Message from the Secretary-General on the Occasion of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking |
26 June 1999
As is so often the case, the most important breakthrough has been the change in our perception of the problem, which no longer appears intractable. We now recognize that solutions are attainable, provided the political will and necessary financial resources are mustered. Evidence of this breakthrough came at the General Assembly's special session, held one year ago. The governments of 185 States adopted the first ever international instruments specifically designed to combat drug problems.
With the benefit of various partners' cooperation, the United Nations International Drug Control Programme has launched new initiatives to ensure that the necessary information, technology and funds will be available on a long term basis. The demand for, and supply of, dangerous drugs has been markedly reduced as a result. Indeed, some of the targets agreed upon this time last year may be reached ahead of schedule.
Nonetheless, the fact remains that between three and four per cent of the world's population still regularly consumes illegal substances. That intravenous drug use is still one of the leading causes of the spread of AIDS, with devastating consequences across the globe. That the consumption of some new drugs is also increasingly widespread, especially among young people. And that criminal organizations have no scruples in taking advantage of globalization and technological advances in transport and telecommunications.
Drugs continue to blight and indeed destroy far too many human lives. The costs associated with their use continue to impose a heavy burden on the social infrastructure of numerous countries, whether they be developed or developing. Valuable human and financial resources continue to be diverted away from productive activities which are essential for development and prosperity. Drug trafficking also continues to foment corruption, one of the most formidable obstacles to good governance.
I would therefore like to reiterate, on this international day against drug abuse, that the struggle we are engaged in is vitally important. There is no need to remind anyone that tragically and quite literally, this is often a question of life and death.
The global implications and cross-border nature of drug abuse and illicit trafficking make the United Nations the most suitable instrument for waging this war. We shall continue to join the efforts of those individuals, families, communities and States that are determined to put an end to the calamity of drug abuse.