Activity

Speech at the Inauguration of the 6th World Forum Against Drugs, Monday, 14 May 2018, Gothenburg, Sweden
Mr. Sven-Olov Carlsson, International President, World Federation Against Drugs Sven-Olov Calrsson 2
 
Your Excellencies, Honored Guests, Prominent Speakers and Moderators, Distinguished Delegates and Friends,
 
Ten years ago, 2008, the first World Forum Against Drugs took place in Stockholm, Sweden.

One of our major goals with the Forum was to reach out to non-governmental organizations on all continents and invite their members to a world conference where they could share experiences and talk about a vision of a drug-free world.

The Forum was a success.

One of the outcomes of the first Forum was that The World Federation Against Drugs (WFAD) was established 2009 as a global non-governmental organization. In 2010 World Federation Against Drugs organized the 2nd World Forum Against Drugs. Every second year thereafter we have organized World Forum Against Drugs 2012, 2014, 2016 and now 2018, the 6th World Forum Against Drugs here in Gothenburg take place.

I would like to thank Her Majesty Queen Silvia in particular for her willingness and support in being the patron for this 6th World Forum Against Drugs as well as the Forum’s we have organized before. Her Majesty’s support is very important and is highly valuated. I would also like to extend our sincere thanks to the Swedish Government, Ministry of Health and the City of Gothenburg for their financial support to enable this Forum.

The World Federation Against Drugs (WFAD) is a global multilateral community of non-governmental organizations and individuals. The aim of World Federation Against Drugs is to work for a drug-free world. The members of World Federation Against Drugs share a common concern that illicit drug use is undercutting traditional values and threatening the existence of stable families, communities, and government institutions throughout the world.

We have since 2009 built a global network of non-governmental organizations and individuals and today we have more than 200 member organizations from all over the world. The members are different in size, areas of work, political priorities but they all support the vision of a society free from the non-medical use of narcotic drugs.

The work of the World Federation Against Drugs is built on the principles of universal fellowship and basic human and democratic rights. We believe that working for a drug-free World will promote peace and human development and dignity, democracy, tolerance, equality, freedom and justice. WFAD supports and is guided by the 1961, 1971 and 1988 UN drug control conventions as well as the UNGASS outcome document from 2016.

WFAD regards the non-medicinal use of narcotic substances, including cannabis, as a severe public health problem that creates significant problems for individuals, families, communities, nations and the society at large. Cannabis is an addictive and impairing drug that and can cause both physical and mental health problems. The discussion on cannabis should therefore be around how we can reduce the non-medical use of cannabis.

Instead of this public health approach, we see a worrying trend to move towards legalizing cannabis for non-medical or recreational purposes.

Legalizing cannabis will result in more cannabis use, an outcome not in line with the intentions of the conventions. Increased cannabis use will result in more people suffering from adverse health and mental problems from cannabis. Prevalence of cannabis use disorders will increase. This is in part because legalization invites the creation of a commercial for-profit industry – Big Marijuana – that is incentivized to cultivate life-long cannabis users.

I have no doubt that Big Marijuana like that of Big Tobacco or Big Alcohol will find efficient distribution channels and marketing strategies to reach users of all ages of their addictive products. Efficient distribution will increase availability of the drug, its social acceptability, and as a result, increase its use.

Although frequent cannabis users are in minority, they consume the majority of the cannabis used. The growing cannabis industry is dependent on frequent users to make high profits, and as a result will target the most vulnerable populations in their marketing.

An important statement that needs to be said at every meeting, and repeated over and over again while discussing the world drug problem is that the World’s poorest communities are the most vulnerable to the harms of drug use and trade.
Experience tells us that a balanced and restrictive drug policy limits the problem of drug abuse. The key to success is to prevent the problem, the success of treatment is rather limited although treatment must be a part of a balanced policy.
The strength of the international drug control system is its universality. But drug policies are too important to be left to drug experts and to governments alone. It is a society-wide responsibility that requires society-wide engagement.

