Amplifying the voice of the silent majority

We see it as our duty to amplify the voice of the silent majority. The vast majority of the global population does not use illicit drugs and wants to live in communities free from drug-related harm. This is one of the messages from the first session of the Istanbul Initiative.

Around 95 per cent of the world’s adult population did not use any illicit drugs during last twelve months, according to the World Drug Report.

«Preventing harm from occurring is the most cost-effective, humane and sustainable way to reduce substance use disorders.»

«Reducing drug use prevalence and keeping it low is the best prevention.»

The first session of the Istanbul Initiative took place on the 12th and 13th of June, organized b by the Green Crescent in Turkey and co-hosted by the international network Drug Policy Futures. Participants from altogether 20 countries represented networks with many hundreds of national NGOs from all corners of the world.

The participants were unified in the conclusion that the world needs a No single bullets exist. War against drugs is no viable option, neither is the ongoing war for drugs. There is a wide middle ground, a third way between the extremes. This is well described in the UNGASS Outcome Document and the challenge for all nations now is to do in practice what was agreed upon in UNGASS and also in the Ministerial Declaration from March 2019.

In its closing declaration, the meeting in Istanbul expressed deep concern over the emergence of a new and powerful industry that promotes drug use for private profits. Says the Istanbul Declaration: “We are deeply concerned that this new industry is able to change the narrative, shape public policy and influence governments, international organisations and civil society for their economic gains, against the public interest”

The session in Istanbul also served as a strategy meeting for the Drug Policy Futures network. The participants concluded with a restructuring of the network in order to work more effectively in promoting the “third way” in drug policies and to represent the interests of the silent majority.

Drug Policy Futures will now embark on a monitoring exercise over the coming ten years where selected countries from all continents will be followed to see if they do in practice what they agreed on in the UNGASS meeting and in the political declaration from  the session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in 2019.

The plan is that the Istanbul Initiative and Green Crescent will hold annual sessions, in Istanbul, in order to discuss addictive behaviors on a broader scale and not only focus on illicit drugs.

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