PRESS RELEASE

Statement of UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov on the launch of the joint UNODC-WHO Drug Dependence, Treatment and Care Programme in Iraq

Vienna, 21 May 2014 - The following is a statement from the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Yury Fedotov, on the opening of a joint programme of UNODC and the World Health Organization (WHO) on drug dependence, treatment and care in Iraq:

Iraq has, for many years, been a transit and destination country for illicit drugs, including heroin. This has caused increasing fears concerning substance abuse problems in the country.

Until recently, Iraqi problem drug users confronted treatment services that often varied in quality, as well as in their local distribution. A gap existed, therefore, between the needs of drug users and what could reasonably be delivered by Iraqi health services.

To close this divide, UNODC and WHO were asked to help build effective treatment and rehabilitation services, and to work towards reducing the impact of drugs on Iraqi society.

I am very pleased that, working together, UNODC and WHO are supporting the development of drug dependence treatment services in Iraq. Services , that are not only human rights-based, but also founded on the golden principle that drug users should receive the same standards of care as anyone else with a medical condition or disease.

These services are modern, effective, and efficient as well as being fully in line with the International Drug Conventions, which emphasize the health and welfare of those suffering from drug abuse.

I hope that these science-based services will continue to provide much needed assistance and support for many years to come in Iraq and I offer my congratulations to all those involved for their hard work and efforts.

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The official opening ceremony for the joint programme will be held on 21 May in Baghdad and will bring together UNODC and WHO experts, donors and government representatives.

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For further information please contact:

David Dadge
Spokesperson, UNODC
Telephone: (+43 1) 26060-5629
Mobile: (+43-699) 1459-5629
Email: david.dadge[at]unvienna.org

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