The President of Yeşilay, Prof. Dr. Mücahit Öztürk, emphasized the significant role of families in the fight against drug use in his statement on the occasion of the “June 26th Day of Combatting Drug Use and Trafficking.” He stated that it is critical for families to establish healthy communication with their children and protect them against addiction risks. He also highlighted the importance of families being knowledgeable about drug addiction and providing support during the treatment process when necessary.
Öztürk emphasized the importance of raising awareness about the dangers of drug substances among young people and mobilizing society. He stated that on this meaningful day, Yeşilay will continue its efforts to increase social responsibility in the fight against drug addiction and expects support from young people for a healthy future. He also emphasized that dependent individuals and their families can seek free psychosocial support by calling the 115 Yeşilay Counseling Center (YEDAM) hotline.
Yeşilay’s mission is to inform all segments of society, especially children and young people, about addiction and create social awareness. Öztürk stated, “We bring together national and international congresses with scientific and health authorities, reach all segments of society with our printed publications and educational programs we have been conducting for years. We support academic studies in the field of addiction with our scholarship program. Within the scope of the Addiction Fight High Board, we carry out informative and preventive activities in cooperation with all relevant institutions and organizations and contribute to their implementation.”
Protecting our society against global trends is our main goal.
Öztürk stated that the trend towards the legalization of cannabis is a potential public health issue, and they have warned national and international decision-makers about it. He said, “Yeşilay has made advocacy and lobbying efforts to prevent the adoption of the World Health Organization’s 2020 Recommendation Decision.” He emphasized that protecting the community is their main goal. In addition to recreational or medical use of cannabis, the mixing of legalized organic products with synthetic cannabinoids is also a separate problem. This can lead to acute health problems. Öztürk, who stated that Yeşilay has emphasized in all meetings of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) platforms that the tendency towards liberalization of cannabis use poses a great danger, especially for young people, continued, “This situation will create a problem like ‘normalization’ and become a public health issue for the young population. As a result, health problems related to substance use will diversify and increase. These findings, which are underlined in Europe, a neighboring geography of Turkey, confirm Yeşilay’s position.”
The likelihood of involvement in drug-related crimes decreases as the level of education increases.
Prof. Dr. Mücahit Öztürk: “We provide services to our citizens with 107 Yeşilay Counseling Centers.”
User profile analysis of Substance Users 2022 Narkolog Report supports the belief that the likelihood of involvement in drug-related crimes decreases as the educational level increases. Öztürk emphasizes that besides fragmented families, low educational level is one of the triggers for substance use. Öztürk provided the following information about the addiction prevention efforts conducted by Yeşilay:
“We are implementing our Turkey Addiction Prevention Education Program, which we apply with the aim of reaching students before they start using substances, in collaboration with both public institutions and non-governmental organizations. Our model, which reaches millions of children, youth, and adults in Turkey every year, has become an example to the world and has been implemented in numerous countries through translations into different languages. With the School-based Intervention Program for Addiction, implementing teachers intervene preventively against substance use among students at risk. Thus, we aim to win the child without pushing them out of the education system. This program has the distinction of being Turkey’s first and only school-based intervention program. With the Yeşilay Life Skills Program, we aim to help students lead a life free from addiction, acquire positive habits, and protect themselves from risky environments and situations.”
“We provide outpatient free psychosocial support to dependent individuals and their families through a total of 107 Yeşilay Counseling Centers (YEDAM) in 81 provinces of Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. In our YEDAMs, where expert psychologists and social workers are employed, dependent individuals receive services such as quitting substance use, face-to-face counseling, group therapies, and social support. In addition, those who wish can use our 115 YEDAM Consultation Line to receive services from our expert psychologists over the phone.”
“We call on our people to act together”
Yeşilay President Prof. Dr. Mücahit Öztürk continued his statement as follows: “We call on our people to act together to raise awareness in society against addictions and to protect our people from the negative effects of drug use. As individuals, as families, decision-makers, and non-governmental organizations, we believe that we can build a strong community by jointly fighting against drugs.”
Established in 1920, Yeşilay is one of the world’s leading non-governmental organizations that is based on human dignity and respect. It works to protect the entire society, without discrimination, from harmful habits. It prioritizes national and moral values and carries out preventive and rehabilitative public health and advocacy activities at national and international levels. Established with the goal of combating alcohol addiction, Yeşilay’s bylaws have added new fields of work as addiction types have increased. After alcohol, tobacco, substance, gambling, and technology addiction have become part of its fight areas.
There are 120 Yeşilay branches in Turkey and 97 Country Yeşilay organizations worldwide. Since 2015, free outpatient psychosocial support has been provided to dependent individuals and their families through Yeşilay Counseling Centers (YEDAM). There are a total of 107 YEDAMs in Turkey’s 81 provinces and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. YEDAM can be reached via the 115 Consultation Line.
With its addiction rehabilitation system specific to Turkey, Yeşilay Rehabilitation Centers, each with 40 beds, provide inpatient services to individuals with alcohol and substance addiction in Bursa and Diyarbakır.
Due to its efforts to protect and raise awareness in society about addictions, Yeşilay has been recognized as a “Public Benefit Society” since 1934. It holds the “Special Consultative Status” of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the “Turkey Excellence Award” from the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM).