With the same determination from the very beginning, the Turkish Green Crescent continues its fight against alcohol, tobacco, drugs, gambling and technology addictions on national and international levels. We continue to raise awareness with the help of our 120 branches, thousands of volunteers, board of directors, stakeholders, and other supporters.
As the Turkish Green Crescent, we carry out many projects, events, and activities every year. We launched a significant project in 2015, which paved the way for the Green Crescent Counselling Centers. This allowed us to provide psychosocial treatment services to addicts and their relatives free-of-charge. We help thousands of people maintain an addiction-free life through our 105 Green Crescent Counseling centers across Türkiye. Approximately 45,000 people received services from these centers between 2016 and 2022. As a result of our cooperation with the Turkish Employment Agency, we helped 169 clients find a job. A book named ‘Renklerini Yeniden Kazananlar’ (Those who Re-gained their Colors), which includes fictionalized stories of our clients who overcame their addictions, was published to give people hope that they can do the same.
As the Turkish Green Crescent, we work closely with the state. We are a member of the High Council of Fight Against Addiction, which was established in 2019 with a presidential decree. Within the framework of action plans, we are a member of the Technical Board and Provincial Boards of Fight Against Addiction. We play an active role in working groups of stakeholder institutions, national workshops, and regional assessment meetings. With the 95 Green Crescents across the globe, our network has an impact in every continent.
We prioritize scientific and evidence-based early prevention activities. Therefore, we place great importance on raising awareness among children and youth. With this in mind, we carried out the ‘Türkiye Addiction Prevention Training Program’ in cooperation with the Ministry of National Education. The program aims to raise alcohol, tobacco, substance, gambling, and technology addiction awareness among children and young people and to provide information in this respect. As a consequence of our cooperation with public institutions and organizations, we provided train-the-trainer courses to 43,000 trainers. Within this scope, we reach around 10 million students and 3 million adults each year.
Practitioners engage in individual meetings with students at risk of tobacco, alcohol, substance, and internet addictions to prevent them from becoming addicts. We also aim to integrate these children into the educational system in order to ensure they do not feel marginalized. The ‘School-Based Addiction Intervention Program’ remains the first and only school-based intervention program in Türkiye. The ‘Green Crescent Life Skills Training Program’ aims to equip students with skills that will enable them to lead an addiction-free life, gain positive habits, and protect themselves from risky environments and situations. Through a 15-week activity-based program, we help them acquire certain skills such as stress management, decision-making, critical thinking, and the ability to say “no.”
The Turkish Green Crescent has been organizing the ‘International Green Crescent Cartoon Contest’ since 2017 with the aim of drawing people’s attention to addictions and raising awareness through the universal language of cartoons. 1,386 cartoonists from 67 countries submitted 2,380 works to the contest in 2022. We have also been organizing the ‘Healthy Generation Healthy Future Talent Contest’ to increase addiction awareness among students and to encourage them to display their talents. We received a whopping 421,216 applications in the literature and visual arts categories in 2021. More, 152 submissions were made to the 2022 ‘Healthy Ideas Short Film Contest,’ which was held in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism with the aim of raising awareness by using the healing power of art.
In addition, the Turkish Green Crescent organized the 10th ‘Green Crescent Bicycle Tour,’ with the highest level of participation across Türkiye. 12,000 people from over 70 provinces participated. The ‘Young Green Crescent Youth Camps’ was organized for young people to engage in various social, cultural, and sporting activities away from the perils of addiction. 82,700 young people joined 8 camping sites, 5,560 took part in 44 youth camps, and 120 in two leadership camps between 2016 and 2022.
Nearly 10,000 students applied for the debate training in 2022 to prepare for the ‘Green Crescent Inter-High School Debate Tournament,’ which is designed to introduce some beneficial extra-curricular activities for high school students and to enable them to develop skills that will protect them from addiction. 1,300 students participated in the regional championships and the tournament ended with the Türkiye finals on 22-23 June 2022. The 8 winning teams (made of 160 students) competed in the final round.
Addiction is a universal issue that sincerely threatens our world. We, as the Turkish Green Crescent, organize and participate in many events with the aim of raising awareness of this significant matter. Under the leadership of the Turkish Green Crescent, 10 different national Green Crescents held sixteen separate sessions during the 65th session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs on 14-18 March 2022. We were one of the 11 institutions to make a written statement during this session. We also participated in the Trainings on Addictions and Approaches to Addictions organized by the Turkish Consulate General in New York on 29-30 March 2022. We hosted an online side event entitled ‘Youth Advocacy Forum with a Specific Focus on Quality Education for Sustainable Development,’ within the scope of the 2022 ECOSOC Youth Forum, which took place on 18-21 April 2022. We made a statement at the United Nations Meeting for the International Narcotics Control Board Civil Society Session on 5 May 2022. We are proud to be one of the eight NGOs among 38 that applied for the session. We organized a side event entitled The Role of Sports and Healthy Life Activities in Crime Prevention, within the scope of the Session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ), held online by the UNODC on 16-20 May 2022.
We will continue to work towards a better and healthy future in our 103rd year along with our branches, volunteers, board of directors, stakeholders, and many others who support us. We will work harder by carrying out various new projects, events, and activities. We will continue to try and make Türkiye a leading figure in the fight against addiction.