Annan condemns calls for drug legalization

Annan condemns calls for drug legalization

Messages calling for the legalization of drugs or dismissing illegal drug use as an unavoidable part of growing up are "insidious" and must be resisted, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today.

In a message to the Rainbow International Association Against Drugs, which opened today in San Patrignano, Italy, the Secretary General said drug abuse continues to destroy lives and undermine development. At the same time, he pointed to "encouraging" signs that consistent and sustained preventive interventions could solve the serious drug problems faced by many societies.

Stating that governments could not do the job alone, Mr. Annan called for the establishment of "partnerships that extend beyond professionals and experts to the people who are directly or indirectly affected by the drug problem, including and especially youth."

He pledged the UN's support in the effort to give people alternatives to drugs and build strong and caring communities where all can reach their full potential as healthy and productive members of society.

The Secretary General's message was read on his behalf by Antonio Costa, the Executive Director of the UN Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention.