News from WFAD

Read WFAD President Esbjörn Hörnberg's Statement at the Reconvened sixty-first session of CND in Vienna 5-7 december 2018.

"The way forward
Dear Chair and Excellences, colleagues and friends,
On behalf of two international networks, IOGT International and World Federation Against Drugs, with more than 300 Local and National Member Organisations globally, working with the full range from prevention to recovery I would like to make the following remarks:
Reduce drug use prevalence.

The overarching goal of every Member State’s drug policy should be reducing the prevalence of drug use. This will lead to lower numbers of problematic drug users, as well as a reduction in numbers of adolescents who are exposed to drug use in their peer group. Member States should monitor drug use prevalence regularly and adjust policies based on results to make prevention programmes more efficient.

Mobilize a million communities
Evidence-based prevention efforts are even more effective when they are synergistic and implemented by local communities. Local initiatives should involve local authorities and public services, schools, police, parent groups, community-based organisations, sports clubs, religious groups etc. The UNODC International Standards on Drug Use Prevention list a broad selection of recommended interventions that should be adopted by Member States as critical tools to promote health and development through community programmes.

Read more: Statement at the Reconvened 61st Session of CND

Diana Joseph Vincent, Director of Fourth Wave Foundation, India and a Board Member of WFAD, speech during the cross-cutting session during the Intersessionals with the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, Vienna 25-28 September 2018.

"Thanking the UNODC, the WFAD and everybody who thought this case would make some relevance here at this discussion. I represent a practical case on the map of the world, that is struggling with the similar problems that we are discussing here, but has managed to engage the communities to take ownership. Problem of dealing with drugs and addiction is not an abstract in the country of India. Kerala is a tourism state, the reality on the ground is that we are not ready for a crisis like this. We don’t have the facilities to deal with the numbers that’s being brought to our tables. We as a NGO work with children between the ages of 12 and young adults, 22, and when I say its alarming that we have epidemic numbers coming out of age groups of 10 and 12 year olds using narcotics, it is a classic case for the world to consider the other areas which are more exposed to this problem. As much as we work on high level discussions on policy at the country level, we fail miserably when it comes to actually enforcing the law to take control of our communities where this is being pushed.

And a classic number is out of a typical batch of 100 children we train we get 8 to 10 children coming back home or to our desk or to our counselling centres asking for help. 8 to 10% is high, and the forecast the next five years to come this number is going to multiply. What have we done? We have We teach them to take ownership of the problem by standing up for the issue. We talk to all cross sections of people, all stake holder groups in the community. Though we focus on only young children, we work only with the teens and young adults but the society has to take ownership. This important for us because the way its being discussed at young adult levels in the country, where they are exposed to internet, we are taking about an economy that is actually booming because of its start-ups and because of its IT connectivity but here is this problem that we are ignoring with having narcotics delivered to the door to youngsters.

Read more: Diana Joseph Vincent, Board member WFAD, speech during Intersessionals with the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, Vienna 25-28 September 2018.

In my capacity of President of the WFAD, I attended three days of the Intersessionals covering Demand reduction and related measures, Ensuring the availability of and access to controlled substances exclusively for medical and scientific purposes, while preventing their diversion and Cross-cutting issues: drugs, and human rights, youth, children, women and communities.

We had from our side, Diana Joseph from Fourth Wave Foundation, India and a Board Member of WFAD as a panellist for the Cross-cutting Session. Other presentations from our perspective was given by Ms. Boi-Jeneh Jalloh (Sierra Leone), Foundation for Rural and Urban Transformation and  Mr. Wongayi Nyahuye. 

My impression from the first round was that there is quite a rift between the Member States. Really how the Chair will solve this and present a Document adopted by consensus to the Ministerial Segment in March is a Million Dollar Question.
 
Since Colombia elected a new President, their Drug Policy have shifted towards the US position, but on the other hand Mexico is taking their seat when coming to supporting the Global Commission on Drugs and their report “Regulation - The Responsible Control of Drugs ”.  In one of the last paragraphs they state, “If the international drug control framework is to be efficient, it must move away from the current repressive paradigm and better reflect the emerging focus on health, human rights and sustainable development. Crucially, reforms must introduce the possibility for member states to regulate drugs.”

This report was published the same day as Donald Trump, together with some 30 Countries presented ”Global Call to Action on the World Drug Problem” in the UN in New York. The Global Call ended with:
 
“We further pledge to develop national action plans based on a four-pronged strategy:
(1) reduce demand for illicit drugs through education, awareness, and prevention of abuse;
(2) expand treatment efforts to save lives and promote recovery;
(3) strengthen international cooperation across judicial, law enforcement, and health sectors; and
(4) cut off the supply of illicit drugs by stopping their production, whether through cultivation or manufacture, and flow across borders.
We encourage the CND and each signatory Member State to provide updates on progress made, lessons learned, and best practices at the Sixty-Second Session of the CND in March 2019. ”

This Call was mentioned in a number of statements from Member States in Vienna, but there was no response from i.e. the European Union, because they were divided in the question of supporting the Call.

Read more: Intersessionals with the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, Vienna 25-28 September 2018. Written by Esbjörn Hörnberg

On May 16, 2018 Esbjörn Hörnberg was elected International President of World Federation Against Drugs 
From 2003 Mr Hörnberg serves as the Executive Director of IOGT International, an umbrella organization with 160 members in 60 Countries.DSC 0114

Mr Hörnberg was up till March 2018 the Chairperson of the Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs and was also the Chair of the Civil Society Task Force on Drugs, set up as the key entity to secure Civil Societies engagement and coordination in order to effectively include Civil Society Organisations voices in the UNGASS on Drugs 2016.

From 1994 to 2012 he was Secretary General of International Institute of the IOGT-NTO-movement, a foundation working with development in Africa, South- and Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe and the Balkans. Now he serves as the Senior Advisor to the management and board.

Mr Hörnberg was secretary in the civil society group working with WHO and UNODC on the project “Global Initiative” 1991 – 1996.

Before working with international issues, Mr Hörnberg was working 17 years as a civil servant, in the sectors of education, social welfare and community administration.

At the Congress of WFAD Esbjörn delivered the following statement to the members present at the congress. Continue to read the full speech.

Read more: Esbjörn Hörnberg is our new International President

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.

Read more: Sven-Olov Carlsson's Opening Remarks at the 6th World Forum Against Drugs

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.

Read more: INCB Civil Society Hearing

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!

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

November 16, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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