Debates on the State of Drugs at the WFAD

The 4th World Forum Against Drugs ended on May 20. This two-day event was organized together with ECAD's (European Cities against Drugs) annual conference in Stockholm. The event gathered around 400 people from all parts of the world – although most of whom came from Europe and the US – and from various professional backgrounds (NGOs, government representatives, academics, etc.) working in the field of addiction prevention and treatment.

Note: the views expressed at the Forum do not necessarily represent the views of Dianova International

Among others, the forum counted with the interventions of H.M Queen Silvia of Sweden, the Swedish Minister of Health and Social Affairs, Maria Larsson, and world-class experts in the field of drugs, including Maria Costa, former executive director of UNODC and Raymond Yans, former President of the International Narcotics Control Board s (INCB).

Among many others, some of the most prominent subjects broached during this event included: 

  •   Concerns about global trends in cannabis legalization. This issue was connected to children rights, as the latter are those most affected by the consequences of drug abuse. Furthermore, the economic interests of cannabis legalization and the penetration of organized crime in society were stressed throughout the conference.
  •   Academic studies focusing on the damages caused by marijuana, especially in adolescents. The cannabis used nowadays is much stronger than it was a decade ago, thus more addictive and harmful. The studies underlined the risks of suffering mental disorders, schizophrenia, and significant reduction of the IQ. Moreover these studies highlighted the causal contribution of marijuana to road crashes.
  •   Best practices of coordination between health and law enforcement approaches. The establishment of drug courts that unite the systems of treatment, criminal justice, drug testing, support services, and judicial oversight has proven to be beneficial in countries such as the US.
  •   Role of NGOs worldwide in the prevention of substance abuse and how they can be involved in the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) to be held in 2016, under the leadership of umbrella organizations such as the Vienna NGO Committee (VNGOC). 

The encounter came to an end with a call for action by many participants so as to thwart legalization trends during UNGASS 2016. On the whole, most participants stressed the importance of implementing platforms directed at enabling civil society participation in policy-making. 

Dianova participated for the third time in this gathering and its representatives had the chance to meet with influent policy-makers, discuss the current situation and learn best practices.