An estimated 200 million people, or 5% of the global population aged between 15-64yrs have used illicit drugs at least once in the past year. Britain and Ireland have the highest number of drug and alcohol users in Europe. Cannabis is still the most widely used drug worldwide and in Italy 10% of the population smoke cannabis on a regular daily basis. There is a well organised and well financed movement worldwide to legalise this very dangerous and addictive drug. The main financier behind this movement is US based but Hungarian born George Soros.
In 1989 a group of concerned European citizens (including myself) formed an independent voluntary NGO whose goal is to reduce the demand for drugs in Europe. We were the first voluntary organisation to address DEMAND REDUCTION and the first international independent NGO of this kind. Since then EURAD has grown in strength and numbers and although we still have little or no money our affiliates are drawn from Africa, Iran, Australia, New Zealand, the US and South America as well of course within Europe. Ours is a network of committed people who advise, lobby and support each other to attain best practice in Prevention, Support and Treatment
The thinking behind our group was that customs borders in Europe were to be dismantled in line with new European policies and the forming of the EU. Therefore drugs would be easier to smuggle and use would escalate. We also recognised that there were two policies being promoted on fighting the drugs culture.
The first was the War on Drugs. E.g. Policing, Customs, Crop Eradication and of course prison.
The second proposal was to Legalise/Decriminalise.
The 3rd Way policy is clearly the way forward. Demand Reduction
Drug education for pupils, parents, politicians and others in the wider community with a clear message on drug use or peddling is necessary. There must be clear consequences for both with counselling and rehabilitation readily available. The social circumstances must also be addressed. If a kid is hungry, if his parents are alcoholic or drug addicted or if he or she has been sexually abused or is being bullied in the community this will need to be put right. Just to say NO to drugs is not enough. NO must mean many things.
We have learned from history that liberal drug policies have a negative effect on society. We must engage in prevention as well as best practice treatments that eliminate the disease. Strong prevention methods are the way forward matched with early intervention and immediate and humane treatment.
EURAD's aim is for a drug free society. We believe this is achievable although realistically sometime in the future. However, we are morally obliged to aspire to it for the future of all children. When reducing the demand for drugs or focussing on prevention we have to address the issues around parental drug and alcohol use. Drugs are illegal because they are dangerous (and addictive), they are not dangerous because they are illegal. Changing the laws or dismantling the UN Conventions on Drugs will not change that fact.
If society ignores the importance of PREVENTION in this global pandemic then we will be judged harshly by future generations. The world's most valuable asset is our young people.