Message by Cristina Albertin, Regional UNODC Representative for South Asia
26 June 2009: International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking 2009
ational Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is a day that the world has been commemorating since its institution in 1987 by the General Assembly of the member states of the United Nations. The International Day against Drug Abuse and Drug Trafficking is a reminder that drugs continue to be an issue that plague societies in different ways and that we have to be continuously vigilant with regard to its impacts and tremendous harms that they can cause to persons, their families and friends and to societies at large.
The global concern about drug abuse and illicit trafficking has gained momentum over the years. People who have taken drugs and have become dependent, have shared their stories evidencing, how their initial curiosity for a different experience or a moment of pleasure by trying drugs allowed drugs to take gradually control over their life.
Today's World Drug Day, is a reminder that in effect, drugs can come to control our life. Our slogan of today "Do drugs control your life? Your community? No place for drugs" encapsulates the worldwide resolve to take collective action to reduce and stop drug abuse and trafficking.This year, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon reminds us also that the year 2009 marks the centenary of drug control - 100 years since the Opium Commission met in Shanghai to stop an opium epidemic.
In more recent years, the United Nations drug control conventions of 1961, 1971 and 1988 have helped countries allover the world to address the challenge of drug abuse and trafficking .Let's remember that drug abuse can be prevented, treated and controlled. We encourage and urge Member States to upgrade their preventive interventions and to integrate drug treatment into public health programmes with the aim to reduce the demand for drugs and with that contribute to the reduction of the supply of drugs.
Within the UN system, the World Health Organization and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime continue to work with Governments and other partners to scale up drug treatment world-wide.
We also encourage and urge full implementation of the United Nation Convention against Transnational Organized Crime which and the United Nations Convention against Corruption. Also, these universal instruments can help countries greatly in their efforts to prevent and control drug-related crime which is posing a serious security threat in many parts of the world and is undermining development efforts.
Greater development assistance and a strengthening of the rule of law are needed in countries that are vulnerable to the cultivation, production and trafficking of illicit drugs. Absent these essentials, many countries risk or may risk instability and increased levels of violence and corruption facing even greater challenges in reaching the universally agreed upon Millennium Development Goals.
Today, we already have a better understanding of what works and what does not work to contain drug abuse and trafficking, but we still have a long way to go to reduce it significantly. This year's World Drug Report launched by our Office two days ago highlights the need to address the crime angle of the drug issue proportionately, targeting criminal groups which operate large-scale transnational drug networks.
And it also highlights the need to strike the right balance and put health first for those who are already in need of treatment and for those, whose health needs to be preserved, foremost the health of children and adolescents.
On this International Day Against Drug Abuse, let us reaffirm our commitment to jointly prevent and reduce the damage that drugs do our societies and families let us build a healthier and safer world.