Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today stressed the shared role of all members of society in preventing and reducing the damage caused by drugs, which he said destroy lives, generate crime and threaten sustainable development.
“There is a growing consensus, both within communities and among States, that drug control is a shared responsibility, in which we all play a part,” Mr. Ban said in a message marking the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, observed each year on 26 June.
Today there was a better understanding of how to confront drug abuse and trafficking, he noted. “Policymakers can draw on a growing body of evidence about drug dependence and drug-use trends. International cooperation and technical assistance are improving law enforcement capabilities.
“Increased development assistance is helping to reduce poverty and the sale of illicit crops by giving farmers sustainable alternatives. A stronger focus on prevention and treatment is putting health at the centre of drug-control strategies and helping to slow the spread of HIV/AIDS,” he stated.
But there was still more work to do. “States with weak criminal justice systems and limited law enforcement capabilities need assistance to reduce illicit drug trafficking, which spreads crime, corruption and instability, and which ultimately endangers the successful realization of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),” the Secretary-General said, referring to the set of global anti-poverty targets world leaders pledged to achieve by 2015.
Mr. Ban also reminded States of their responsibility to fully respect the rights of prisoners who are drug-dependent or are in custody for drug-related crimes, especially their rights to life and a fair trial.
In addition, he urged them to ensure that people who are struggling with drug addiction be given equal access to health and social services. “No one should be stigmatized or discriminated against because of their dependence on drugs,” he stressed.
Also today the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is launching the 2008 World Drug Report, which shows that recent progress in drug control is under threat by a surge in opium and coca cultivation and the risk of higher drug use in developing countries.