The United Nations 57th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs is taking place in Vienna this week. One of the highlights is the launching of a new drug policy platform, ‘Drug Policy Futures’, supported by over 50 NGO’s including a number in Australia. Drug Free Australia was proud to be part of this network.

Drug Policy Futures is a new coalition representing over 50 organizations from more than 21 countries and 5 continents. In addition, there are regional and global partners that represent a large number of organizations across the world.

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

Drug Policy Futures bases its advocacy on 7 key principles and a 10 point declaration, founded on evidence based strategies to promote public health, safety and the wellbeing of society, including those addicted to drugs and their families.

"This is a very important initiative and it is heartening to see so many like-minded groups come together to promote drug-free environments and recovery based treatment options," said Jo Baxter, Executive Officer of Drug Free Australia.

"Drug use not only affects the drug user, but sadly has serious consequences for families, relationships and community as a whole. It impacts all regions of the world, and threatens the right to healthy futures of the young and future generations " Ms Baxter added.

"Drug use is particularly harmful to youth since use normally begins in adolescence and can have profound negative impact on the developing brain. This is recognised at the highest decision making levels in the United Nations and was very ably expressed today by Yury Fedotov, the Executive Director of the United Nations Office of Drug Control. He said in a meeting with NGO’s, that the legalization and normalization of marijuana creates grave concerns for drug policy since it is a gateway drug and because there is much scientific evidence of its harms to the developing brain, " said Ms Baxter.

There will be opportunities for collaborative efforts with Drug Policy Futures as we work to support the international drug treaties and the Convention of the Rights of the Child in the coming months. For more information on Drug Policy Futures go to:

Drug Free Australia
1 Collingrove Avenue
Broadview, SA 5083