Activity

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

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

The report can be found here.

For more information about IBH visit www.ibhinc.org.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With new and highly toxic substances now appearing on our streets (such as carfentanyl found in Brisbane in mid-February) we need urgent LONG TERM action to increase prevention education for our children and youth, (as well as for parents, teachers and frontline health workers). Take a look at this article http://www.9news.com.au/national/2017/02/17/12/28/one-touch-death-drug-seized-in-qld

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

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

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

"I'm just hoping everyone understands how dangerous drugs can be and we've changed the community," said Brooke. http://www.itv.com/news/utv/update/2017-02-25/ni-teens-hard-hitting-anti-drugs-video-goes-viral/

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

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

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

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

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

Primary Prevention is key to Demand Reduction. (If we reduce demand, we reduce the market for illicit drugs).
The term "drug demand reduction" is used to describe policies or programmes directed towards reducing the consumer demand for narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances covered by the international drug control conventions ….
Demand reduction programmes should cover all areas of prevention, from discouraging initial use to reducing the negative health and social consequences of drug abuse. They should embrace information, education, public awareness, early intervention, counselling, treatment, rehabilitation, relapse prevention, aftercare and social reintegration. Early help and access to services should be offered to those in need. http://www.un.org/ga/20special/demand.htm

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

For more go to: http://www.incb.org/documents/Publications/AnnualReports/AR2009/AR_09_E_Chapter_I.pdf
For examples of Prevention that works, go to Drug Policy Futures : http://drugpolicyfutures.org/publications/

DFA

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