16 January 1998

Under-Secretary General Pino Arlacchi Praises the Italian Government For Its Position on the Issue of Drug Control

VIENNA, 16 January (UN Information Service) -- United Nations Under-Secretary-General Pino Arlacchi, in his capacity of Executive Director of the United Nations Drug Control Programme (UNDCP), praised today the Government of Italy for its clear position on matters of drug control. In the past few days the Italian Government ?has reaffirmed its commitment to full compliance with the provisions of the International Drug Control Treaties and with the will of the international community on the problem of narcotics? stated Mr. Arlacchi who is currently on an official visit to Kazakhstan.

He also praised Italy?s Prime Minister Romano Prodi for the position taken on this issue, and for his statement to the Italian Parliament that ?to take drugs is neither an individual right nor a private matter? for any citizen. Mr. Arlacchi also expressed his strong support for Mr. Prodi?s view that ?drugs are a scourge which must be fought? and for his stated opposition towards ?any form of normalization of the phenomenon?.

He noted with great satisfaction the unequivocal stance taken by the catholic church, the civil society and the therapeutic communities in Italy in the fight against drug abuse and trafficking, and their full understanding of the spirit of the international treaties? which is not only the spirit of prohibition but also of protecting each individual from the threat of drug abuse and its terrible consequences? stated UNDCP?s Executive Director.

The General Assembly of the United Nations will hold a Special Session in New York to further international cooperation in drug control. Several important aspects of the problem will be discussed on that occasion including the need to promote demand reduction, to combat the problem of money laundering and to undertake a global programme of alternative development and eradication of illicit crops.

A number of Heads of Government have indicated their intention to attend the Special Session which will be held 8-10 June 1998.

For further information, contact:
Sandro Tucci, Spokesperson for the UN Office of Drug Control and Crime Prevention
Ph: (43-1) 21345 5629 Fax: (43-1) 21345 5931
AH: (43-1) 504 80 88