22 March 2011 - UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov today appointed renowned actor and author Christopher Kennedy Lawford as Goodwill Ambassador for Drug Dependence Treatment and Care. During his two-year appointment, Mr. Kennedy Lawford will raise public awareness of, and generate support for, UNODC global programmes aimed at drug demand reduction and drug dependence treatment and care.
Introducing Mr. Kennedy Lawford at a news conference during the annual session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, Mr Fedotov said: "We all talk at length about the real and incredibly difficult challenges of people hooked on substances. Mr. Kennedy Lawford knows first-hand how it feels and his journey and experience as an actor, author and advocate show us that there is a way out and that treatment and care can work."
"There is a world full of people who have found a way out of the hell of addiction to a better life. Their story needs to be told. As a Goodwill Ambassador for UNODC, I want to use my experience and advocacy to bring a message of hope and empowerment to those affected by drug use and dependence throughout the world," said Mr. Kennedy Lawford on his appointment.
Mr. Kennedy Lawford has had a distinguished career as an actor, writer, lawyer, activist and public speaker in Hollywood and Washington, D.C. However, he spent much of his early life struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. Today, he inspires and motivates substance abusers to kick their habit. "I have been fortunate enough to have access to good treatment services that helped me to recover from drug dependence. Such services are also very much needed for people in low- and middle-income countries, including those especially vulnerable to drug use and dependence, like poor people, or those living in marginalized communities."
UNODC has been developing a health-centred and evidence-based approach to help people affected by drugs. "I believe that his profile is highly suitable for the Office's purpose, which is to raise awareness of the importance of drug dependence treatment and give it the broad support it deserves," said Mr. Fedotov.