We are a network of concerned citizens and prevention professionals who believe that drug-free healthy lifestyles will protect and enhance society and its stability for present and future generations.
We promote effective policies, using all means available to our members, including prevention, education, intervention, treatment and legal processes.
Born 1993, NDPA has developed into one of the most authoritative voices in the field of drug prevention, with an international reputation. NDPA’s associates embrace all disciplines in the field, and are widely based in society at large, imparting balance and strength to NDPA’s work. There is a clear understanding of why drug misuse happens and – more importantly – why it need not happen.
In 1996 the value of NDPA was recognised by a three-year grant from National Lottery Charities Board, allowing operations to be consolidated. More grants from other sources followed. At national level NDPA has contributed to significant effect in the various national strategies published from 1995 on, as well as enquiries by the BMA (medical uses of cannabis), the Lords (cannabis for medical or social use) the Police Foundation (review of Misuse of Drugs Act 1971), and the Home Affairs Select Commitee’s review of UK drug policy. NDPA members present papers at regional, national and international conferences, the latter as part of an enviable international network. Meanwhile input to Drug Advisory Teams (DAT) and Drug Reference Groups (DRG) is soundly based in NDPA’s grass roots project work – home, school, community, sports centre, workplace, church/mosque/temple – anywhere that help is needed.
Accredited research is collected and disseminated by NDPA through this website. Out of this and other services NDPA has become a ‘must call’ agency for the media, politicians, drug professionals, police forces, community services and – not least – members of the public looking for straight answers.
The way forward to a healthier nation is seen as involving the whole of the community, each in their appropriate way. The varied impact of drug misuse on each element of the community – not just on the user – needs better definition, and communication – as does the potential for every element of society to contribute fruitfully to Prevention.
The need for NDPA has never been greater. Far from being pushed into retreat by Government’s greater focus on drugs, the libertarian tendency has stepped up its efforts, in effect encouraging the drug suppliers. Youth and parents alike face a sustained barrage of (mostly) pro-drug material on screen and page. The impression is given that ‘everyone’ is into drugs – as if drugs were today’s style accessory. Parents become fatalistic, youth become intrigued, and both become deeply confused. The excitement, positivity and richness of a drug-free lifestyle hardly gets a mention. The road to clarity and healthy living is set to be long and hard, it seems. But if there is one guide you can rely on, it is the NDPA.
Today’s Situation – 2012
Where is Britain today, after 15 years of structured policy? It is the biggest drug user in Europe. Government have been persuaded to ‘reduce harm’ rather than reduce use. Treatment is even now opting out of ceasing use, instead aiming to maintain users in ‘long term recovery’. Education no longer emphasises prevention. ‘Human Rights’, just like ‘Harm Reduction’ is interpreted as protecting the well-being and rights of drug users, with no mention of the rest of us. Police seem to liberalise more each day, and justice seems to have overlooked what the word means. Media systems predominantly reinforce this.
A huge problem then. And responses have been mixed, to say the least. A major factor in this mix-up is that drug policy and practice is not pursued in a neutral environment – instead there are well-financed forces for libertarianism constantly at work.
For many years now the main weapon for libertarians has been so-called ‘Harm Reduction’ – the proposition being that everything will be all right provided users are coached in using their drugs with less damage to themselves.
This is now being underpinned by deploying so-called ‘Human Rights’. With both topics there is a strict focus on harm to and the rights of the drug users, with unbalanced disregard for the rest of society.
It would be easy to cave in under all this pressure, but for many of us – including NDPA – the healthy development of the whole society (including users) takes precedence over the unhealthy behaviour of a minority.
Prevention – The Key Strategy
There is solid evidence of how to put the drug problem into reverse. Not just theory but practice, proven by evaluation over many years. The answer is Prevention (sometimes known as primary prevention).
This is not to say that response systems such as counselling, treatment, rehabilitation and the customs/legal systems should be jettisoned. Rather, what is needed is an integrated system of ‘prevention and response’ involving all these initiatives across the whole community, together with businesses, religious groups, youth and adult social systems, and more.
