Declaration from the Global Drug Prevention Network -
5th Global Conference on Drug Prevention, Rome, September 2003
In the Eternal City of Rome we who are more than 500 delegates from 84 nations convening at this Global Conference, reaffirm our commitment to building and protecting the Common Good ('Res Publica'), by creating and cherishing drug-free communities throughout the world.
In addressing this complex matter, which is of vital importance to every nation, Conference has participated in a wide variety of presentations reflecting (inter alia) cultural, ethical, scientific, medical, social, political and spiritual dimensions of the subject. We come from Western and Eastern Europe, North/Central and Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Australasia, Canada, Scandinavia - and maybe more. We represent many diverse faiths and beliefs, but we are united in our support of Core Principles (set out below) as well as specific initiatives (in the attached Schedule):
Whilst we have pride in our past achievements, our focus is on the future - and our future lies with our children. For them, and for all society, we pledge to strive for an environment in which each and every person in our world has the best chance to fulfil their potential, in the best of all possible health, and we pledge to create value in acknowledgement of the gift of life with which we have been blessed. We confirm the superiority of love, in relation to the education and building of our society: a superiority which has become a social, political, cultural and spiritual commitment.
- The pursuit of the 'Common Good' should define and guide the actions of Society.
- A 'Culture of Disapproval' of drug abuse* should be nurtured in all Society.
- Society at large should honour 'Moral Imperatives' for responsible and constructive citizenship, striking a balance between the rights of the Individual and those of Society.
- Proper, validated science should underlay and inform all strategy, policy and -action.
* By 'drug abuse' we reaffirm we mean any use of illegal substances and any inappropriate use of legal substances.
ROME DECLARATION - SEPTEMBER 2003 Attachment
SCHEDULE OF INITIATIVES
The Conference resolves to progress initiatives in support of the Core Principles, including but not limited to the following:
- Conference commends and supports our host nation, Italy, in its current renewal and strengthening of its policies against drug abuse.
- Conference reaffirms the Declarations of all previous Global Conferences.
- Prevention requires to be properly and fully recognised for its enormous potential; work to achieve this must be expanded. There must be a development of a positive, pro-active drug policy agenda which becomes the dominant policy initiative.
- The whole community suffers from the problems of drug abuse, therefore the whole community must be consciously involved in the solution.
- Youth are an important part of the solution, and yet they are too often marginalised, or exploited as 'tokens'. Their significant potential as agents for positive change must be better recognised and utilised. Improved methods of reaching and empowering youth, in partnership with adults, must be created.
- The total solution must be an optimized but flexible mix of all policies and practices, relevant to each nation's culture. No one aspect of this should be allowed to dominate or otherwise jeopardise the orderly development and delivery of any other aspect.
- Conference has recognised the significance of Culture in the drug abuse/drug prevention equation; action must therefore be taken to constructively influence culture in various ways.
- The impact of drug abuse upon the individual - not only in the physical sense but 'anthropologically' - must be a key consideration; impacts on mental, intellectual, cultural, spiritual and bio-ethical components must all be addressed.
- Impacts on the brain deserve special emphasis, and not just at the eventual stage of dependency. The early stages of use - especially by the young - must be more widely recognised for their serious damaging potential.
- The Global Drug Prevention Network must be developed and widened:
- assistance should be given with the development of an African Demand Reduction Coalition.
- there is a clear need to build and enhance alliances and dialogues with other bodies - such as faith-based groups, universities, and many others. Dialogues in the context of religion, culture and ethics are seen as enriching the whole process of our work.
- the number of NGOs and other relevant bodies should be increased.
- the technical quality of the work of the GDPN should be strengthened. In this regard, consideration should be given to the establishment, in due course, of some form of prevention institution - to define, monitor, enhance and safeguard scientific, ethical and cultural standards of performance. Additionally, the establishment of some form of international 'training institution' - perhaps web-based - should be studied.
- Conference reaffirms its opposition to legalisation and other forms of drug law relaxation, and - in consequence - its opposition to any initiatives which, overtly or covertly, serve such negative expedience.
- The fullest support should be given to the Vienna Declaration, which seeks to unequivocally support the UN Conventions on drugs, notably by the collection of 25 million supporting signatures by the year 2008.
- Funding for prevention, and for demand reduction in general, needs to be moved to the top of the priority list, and significantly increased in amount.
- International Aid programmes aimed at Producing Countries need to explicitly elevate the priority for Demand Reduction programmes and initiatives.