The Turkish anti-addiction nonprofit Green Crescent has kicked off its Istanbul Initiative, a two-day event that brings together representatives of other nonprofit organizations fighting against addiction from other countries. Participants of the Istanbul event aim to draft a global strategy for the prevention of drug, alcohol, tobacco, gambling and technology addictions. The leaders of 21 nonprofit organizations from 15 countries are expected to attend the event. The guests include Kristina Sperkova, president of the Sweden-based temperance movement IOGT, Cristina Von Sperling Afridi, the founding president of the Pakistan-based Karim Khan Afridi Welfare Foundation, and Boro Goic from Bosnia-Herzegovina's Recovered Users Network (RUN).
A recent report by the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) says drug use in Europe now encompasses a wider range of substances than in the past and notes that "polydrug" consumption is common among users, while cannabis is the most commonly used drug. The report says an estimated 19.1 million young adults between the ages of 15 and 34 used drugs in the last year, equaling 16 percent of the age group's population, with about twice as many males (at 20 percent) as females (11 percent), reporting having done so. In Turkey, cannabis use among young adults stands at 1.8 percent according to the report, while the use of methylenedioxymethamphetamines, or MDMA, stands at 0.2 percent.
The report also says Turkey was a significant transit country for drug trafficking between Europe and the Middle East, though it acknowledged the country's strict drugs laws. Nevertheless, it also leads in drug seizures as the report points out that Turkish authorities seized more MDMA tablets, 8.6 million, and more amphetamine, 6.6 tons, than all the European Union member states combined in 2017.