International Symposium on Drug Policy and Public Health
Common Mind Against Drug Abuse
Sept 29-October 1, 2014 Istanbul, Turkey
The representative of the Foundation for a Drug Free World (FDFW) and of its affiliate the Foundation for a Drug Free Europe (FDFE) was invited to the International Symposium held in the WOW Istanbul Hotel and Convention Centre. The general theme was: Common Mind Against Drug Abuse.
The Symposium was organized by the Turkish Green Crescent Society, the UNODC, the EMCDDA, the Pompidou Group, the Turkish Ministry of Health, the Turkish Ministry of Family and Social Policies, the Turkish Ministry of Youth and Sport, the Turkish Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction TUBIM.
The President of the Green Crescent Society, Prof. Dr. M. Ishan Karaman, remembered that drug abuse lead to the destruction of the society and a key point is the protection of the youth and adolescents from the drugs that are now currently found in the street. This involved not only the State but also the participation of NGOs.
The participants had the honor of the presence of the Turkish President, Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan who addressing the audience lively clearly stated that “drug is the biggest handicap for humanity”, creating social and psychological damages and that “there is no one reason to explain the usage”. He put the stress on the importance of the education in the family and by the school, at early ages, to fight the drug problem and to restore the ideals and moral values.
The Foundations’ representative was part of the session on Media Awareness Campaigns, with Gregor Burkhart as Chairman. After reminding that each year 240 millions of people worldwide and 80 millions in Europe are taking drugs, he put the stress on the fact that drug abuse remains a leading cause of death among young people by overdoses, accidents, violence and suicide. (UNODC and EMCDDA 2014 Report).
To tackle this drug problem, the FDFW and FDFE were created to actively, through a primary prevention activity, popularize a drug-free living as a global solution to drug. Thus was developed the educational materials used by The Truth About Drugs Program and since 2006, the FDFW serves as the primary distributor of these materials.
The cornerstone of the program is:
– a series of 13 fact filled booklets The Truth About Drugs that inform about the drug, empowering the youth to make their own decisions to live drug-free,
– this was followed by 16 PSAs They Said, They Lied, illustrating the destructive effects of the most prevalent drugs,
– a documentary: The Truth About Drugs: Real People, Real Stories. This is a hard hitting 100-minute film told by former users who survived the life-shuttering addiction,
– an Educator’s Guide with a full semester of lessons.
All these items are available free of charge, thanks to the support of the Church of Scientology and can be ordered from the website: www.drugfreeworld.org (2 million visitors/year). In one year 20,000 education kits were distributed and used by teachers, health instructors, school counselors, police officers, community leaders, government officials, students and parents.