Membership information

From the very start, IDPC’s strength, value and relevance has come from its global membership. On this page, you can find more information about our membership criteria – including the requirement that all members agree with the IDPC vision and mission, and the five core policy principles, as well as on membership benefits, obligations and key procedures.

Membership Criteria

The applicant must fully support and embrace IDPC’s Vision and Mission, and the following five Policy Principles:

  1. Drug policies should be developed through a structured and objective assessment of priorities and evidence.
  2. All activities should be undertaken in full compliance with international human rights law.
  3. Drug policies should focus on reducing the harmful consequences rather than the scale of drug use and markets.
  4. Policy and activities should seek to promote the social inclusion of marginalised groups, and not focus on punitive measures towards them.
  5. Governments should build open and constructive relationships with civil society in the discussion and delivery of their strategies.

The applicant must normally be a legally constituted and not-for-profit non-governmental organisation and/or network. IDPC will consider applications from non-legally constituted networks on a case-by-case basis. Applicants must be independent entities, and not chapters or sub-sections of a larger body.

Applications from organisations that represent – or receive the majority of their funding from – industries for alcohol, tobacco, pharmaceuticals, or other drugs will be reviewed in detail by the Membership Review Committee of the IDPC Board. If there is potential for the organisation’s views and actions to be adversely impacted by vested interests, and that this might undermine the work of IDPC, then the application will be rejected.

The applicant must have a demonstrable track record in a policy field relevant to national, regional and international drug policy, and demonstrate the ability for credible and constructive engagement with policy makers.

The applicant’s work must have national, regional and/or international geographical coverage. However, IDPC will consider applications from sub-national organisations on a case-by-case basis.

The applicant must add to the geographic and/or thematic coverage of IDPC.

Applications from organisations from countries or specific fields of interest that are already well represented in the IDPC Network will be reviewed in detail by the Membership Review Committee of the IDPC Board, to ensure that IDPC membership remains balanced across regions and thematic areas. In this regard, if the applicant is a member of a national umbrella organisation or network which is already an IDPC member, then their application will likely be rejected.

Applicants whose work and mission focuses on a single substance or issue within the drug policy reform agenda must demonstrate their commitment to broader drug policy reform.

Benefits of IDPC Membership

Facilitating international impact and collaboration

The inter-related nature of drug policies between the national level and international level make it critical for advocacy work to take place at both levels. As national governments often hide behind international agreements on drug control in pursuing harmful and counterproductive strategies, it is essential to engage transnationally to challenge the current drug control regime.

  • IDPC provides a framework for organisations to work together within and outside national boundaries and have an impact beyond their national remit.
  • IDPC facilitates communication and cooperation between NGOs and supports collaborative activities and endeavours. We often engage in joint campaigning and advocacy initiatives with our members in order to maximise our impact nationally and internationally. The network is organised regionally to facilitate dialogue among NGOs concerned about issues from similar contexts, while keeping them up-to-date on what is going on in other regions and internationally.
  • IDPC creates channels and advocacy tools for our members and build their capacity to better engage with, and influence, the policy making processes of national government and international agencies.

Sharing knowledge, information and expertise

IDPC members have a wide range of experience and expertise in the analysis of drug problems and policies at the national and international level.

  • Our global network enables members to share experiences from a wide variety of countries across the spectrum of drug policy, and to strategise together to encourage drug policy reform in various contexts.
  • We send our members up-to-date information on international drug policy developments and funding opportunities when these arise.
  • We produce and disseminate multi-lingual information and analysis that is useful for the advocacy work of our members.
  • We involve our members in the production of our materials – to identify topics of interest or concern in specific regions or countries, to draft the materials, to translate them in relevant languages, and to disseminate them to key audiences. The IDPC Drug Policy Guide is one example of such collaborative work.
  • We disseminate reports on drug-related matters produced by our members.
  • We offer expert advice to policy makers worldwide and disseminate global evidence at conferences, seminars and workshops.
  • We organise study tours for policy makers and NGOs, and provide technical support to civil society organisations in terms of capacity building, networking and advocacy training.

Increasing visibility

In joining IDPC, national or regional level NGOs become part of a prominent and credible international network with a globally recognised brand. IDPC communications tools increase the visibility of our members nationally, regionally and internationally.

  • Our multi-lingual website, in which news, publications and events sent by our members are regularly published, is visited by over 35,000 people per month.
  • We disseminate information about the work of our members through our newsletters, which are sent in English, Spanish and French to thousands of subscribers.
  • We increase the visibility of our members through social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google +, and through press outreach by disseminating our members’ press releases to more than 600 media contacts worldwide.

If your organisation wishes to become a member of IDPC, please carefully consider our membership criteria above and contact the IDPC Secretariat. Your application will be considered as per the process outlined below.

Membership obligations

All applicants for IDPC membership agree to abide by the following obligations as a condition of their application and, if successful, throughout their period of membership. All existing IDPC members agree to abide by the following obligations. As referred to below, failure to do so may result in termination of membership.

  • Not to bring IDPC Consortium, the IDPC network, the IDPC name and brand, or any individual IDPC member into disrepute.
  • To only use the IDPC name and brand with the explicit agreement of the IDPC Secretariat.
  • To respect the ownership and control of the IDPC name and brand by IDPC Consortium.
  • To abide by the IDPC Policy Principles.
  • To comply with the membership system and procedures set out in this document.
  • To notify the IDPC Secretariat of any relevant changes to its name, organisation, governance arrangements and activities.
  • To disseminate the open access information received from the IDPC Secretariat to the relevant stakeholders with whom it is in contact.

Membership procedures

New member applications

The application process involves three steps:

  1. After receiving the application form, the IDPC Secretariat will perform an initial assessment of eligibility in consultation with members from the same country or region.
  2. If that assessment is positive, the eligible proposal will be sent to existing IDPC Members for comment and review.
  3. On the basis of the above, the Membership Review Committee of the IDPC Board of Directors will be invited to make a final decision with regard to accepting or declining the application. The outcome of that decision will be notified to the applicant by the IDPC Secretariat.

Removing an organisation from membership

IDPC’s membership as a whole will be reviewed on an annual basis by the IDPC Secretariat. If an IDPC member has been wound up or dissolved, stopped functioning, cannot be reached despite multiple attempts to communicate, no longer fulfils IDPC’s membership criteria as stated above, or has breached any of the obligations relating to IDPC membership set out above, the Membership Review Committee of the IDPC Board may consider removing it from the membership following a proposal from the IDPC Secretariat. The member in question will be given an opportunity by the Membership Review Committee to challenge the proposal, and will also be able to appeal any decision (see below).


Any decision made by the Secretariat and/or Membership Review Committee may be challenged by the applicants and/or members involved. Such appeals must be made by email within 10 days of notification of the relevant decision, directed to the Chair of the Board of Directors via This email must outline the reasons for the appeal, and make the case for a reversal of the decision. The Board of Directors will then consider the appeal at their next regular meeting, and any decision will be final in all circumstances. Where necessary, individuals on the Membership Review Committee will recuse themselves from the consideration of an appeal by the Board of Directors.