LM-BROCHURE (Front - 2013)
BROCHURE - 2010 (jpg)
Brochure (inside)
“Putting health first: What can NGOs do to raise awareness of the
threat of psychoactive substances?”

United Nations Department of Public Information Non-Governmental Organizations in cooperation with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime presented a discussion focused on “Putting health first: What can NGOs do to raise awareness of the threat of psychoactive substances?” The discussion was held on Thursday, June 13, 2013 at the Conference Room 3, North Lawn Building, United Nations Headquarters, New York.

Summary by Hande SUBASILAR
Representative of the Light Millennium to the
Department of Public Information of the United Nations.

Background Information

In 1987, the United Nations General Assembly established June 26th as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking as a reminder to Member States of their commitment to create an international world free of drug abuse. Each year, The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) selects a theme for the International Day and launches a campaign to raise awareness about some critical aspects of the global drug problem. This year the emphasis is on health and prevention based on a concern for the new class of drugs that are emerging as a health threat known as Psychoactive Substances.
Psychoactive Substances or NPS are groups of drugs many of which are legal and currently not under international control. These substances sometimes referred to as “legal highs” have become a concern because of a recent technical report prepared by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has shown that the number of these drugs are multiplying and becoming more popular across the globe, causing great concern to the government and officials, who are struggling against it. What makes the fight against these drugs even more difficult is the lack of knowledge about the danger of these substances, many of which can be obtained by prescription.

This briefing therefore looked at the issue of Psychoactive Substances, what they are, the danger they pose to societies in every region of the world and most importantly the role, which NGOs can play in raising awareness to this public health threat and how they can help to advocate the prevention from using such substances. This briefing also explored the issue of the changing the flow of the international drug control and what the civil society can do to help to create and promote healthy, drug-free living. Source: Department of Public Information of the United Nations.

The discussion commenced with the moderator, DPI/NGO Relations, Outreach Division Chief Ms. Maria-Luisa Chavez, explaining that this year’s emphasis of International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking based on the concern for the new class of drugs known as psychoactive substances that are not under international control. Next a short screening by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) was held.

The UNODC have found 251 new substances that they are on the market and only 234 substances are currently on the list of UN Convention of Drugs

After the screening, the first panelist Mr. Piero Bonadeo, who serves as Deputy Representative in the New York Office of UNODC began his speech stating that “Many of these substances, shortly called NPS, are meant to be used on other things then humans. There is also no knowledge of effects on people. The other fact is those substances are not illegal and it is easy to access them. There is actually no way to control how they sold on the market or distributed.” He said that the UNODC have found 251 new substances that they are on the market and only 234 substances are currently on the list of UN Convention of Drugs. He said that the important question is how people are using them. Therefore, laboratories are very important to understand the effects and the chemical compositions of these substances.

Mr. Bonadeo mentioned “World drug Campaign” of UNODC and, ask NGO’s to join the campaign to raise awareness in the local community, schools or whatever they are working on to highlight the existence of these issues. It might be the case in the future according to the International Conventions some of the NPS will be put on the international substances list. He stated that the mechanism foreseen by the Convention is rather slow, it might take at least one year but some member states have already taken action to limit the distribution of some substances. Only one or two counties which take action is not enough to start the mechanism of International Convention, we need a common understanding to regulate those substances.

We are ordinary people doing extraordinary things

Next panelist, Mr. Angelo Ortiz, the Director of Youth Programs Unit and coordinator of UNIDOS Coalition at Inwood Community Services (ICS) is a licensed clinical social worker specializing in individual, group and family counseling with inner-city youth. He began his speech stating that humans become more technologically advanced and they are increasingly discovering more innovative dangerous ways to harm themselves. The economic condition of the recent years leads to an increase of drug use.

Mr. Ortiz said “we are ordinary people doing extraordinary things”. He also mentioned that any process to raise awareness of community level problems, we must develop mechanisms to document not just what has been consumed but also the usage of patterns, consequences, attitudes, perceptions of harm, trafficking, all conditions at community level as much as we can. He stated that NGO’s can help to identify and build the capacity of individuals and institutions to raise awareness and prevent drug abuse. He said “In our organization we mobilized youth, parents, faith organizations, law enforcements, civil organizations, youth serving organizations, local businesses, foundations, government institutions, schools, treatment centers and the media, who ever own and sustain a piece of the process.”

After Mr. Ortiz concluded the moderator Ms. Chavez thanked the panelists and opened the floor for questions.

First question came from Bircan Unver, Founder and Permanent Representative of The Light Millennium. She asked “how we can join those campaigns and what are the ways to involve in promoting the campaign, what can be done, how we should start?” to both panelists.

Mr. Bonadeo proposed to review the “World Drug Campaign” of UNODC.

Mr. Ortiz said “You need to define geographic locations to target, and then find the leaders who can leverage and bring them to the table. There is also online information called 12 sectors of community partnership.”

Ms. Chavez stated that this is a perfect subject for NGO youth representatives.

Next question was: Instead of referring us to visit the website can you explain how can we contribute?
The question was first answered by Mr. Bonadeo, he said it is the easiest way to learn about the Campaign and there is also a Facebook group to exchange information. Mr.Ortiz said, it is good place to start with your community’s specific issues. Start small think big.

Another question to Mr. Orbitz was how they started slowly and how it has been worked. He gave an example of their neighborhood of 3 blocks area known as narcotic trafficking. Some years ago a group of young children, baseball players beat up a child in the same field just because he is from the other part of the community, in front of his mother. Afterwards community members and local authorities started to work together and organized large events to gain attention of the regional violence in the neighborhood. It became 7 year-old project that involves the residents.

After that some more questions answered and the panel was concluded.

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