- This means working with children, starting from parents and teachers, to ensure that they develop self-esteem.
- This means supporting family-based programmes because prevention begins at home.
- This means advocacy.

As non-governmental organizations we can play a crucial and a very important role in this matter.

The future of an improved drug policy is not to legalize intoxicating, abusable drugs, including cannabis.

It is in the development of a balanced, restrictive drug policy that prevents drug use, and that intervenes with drugs users to provide them with a path to life-long recovery. Instead of legalizing drugs, an enlightened drug policy can harness the criminal justice system to thwart drug markets, facilitate entry into treatment and restrict incarceration to egregious offenders. The criminal law against illegal drug use is a major public health strategy to reduce drug abuse and the many health, safety and productivity losses imposed by drug abuse.

These are the elements of a successful drug policy. This drug policy makes clear that drug use is unacceptable.

Thank you for your attention!
Jo Baxter, Vice President of WFAD and Director for Oceania has produced a regional report on illicit drugs for WFAD 2018. 
The conclusion? Demand is the key driver of drug use, the culture of demand can be changed. 

"Only clear and unambiguous policy frameworks, along with policy implementation which ensures Demand Reduction and Prevention – along with effective drug exiting Recovery Programs – will see the health, community and familial outcomes that societies focused on reducing drug use can achieve" 

Read the whole report here.  


On May 7, 2018, INCB held a meeting with representatives from the civil society on the topic of medical and non-medical user of cannabis. 

WFAD was one of the representatives that was invited to share our opinion on the use of cannabis for medical and non-medical use. 

Below is the statement that was delivered by Linda Nilsson. 

The Use of Cannabis for Medical and Non-Medical Purposes

Dear board and secretariat of INCB, dear colleagues form the civil society,

Thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak to you today and give our input on the use of cannabis for medical and non-medical purposes. I welcome this discussion and the inclusion of civil society as a vital part of the discussion.

I represent World Federation Against Drugs, an umbrella organization consisting of over 200 member organization from all over the world. The members of WFAD are different in size, areas of work, political priorities but we all support the vision of a society free from the non-medical use of narcotic drugs.

WFAD supports and is guided by the 1961, 1971 and 1988 UN drug control conventions as well as the UNGASS outcome document form 2016. As the monitoring and supporting body of the UN international drug control treaties, INCB has an important task to assist member states to implement the conventions in the best possible way. I will do my best to raise some of the voices from our membership on this topic. The majority of WFAD members are from the global south. I will focus my remarks on the consequences of legalization and commercialization of non-medial cannabis for vulnerable populations.

WFAD regards the non-medicinal use of narcotic substances, including cannabis, as a severe public health problem that creates significant problems for individuals, families, communities, nations and the society at large. Cannabis is an addictive and impairing drug that and can cause both physical and mental health problems.

The discussion on cannabis should therefore be around how we can reduce the non-medical use of cannabis.

Instead of this public health approach, we see a worrying trend to move towards legalizing cannabis for non-medical or recreational purposes. Legalizing cannabis will result in more cannabis use, an outcome not in line with the intentions of the conventions. Increased cannabis use will result in more people suffering from adverse health and mental problems from cannabis. Prevalence of cannabis use disorders will increase. This is in part because legalization invites the creation of a commercial for-profit industry – Big Marijuana – that is incentivized to cultivate life-long cannabis users. I have no doubt that Big Marijuana like that of Big Tobacco will find efficient distribution channels and marketing strategies to reach users of all ages of their addictive products. Efficient distribution will increase availability of the drug, its social acceptability, and as a result, increase its use.

Although frequent cannabis users are in minority, they consume the majority of the cannabis used. The growing cannabis industry is dependent on frequent users to make high profits, and as a result will target the most vulnerable populations in their marketing.
An important statement that needs to be said at every meeting, and repeated over and over again while discussing the world drug problem is that the World’s poorest communities are the most vulnerable to the harms of drug use and trade.

