The Turkish Green Crescent Society was founded in Istanbul on March 5, 1920. It works for the protection of society and particularly of young people from tobacco, alcohol, drugs, gambling and technology addictions. The Green Crescent is a nongovernmental and nonprofit association working on prevention, rehabilitation and advocacy.

Every year worldwide 200 thousand people are losing their lives, due to drug abuse. According to UN reports, 243 million people, in the age range of 15 – 65, used drugs in 2012, meaning 5% of the world population. Besides those figures, it is estimated that 75 Million people are drug addicts.

In accordance to the reports of the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), after 1990, there has been a dramatic increase in Drug Abuse. It has been shown that nowadays, out of all European adults, almost one fourth indicate their use of drugs at least once in a lifetime.

In our country the usage of illegal substances (even if tried only once), besides alcohol and tobacco, is 2.7 %. At the same time, there are many existing investigations showing increasing rates in recent years, regarding the use of alcohol, tobacco and narcotic use, especially among the young population.

There exist several international documents, such as the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (1961) Convention on Psychotropic Substances (1971), and the Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (1988). In general, international drug policies are carried out by a secured centered perspective, addressing these mentioned documents. In this respect a new frame has to be created, in drug policy internationally, scientific and evidence based, appropriate to the public health approach.

The International Symposium on Drug Policy and Public Health, which is taking place in Istanbul on September 29th until October 1st, 2014, is expecting a participation of nearly 100 speakers, and more than 1000 persons from over 50 different countries in the fields of drug policies regarding prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, advocacy, capacity building, media campaigns, drugs and youth, monitoring and evaluating.

At the International Symposium, it is aimed to discuss and share best practices among scientists, academicians, state and civil society representatives. Moreover it is an important opportunity for our country and region to share, improve and find new alternatives on drug control.

The International Symposium on Drug Policy and Public Health, which is organized by the Turkish Green Crescent Society in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC), the Pompidou Group Council of Europe, the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), the Turkish Ministry of Health, the Turkish Ministry of Family and Social Policies, the Turkish Ministry of Youth and Sports, and the Turkish Drugs and Drug Addiction Monitoring Center (TUBİM), and co-sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) will take place on September 29th – October 1st, 2014 in Istanbul.

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