But the main emphasis deserves to be on prevention, for it is here that the largest successes have been measured. Members of the NDPA are already pioneering in UK some of the proven processes of Prevention. There is a rich variety of technology to be mined in Europe, Australasia and the Americas, applied only by a tiny handful of specialists here.
For prevention to succeed most effectively, it is important to address and integrate each of the negative factors presently affecting our society, whether at the macro or micro level. NDPA has already made a start on identifying and suggesting practical changes for some of these, and our work has a long way to go yet. But it will go a long way, with your help.
Resolutions agreed by the Executive Council will obviously be subject to change and augmentation as NDPA itself grows. Full listing of Resolutions is available on request, but this brief synopsis gives a good measure of NDPA’s current strategy:
- NDPA will campaign for Prevention’s potential to be fulfilled, especially for the very young: a rational and ‘seamless’ set of policies across all age ranges is the aim; these should ideally combine to unite and empower all sections of society.
- Policies and programmes should have the aim of healthy lifestyles free of drug misuse. Policies that condone or encourage drug use based predominantly on ‘Harm Reduction’ are not acceptable. Treatment interventions seeking to reduce harm with known individual drug users have their place, but must be accompanied by an unequivocal health-promoting message. It is essential to account for the harm suffered by others around the user, up to and including society as a whole; these are of at least equal importance in any rational strategy.
- NDPA supports laws and justice systems which reinforce drug-free and wholly healthy lifestyles, and endorses efforts to maintain and improve this situation. NDPA seeks improved, more accurate public information and far more accuracy and balance in the media. NDPA supports adherence to scientific research standards and ethics prescribed by the world scientific community.
Just some of those with whom NDPA networks :
- Mr David Raynes (Retired HM Customs & Excise)
- Positive Prevention Plus
- D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) UK
- Yeldall Christian Centres
- Mrs. Frances Lawrence
- Mrs. Mary Brett (Teacher, Biologist, EURAD UK Spokesperson)
- Mr Barry Twigg
- Mr. Stuart McNeillie (Restorative Justice)
- Big Brothers and Sisters (Mentors UK)
- National Committee for Prevention of Addiction
- Dunlewey Substance Advice Centre (Belfast)
- Frank Talks (Belfast)
- Mr. Leslie Brotherton (ex President, NAYCEO)
- Mrs Diana Coad
- Drug Watch International
- International Drug Strategy Institute
- Community Awareness of Drugs (Dublin)
- Families for Change (Scotland)
- Mr. Bill Rice (ex Ch. Exec., TACADE)
- Mrs. Maxie Richards (Glasgow)
- Mr Geoffrey Davies
- Dr. Adrian Rogers (Exeter)
- Maranatha Community (Manchester)
- Mr. Brian Heywood
- International Task Force for Strategic Drugs Policy
- Talking about Cannabis
- European Cities Against Drugs (ECAD)
- Drug Prevention Network of Canada
- Foundation for Alcohol and Drug Education (FADE) NZ
- Riga Addiction Prevention Centre (Latvia)
- Institute on Global Drug Policy
- Drug Free Australia
- Drug Prevention Network America
- Parents Against Narcotics (Lithuania)
- Community Awareness of Drugs (Ireland)
- PRIDE Youth Programs
- STAND (Students Taking Action Not Drugs)
- Drug Free America Foundation
- Motgift (Sweden)
- Flemish Platform Against Drugs
- International Substance Abuse and Addictions Coalition (ISAAC)
NDPA and other organisations
NDPA will work with anyone whose aims and principles match ours, wholly or partially. Where there is a complete match we will cooperate totally; where there is only a partial match we will only cooperate in the areas which match our own.
Our work is always focused on the NDPA charity objectives, as expressed in our ongoing goals and practice. We will not become involved in work outside these areas.
We respect people of all races, all political affiliations, and people of all faiths – or none. But like anyone else, we will not associate with groups or persons who are likely to be in breach of the law, who are disruptive of public health, or who attack other groups in any way.