Nazlee Maghsoudi

CSSDP is returning to Vienna next week to attend the 58th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), the annual meeting during which representatives from every country gather to discuss the “world drug problem.” Last year, CSSDP attended the meeting for the first time and officially launched our involvement in international drug control regime advocacy. Since last year, CSSDP has become an official member of the New York NGO Committee on Drugs and the Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs, the two bodies which act as a liaison between civil society and the United Nations (UN) on drug-related issues. By being actively engaged in these bodies and attending the CND as one of the few youth organizations present, CSSDP strives to ensure the voice of youth is at the table. Thank you to the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network for making CSSDP’s attendance possible for two years in a row by providing the necessary passes!

This year’s CND is especially important because it includes a Special Segment on UNGASS preparations, which is essentially a planning session for the first major UN drug meeting since 1998. The hope is that the upcoming United Nations General Assembly Special Session in April 2016 will be an opportunity for open and honest dialogue about the impacts of prohibitionist drug policies and the options for the future, and what happens at this year’s CND may have a significant impact on that objective. If you would like to learn more about the UNGASS, how civil society can be involved, and why it is so important for youth to be included in the conversation, watch the video below of a plenary panel from the 7th Annual National CSSDP Conference last weekend. 

Lisa Campbell, Outreach Director at CSSDP, and I, Chair of the Board of Directors for CSSDP, will be attending the CND again this year. CSSDP will be participating in a side event presentation with members of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) and Students for Sensible Drug Policy UK (SSDP UK), titled “Protecting Youth from Drug Policy.” For those in attendance, the side event will take place on Wednesday, March 11, 2015 from 1:10 PM to 2:00 PM in Conference Room MOE100. Also with SSDP and SSDP UK, we will be launching our latest project, Drug War Stories, next week in Vienna.

Lisa and I will blog everyday on what they are witnessing and learning in Vienna by summarizing, analyzing, and reflecting on all the events we attend. We will pay special attention to any side events related to youth, as well as to the two resolutions involving youth that are being considered at the meeting. The two resolutions are titled “Supporting the availability, accessibility and diversity of evidence based treatment and care for young people affected by drug use disorders” and “Promoting interventions on protection of young people and children with particular reference to the sale of illicit drugs and new psychoactive substances over the Internet.” Both resolutions, as well as all other resolutions to be considered at the 58th Session of the CND, can be viewed here. I will also be blogging for the CND Blog to increase transparency of the international drug control regime.

Please check this blog regularly to stay up to date on what is happening in Vienna, and make sure to follow CSSDP on Facebook and Twitter for frequent updates!

For those is attendance, other side events of particular interest include: 

“Youth Substance Use and Misuse: Challenges and Progress” hosted by Youth Organisations for Drug Action (YODA) and the Government of Poland on Wednesday, March 11, 2015 from 2:20 PM to 3:10 PM in Conference Room M3

 “Meeting the Challenge: Implementing a Comprehensive Public Heath Approach to Illegal Drugs” hosted by Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and Transform Drug Policy Foundation on Thursday, March 12, 2015 from 9:00 AM to 9:50 AM in Conference Room M6