Addiction affects all people the same. But without protective factors in place, the most vulnerable are more likely to become addicted. It is harder for these populations to get the help and support they need for treatment and paths to recovery within a society lacking resources. Worldwide, only one in six people suffering from addiction is able to get treatment. This is a deeply worrying fact that we need to deal with today -- not taking policy actions like legalization of marijuana that will increase the number of people in need of treatment.
When the rich countries of the world today are unable to adequately address the problems associated with drugs, including cannabis, how
can we expect the poorer countries to do so?

Another question we need to ask us is if changing cannabis policy is where we should allocate our resources in a society that needs resources to provide school and basic health care to the population. Taxes from legal cannabis products will not be the answer to this, simply because there are no taxes to collect in poorer communities. Even in rich countries, taxes made off legal drugs (alcohol and tobacco) are obscured by their public health costs. We can already see the problems with regulating the alcohol industry in vulnerable communities. I see no reason to think that it will be easier to regulate the profit-seeking cannabis industry. Once unleashed, the marketing and advertising of cannabis will be hard to push back.

Individuals from upper and middle classes are the ones pushing for cannabis legalization, but the most vulnerable individuals and communities are the ones paying the price.

I urge you to take this into consideration when discussing non-medical use of cannabis. Legalizing and promoting the use of drugs, including cannabis, do not help the vulnerable communities. These actions harm them.

I also want to stress one more obligation we have: the need to protect children. This is one of the most important duties of society, they are our future. It is why the Convention on the Rights of the Child is one of the most widely ratified human rights treaties. 
It is also why Article 33 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child requires states to take all appropriate measures to protect children from the illicit use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and to prevent the use of children in the illicit production of such substances.

Protecting children from illicit drug use is hence not an option for states; it is an obligation.

The recommendation of WFAD is therefore to use the knowledge and science we have today with a clear aim to reduce the use of cannabis for non-medical use. We must not accept and promote more non-medical use of this drug.

To be able to do that we need to focus on prevention. We know what works. UNODC and WHO released an updated version of the international standards on prevention during the CND in March. It is possible, but we need action and determination to do it. We therefore urge the international community to mobilize communities to prevent the non-medical use of cannabis. We also urge INCB to continue to monitor and support member states’ compliance to the international drug conventions. The conventions are the cornerstone of the international drug policy. And they should be implemented with full respect for the human rights.

I therefore urge you to put health first, for the whole world and not just for the ones with enough protective factors around them to be able to cope with increased availability of cannabis. We, as adults and part of the rich world need and have an obligation to protect the children and the other vulnerable populations.

Finally, I would like to remind you that alcohol and tobacco cause more suffering, costs and death, simply because they are more available. It is both greedy and without innovation to put profit first and to add another substance to this list of legal drugs.
Thank you.
 
Click here to read more and register!

The City of Gothenburg and the World Federation Against Drugs have the honor to invite you to the 25th ECAD Mayors’ Conference and the 6th World Forum Against Drugs, two important events that will take place jointly on May 14-15 in Gothenburg, Sweden. International cooperation on drug policy faces many challenges. The UN Drug Conventions are clear on what goals drug preventive work must have. Still, there are different views on how this work should be carried out in practice.

The Gothenburg events will go in-depth on the best practices and strategies for implementing the updated international standards for prevention. More specifically, we will learn more about recovery as a goal for treatment, how the criminal justice system can work with providers of treatment and other services for drug users, why it is important to take gender aspects into consideration when providing treatment – just to mention some of the topics. We look forward to seeing you all in Gothenburg.

