The Fifth International Drug Prevention Conference, Italy 2003

A Forum and Training Institute on Drug Demand Reduction

Hotel Selene,  Pomezia, Italy:  22-26 September 2003


Confronting the World’s Drug Problem: The Ethical, Moral and Scientific Dimensions.


  1. Increase the world’s awareness of the scope and destructive power to civilized societies from the production, distribution and consumption of illegal drugs, and to increase the world’s awareness of its capacity to overcome this evil.
  2. To discuss the ethical, moral, and scientific principles and practices that serve as the  foundation for effective substance abuse prevention programs.
  3. To discuss the obstacles and solutions to effective drug demand reduction programs, laws, and policies such as legalization, reduced regulations, and practices that enable illegal drug consumption.
  4. To persuade the nations of the world of the importance of vigorously supporting and implementing the United Nations’ conventions on illegal drugs.
  5.  Build on the body of knowledge, commitments, and relationships established at the Global Drug Prevention Conferences of Lima, Peru; Bangkok, Thailand; Palermo, Italy; and Penang, Malaysia.
  6. Expand and strengthen the Global Drug Prevention Network.


Fifth Global Conference on Prevention (Rome/Pomezia, Italia, September 22-26): Having been held here for the first time ever, this transcendent, world-wide event hailed 500 people in attendance (on average: 384), representing no less than 84 countries, with activities centering on the areas listed in the Conference Program; each one of which had its own impact on those present, including the Media. For example, Prevention Policies were given wide coverage by the Italian Media, since well-known political figures were on hand. This then reaffirmed the importance of holding firm in promoting interdiction, abstinence, and bolstering the treatment process and social reinsertion of addicts. The positions of each one of these stands were backed up by supporting evidence; distancing with Swiss policies was made, since their tolerance of drug consumption and their massive employment of harm reduction techniques, characterized by permissiveness regarding drug use, all lead to a notorious increase in its consumption, not to mention the social and health costs. Additionally, these policies, as well as those of the Dutch, make for conflicts because of their harmful effects on the neighboring countries who also sought to take refute them. Independent, non-governmental studies revealed inconsistencies and lack of proper application of scientific evaluation models in light of the hoped-for results. When it came to becoming scientifically up to date, the most recent studies and investigations were revealed, supporting essential data for the implementation of prevention programs and promoting  prevention-based health programs.

The participation of the youth was exceptional (they organized a beautiful choreography in the high school auditorium). In fact, the whole event emphasized childhood and adolescence, periods in life so crucial to human development, to be creatively worked with and strengthened by dealing with the healthiest aspects that naturally appear at each stage.

Successful prevention programs presently being implemented in different parts of the world were highlighted, as well as corresponding factors which produced the good results achieved among target populations. Of considerable note was the presence of a large delegation of African bishops involved in pastoral social work which gave its input on cultural diversity while discussing the various Conference themes. Interchange on a personal level, as well as the sharing that went on among organizations and the various task forces, found fertile ground within the framework of the Conference, empowering the participating countries and organizations present through sharing with others the beneficial results they have obtained. Of special note was the charismatic presence Betty Sembler, wife of the American Ambassador to Italy, who reaffirmed her long track record and personal interest and support in this field, -a portent of future successes to be achieved. As time goes on, more news and works related to this worldwide, transcendental prevention encounter will be reported on. Don’t miss visiting the Italian organizer’s web site:

Rome Global Declaration on Drug Prevention

Category: Drug News