order to reduce the global demand for and supply of illicit drugs, we urge all people to work with their governments to strengthen, support, and encourage the UN drug control system including the Office of Drugs and Crime, the International Narcotics Control Board, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, the Economic and Social Council, and the World Health Organization. The work of the UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) and the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) are essential to international cooperation and drug demand and supply reduction efforts.

WFAD supports the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which stipulates in Article 33 that children have the right to be protected from illicit drugs. All people, governments, and organizations should commit themselves to preventing drug abuse among young people. Ensuring that schools are drug free is just one example of how this can be achieved.

Women have equal rights to prevention, treatment, and recovery services and to be free from drug-related harms. Women may experience stigmatization, drug-related gender-based violence and other harms as a result of drug use. Support should be provided in counteracting these harms. Women who seek treatment for drug use should have equal ability to gain access to and benefit from treatment, which should include gender-sensitive and trauma-informed support services. WFAD endorses the CEDAW convention and aims to ensure a gender perspective in all areas of our work.

A balanced policy of evidence-based substance use prevention, education, treatment, recovery, law enforcement, research, and supply reduction provide the most effective platform to reduce drug abuse and its associated harms.

WFAD supports drug policy that aims to prevent drug-related problems from occurring through upstream intervention approaches that prevent the initiation of drug use in young people. Drug policies should protect children from drug use. Thus, WFAD strongly rejects the normalization of youth drug use while simultaneously encouraging a childhood and adolescence that is free from the use of alcohol, nicotine, cannabis or any other drugs, except for reasons of health.

The explicit goal of all services providing treatment and rehabilitation for people with substance use disorders (SUD) is to support towards achieving abstinence and long-term recovery. WFAD views harm reduction as part of a continuum of care with treatment, recovery and social integration as the endpoint. Treatment is not successful without social reintegration. Therefore, rather than solely addressing the addiction itself, treatment services must integrate effectively with a wider range of health care and social support services, a recovery-oriented system of care.

There is a strong link between SUDs and other mental health issues. WFAD strongly advocates the development of policies that aim to reduce the impact of mental and substance use disorders on affected communities. We urge governments to implement programs that prevent and treat mental and substance use disorders while providing support for people seeking treatment or are in recovery.

The WFAD urge the public, private, and non-profit sectors to enter into cooperative agreements to reduce deaths from drug overdoses by sharing data, purchasing and distributing naloxone, and educating the public about overdose prevention while recommending improvements to overdose prevention programs. Treatment systems should be strengthened and expanded so that those who survive a drug overdose are immediately offered treatment and a chance at long-term recovery.

Proportionality in sentencing and alternatives to incarceration should be prioritized by Member States. WFAD supports linking the criminal justice system to health care to enable people to achieve positive goals that neither treatment nor the criminal justice system can achieve alone. Alternative sanctions that support recovery and reduce incarceration for drug-related offenses should be developed. The criminal justice system can become a powerful engine of recovery; alternative sanctions should empower people to reintegrate into society and lead productive, drug-free and crime-free lives.

WFAD opposes the use of the death penalty for violations of laws prohibiting or regulating the possession, use, distribution, and manufacture of illicit drugs. We urge all Member States to respect human rights and the right to a fair trial.

WFAD supports improving access to controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes in accordance with national and international legislation and regulatory systems. WFAD opposes all “medical use” of substances regulated in the international drug conventions that have not been subjected to scientific study for efficacy and safety by the relevant scientific and governmental agencies.

Illicit drugs greatly harm developing countries. 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. WFAD supports alternative development initiatives to provide sustainable livelihood to communities that cultivate illicit drugs.

WFAD is not in favour of illicit/psychotropic drug use (as defined in the UN Conventions) that is not medically approved. Thus, WFAD strongly opposes the legalization of such drugs for recreational purposes. Drug abuse is a global problem that harms a vast number of people including the victims of drug-related crimes, the people who use drugs themselves, and their families, friends, employers, and communities.

WFAD supports the goal of a society free from the non-medical use of narcotic drugs. Such a goal is neither utopian nor impossible. Too often, we seem to act according to what we think is possible, rather than what is necessary or desirable.


The Basic Principles of the World Federation Against Drugs

a. We support the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which stipulates in Article 33 that children have the right to be protected from drug abuse.

b. All people have the right to expect their governments and civil society to help them and their families to be free from drug abuse.

c. A balanced policy of drug abuse prevention, education, treatment, law enforcement, research, and supply reduction provides the most effective platform to reduce drug abuse and its associated harms.

d. We support the UN Drug Conventions of 1961, 1971 and 1988 because they provide for a unified and cooperative effort in fighting drug abuse.

e. All drug abuse programmes should have the goals of preventing drug use or of helping drug users be drug-free. Harm reduction programmes should not be carried out at the expense of other demand-reduction and deterrence and prevention programmes.

f. The misinformed classification of drugs as “soft” or “hard” must cease. Extensive research confirms that the use of cannabis, or any other illicit drug, is detrimental to health, causes crime, and has the potential to be addictive.

g. We oppose all forms of legalization for illicit/psychotropic drugs as such policies do not withstand critical evaluation, tend to run contrary to general experience, and violate the international U.N. Drug Conventions of 1961, 1971 and 1988.

h. Drug abuse and trafficking greatly harm developing countries. The demand for drugs must be reduced throughout the world. Assistance must be provided to reduce drug use, abuse and trafficking in developing countries.

i. Women have equal rights to be free from drug-related harms as they experience drug-related gender-based violence and other harms as a result of drug use. Women who seek treatment for drug use should have equal ability to gain access to and benefit from treatment.