Ann-Sofie Hermansson
Mayor, City of Gothenburg

Sven-Olov Carlsson
International President, World Federation Against Drugs



National conference in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Recovery from substance dependence – shift in drug policy and practice

Choose Recovery is a project with three WFAD members in the Balkan region; Celebrate Recovery from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Izlazak in Serbia and Preporod in Montenegro. The project will be implemented during three years with overall project objective to strengthen the society’s responses towards people who use drugs and people affected by drug abuse and thereby improve their position in society.

One of the problematic issues identified in the region is the lack of cooperation between different actors dealing with the problem of addiction. The project is therefore gathering all the actors in the field to discuss the possibilities and obstacles for people to recover in the region. On December 11th the project partner in Bosnia and Herzegovina invited all relevant actors in Bosnia and Herzegovina to the conference “Recovery from substance dependence – shift in drug policy and practice”.

The conference was hosted by the Ministry of Security in the Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The conference gathered over 80 participants from 44 different governmental and non-governmental organizations from Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region.

The participants and the guests were welcomed by Ognjen Zekic from the Ministry of Security Department for Drug Abuse who highlighted the importance of cooperation. A new National Drug Strategy has been drafted in Bosnia and Herzegovina and is now in the process of being approved in the Parliament. The Strategy has been developed together with the civil society and one of the partners has been the project partner Celebrate Recovery.

The chair of Celebrate Recovery, Boro Goic, presented the project “Choose Recovery” addressing problems and the possibilities in the society to enable recovery. Within the project a survey has been done in all three countries on the public opinion on addiction and recovery. The survey shows that too big portion of the public in the three countries doubt that it is possible to recover from addiction and fully integrate into the society. The project aims to continue work on the public opinion and also on the practical tools in the society to enable recovery.

The Croatian office for combating drug abuse was also present at the conference to share the Croatian model of reintegrating into society. The model has been implemented for the last ten years and offers social support for people in recovery to find employment. Over 1000 persons have been taking part in the project and over 500 have completed their education through this program. The Croatian government is very pleased with the results, both in personal development of the individuals involved in the program but also with the resources they save in getting people back as contributing members of the society.

All speakers at the conference stressed that detox and treatment for drug addiction is not the goal, it is rather the beginning and more resources are needed for the social support to enable people to return to society. Hence there is a good foundation for the continuation of the work to be done on the local level in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
 
 
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!

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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.
From 19th to 20th October 2017 the African Youth Initiative on Crime Prevention AYICRIP in partnership with the Civil Society Network on Substance and Drug Abuse CSNetSDA organized her Annual National Youth Summit on Drugs and Substance Abuse Prevention in Nigeria with the theme: ‘Drugs and substance abuse, an impediment to youth development and national productivity’ at the former SGF Office in the centre of unity, Abuja, Nigeria.  The Summit which is the 3rd edition saw the participation of 227 youth leaders from the National Youth Service Corps, Universities, Communities, Secondary Schools, Faith Based Institutions and the Civil Society Organizations within the country with the aim of appraising the fight against drug/substance abuse and illicit trafficking among young people and proffer suggestions on the way forward.

The summit was chaired by Mr Jake Epelle, President of Albino Foundation while Dr Sintiki Tarfa Ugbe, Director, Gender, Youth and Drug Control of ECOWAS who was represented by Mr Daniel Amankwa delivered the keynote address. The Director General of the National Orientation Agency who was represented by Mr Onoja Attah, Deputy Director, Public Education and Enlightenment presented a goodwill message. Our resource persons and facilitators were experts drawn from the academia and our partner organizations which include the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, United Nations Office on Drug and Crime, UNODC, ECOWAS, United Religious Initiative, URI, PADDI Foundation, YouthArise, International Centre for Leadership Development in Nigeria, Centre for Development of Institutions, CDI, University of Jos and Global Initiative for Rural Health (GIRH).

The participants were trained on prevention, sensitization, counselling and advocacy skills which reflect world best practices in the global fight against illicit trafficking, drug and substance abuse prevention. The summit also covered topics that educated the youths on the health, social and economic implications, consequences and repercussions associated with illicit drug trafficking, drug and substance abuse among young people. Participants were also trained on how to mobilize through advocacy their law makers (State and National Assembly Members) to make appropriate drug and substance abuse prevention.

