The United Nations Approach to Drug Demand Reduction
The problem of drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking is one which has devastating consequences on all sectors of all countries worldwide. It causes adverse effects on health; an upsurge in crime, violence and corruption; the draining of human, natural and financial resources that might otherwise be used for social and economic development; the destruction of individuals, families and communities; and the undermining of political, cultural, social and economic structures.
A rapidly changing social and economic climate, coupled with increased availability and promotion of drugs and the demand for them, have contributed to the increasing magnitude of the global drug abuse problem. The complexity of the problem has been compounded by changing patterns of drug abuse, supply and distribution. There has been an increase in social and economic factors which make people, especially youth, more vulnerable and likely to engage in drug use and drug-related risk-taking behaviour. Therefore, i
n order to efficiently address this problem, drug demand reduction policies and programmes should be specifically designed to encompass all sectors of society at large.
The most effective way of tackling the drug problem involves a comprehensive, balanced and coordinated approach, that addresses both supply control and demand reduction, which reinforce each other, together with the appropriate application of the principle of shared responsibility.
Extensive efforts are being carried out by Governments, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations, to suppress the illicit production, trafficking and distribution of drugs. Drug demand reduction programmes should be integrated to: promote cooperation amongst key actors; include a wide variety of appropriate interventions; promote health and social well-being amongst individuals, families and communities; and should also reduce the adverse consequences of drug abuse for the individual and for society at large.