As part of the activities, the participants re-enforced their commitment in the fight against drug and substance abuse by showing a red card to illicit drug trafficking and drug and substance abuse in Nigeria and two invited secondary schools, Loyola Jesuit and Wisdom Field Academy took part in a debate competition and school presentation and this session gave the participants another great insight on the level of involvement of young people in the fight against drug and substance abuse.

The participants were advised to intensify effort and action in the campaign against illicit trafficking and substance abuse considering the negative effect it has on the lives and image of our youths, community and country. Participants agreed that it is no longer acceptable to see young Nigerians languish in rehabilitation homes and prisons while some are executed abroad because of drug and substance related cases.

The two day summit saw the presence of hundreds of young people from different backgrounds that significantly interacted with the speakers and among themselves. Young secondary school students were at the centre of the events: through the debates and discussions they expressed their minds on drug and substance abuse issue, and that edified the audience on how important is listening to the mid-level students that constitute the main affected part of the youth as far as drug and substance abuse is concerned.

Almost all the speakers pointed out the weak family education, peer pressure, widespread poverty and unemployment being the major causes of drugs abuse in West Africa. The solutions ranged from the restoration of family moral values, the training of peer educators, the introduction of drugs issues in school curricula to the maintenance and sustainability of the Rehabilitation Centres. The NDLEA got the occasion to reaffirm their availability to Nigerian youth for counselling and sensitization, this role coming before any penalty to the drug users. The Project Coordinator of ECOWAS Drug Control Unit emphasized on the strong family bonds as a prevention method against drugs abuse; the Government being in charge of setting up and applying laws to curb drugs and substance abuse that is one main impediment to youth development. In the long run, if not solved, the scourge of drug will have a very negative impact on the West African economy. The UNODC warned the audience on the dangers of drugs and substance abuse on their physical and mental health that jeopardizes their future.

As part of the resolutions, it was agreed that drug and substance abuse among young people is on the rise and every citizen, CSOs, Corporate organizations and the government must rise up to the challenge without which the situation will be worst. That prevention, sensitization and advocacy campaign approach must be considered above any other form of approach based on the fact that if objective and adequate prevention campaign is done, there will be no need for rehabilitation and treatment

That government should stop paying lip services in the fight against drugs and substance abuse prevention by way of creating jobs for young people, enforce already promulgated laws and policies where necessary, as well as provide adequate funding for the Drug Law Enforcement Agencies and Civil Society Organizations to enable them increase their capacity and facilities for effectiveness and increased productivity. That drug abuse victims should be treated as patients and not criminals considering their mental state and poor sense of judgement which leaves them at a helpless and mercy state.
That National Drug Law Enforcement Agency and government should formulate a rewarding system in form of drug prevention Ambassador or Champion to encourage young people who are committed to the prevention, sensitization and advocacy campaign against drug trafficking and abuse. And government should build recreational facilities and centres that will meaningfully engage the strength and energy of young people thereby diverting their energies from drugs and substance abuse.

The summit participants appreciated the commitment of ECOWAS, UNODC and other partners in the drug and substance abuse prevention project which has become a bane at our country’s development. The participants called on government, ECOWAS and the UNODC to increase their support for summit of this nature to enable AYICRIP and other NGOs take the campaign to other states and countries within the West African Sub –Region. 
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NATIONAL WORKSHOP ON DRUG LEGISLATIONS AND POLICIES

Theme: “Evolving Effective Domestic Drug Legislations and Policies towards attaining the Sustainable Development Goals”
Date: Monday, 24th July 2017-07-27
Venue: Committee Room 244, National Assembly Complex, Abuja, Nigerira.

Communiqué

The Workshop was organized by People Against Drug Dependence and Ignorance in collaboration with the Committee on Drugs and Narcotics, House of Representatives.

The Deputy Chairman of the House Committee on Drugs and Narcotics, Hon. Kehinde Agboola, representing the Chairman of the Committee, Hon (Mrs) Eucharia Okwunna, declared the Workshop open. In his address, Hon. Agboola looked forward to the Workshop coming up with actionable recommendation that will assist the National and State Legislatures evolve appropriate, sustainable and practical Legislations and Policies on Substance abuse related matters. The First Ladies of Ondo and Imo States presented Goodwill Messages and likewise expressed expectations that their expectations from the Workshop. Presentations at the Workshop were by Ms. Cristina Albertin, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) Country Representative in Nigeria and Eze Eluchie, Esq., the Executive Director of People Against Drugs and Representative for Sub Sahara Africa on the Civil Society Task Force on the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the Worlds Drug Problems (CSTF-UNGASS).

Conscious of the fact that the three major international drug control treaties, to wit: the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961 as amended by the 1971 Protocols; Convention on Psychotropic Substances 1971; and the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988, represent substantive international benchmarks in addressing Substance abuse issues globally;

Also conscious of the fact that Nigeria is a State Party to the three international treaties and has consistently (as recent as in the Country’s Statement before the General Assembly Plenary at UNGASS on World Drug Problems) reaffirmed its commitment to the subsisting international treaties and the Revised African Union Plan of Action on Drug Control (2013-2017) which emphasizes the need to distinguish between criminal and health care components in addressing the Substance abuse issue.

Recognizing the fact that children and young persons under the age of 30 years - an age bracket that is amenable to imbibing positive values on substance abuse control when properly structured in prevention programs, make up over 75% of the Nigerian population.  

Aware that Article 33 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child to which Nigeria is a State Party enjoins States Parties to the Convention to do all within their capacity 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’.

Further Aware that Section 25 of the Child Rights Act prohibits the exposure of children to the use trafficking and production of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.

Dismayed by the high level of ignorance amongst Nigerian children and youths of the dire consequences of illicit use of substance

Further dismayed by the near-total absence of any data or statistics on Substance abuse amongst Nigerians resulting from the absence of any agency or organ of government specifically charged with responsibility to receive, collate and maintain such data

Shocked at the near non-availability of Substance abuse Counselling, Treatment, Care and Rehabilitation services in Nigeria, and the absence of any agency charged with ensuring the availability of these services to the Nigerian population; 

Motivated by the practice in some sister-African countries, particularly Kenya and South Africa, where specialized agencies have been established with responsibility for Substance abuse Prevention, Counselling, Treatment, Care and Rehabilitation services;

Inspired by an earlier at a Workshop organized in collaboration with the Committee on Drugs and Narcotics of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria dated 10th day of October, 2000, to the effect that: “There is the dire need to establish an autonomous national agency (a National drug Abuse Prevention Agency – NDAPA), to be responsible for policy formulation and program implementation on drug abuse reduction in Nigeria. The present situation where a plethora of federal institution and agencies formulate and implement at-times divergent approaches and policies to tackle the scourge of substance abuse, is not to the best interest of the national desire to curb and eliminate drug abuse from our society. The core-personnel for NDAPA will be drawn from existing substance demand reduction units in Federal agencies such as the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), National Drug law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Ministries of Health, Youth etc”;

Further inspired by the palpable disposition of the 8th Session of the National Assembly to work assiduously towards people-friendly legislations aimed at correcting societal ails;

Realizing the important role of law enforcement in protecting society, enforcing substance abuse legislations and the need to enhance the level of expertise and professionalism of the officers and men who undertake essential, patriotic and risky duties to combat illicit drug trafficking, cultivation, production and marketing;

Also realizing that the inherent awkwardness in situating Drug Law enforcement functions in the same entity as Substance abuse Prevention, Treatment, Care and Rehabilitation, a situation that has a potential of undermining vital aspects of efforts at addressing the Substance abuse situation;

Worried about the avalanche of advocacy efforts (generally initiated and influenced by forces outside of the African continent) aggressively campaigning for the liberalization, normalization, legalization of the abuse of substances contrary to explicit provisions of existing international substance abuse treaties;

Also worried that our weak public health infrastructure, which is already overwhelmed with Primary Health Care concerns, Maternal and Child care issues, and infectious diseases, will be least prepared to cater for the avalanche of tertiary health care concerns if ongoing clamour for liberalization, normalization, legalization of the abuse of substances should materialize;

Further worried that our weak security infrastructure will be further overstretched, and may thus not be able to cope, with the deluge of Substance abuse related infractions in the event of the liberalization, normalization, legalization of the abuse of substances – thus necessitating enhanced specialized training, exposure to latest drug supply control strategies and procedures;

The following are hereby recommended:
1. A distinct Federal agency, responsible for Substance abuse Prevention, Treatment, Rehabilitation and Care issues should be created. The recommendation for an agency to be known as the National Drug Abuse Prevention Agency (N.D.A.P.A.), earlier made by a Workshop organized by People Against Drug Dependence and Ignorance with support of the Committees on Drugs and Narcotics of the Senate of the Federal Republic and the House of Representatives in Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, in October 2000, is hereby endorsed.

2. All 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, are likewise enjoined to establish Drug Abuse Prevention Agencies with responsibilities as highlighted in the paragraph above.

3. A holistic and comprehensive data-base of the domestic drug abuse situation (types of substances abused, age of initial use, gender disparities is any, and so on) should, as a matter of utmost priority be ascertained and collated to ensure a clearer perspective of the nation’s drug problem and thus enhance the possibility of effective and adequate response.

4.  All strata’s of governments should undertake spirited and immediate efforts to invest in the training of requisite professional in the areas of Substance abuse such Drug Counsellors, Psychologists and other Mental Health and Social care professionals to ensure the availability of sufficient manpower and human capacity to undertake the task ahead regarding Nigeria’s expanding efforts at addressing substance abuse issues.

5. The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Act should be amended to ensure that Drug Law enforcement, Supply Control and interdiction functions and allied matters constitute the primary and sole purpose of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency. In this regards, Sections 6(1)c, 7(3)a, b, and c, should be excised/expunged from the NDLEA Act – these are the only portions of the 45 Sections in the NDLEA Act which tend to confer functions over Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation services on the generally law enforcement entity, which the NDLEA by its substantive statutes is.

6. While all efforts should be made at preventing the initiation of illicit use of illicit substances, abuse of substances, particularly in the case of addiction, should be recognized as a health condition deserving of treatment, care and rehabilitation where necessary.

7. The investigation, interdiction, arrest and prosecution and other drug law capabilities of the NDLEA should be vigorously enhanced to ensure that the NDLEA is able to effectively deliver on its mandate with regards to Drug Laws enforcement.

8. In keeping with international best practices and efforts at prioritizing health-care concerns, the coordinating agency with regards to issues surrounding Nigeria’s efforts should be domiciled in the Ministry of Health or Social services or similar nomenclature and not the Ministry of Justice. Addressing the substance abuse issues should be viewed more as a public health issue as opposed to being a criminal justice problem.

9. Civil Society and Community Based Organizations are enjoined to coalesce into networks to galvanize sufficient grassroots and popular support towards ensuring that best global practices in the area of addressing substance abuse demand reduction and control issues are adapted to the Nigerian situation. This will ensure that the Nigerian population keys in and takes ownership of efforts at addressing the Substance abuse situation and avoid the current regime of an ‘us-against-them’ mindset which is prevalent, resulting from the present primacy of the criminal justice component in addressing substance abuse issues.   
 
Dated this 25th day of July 2017
Workshop Organizing Committee
People Against Drug dependence & Ignorance
 
 
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

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