Director General/Executive Director
Ladies and gentlemen,
My thanks for coming here for this very important special event on the sidelines of the 58th session of the CND.
For several years now, UNODC, jointly with the World Health Organization, the United States and civil society partners, has held an event here at the CND highlighting the need for evidence-based drug dependence treatment and care.
I am happy to continue this tradition today with Michael Botticelli, the director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, and also to announce the extension of the UNODC-WHO Programme on Drug Dependence Treatment and Care to 2018. The official signing will be held here today.
This special event showcases good practices from around the world in treating and caring for drug dependent people.
It seeks to foster a person-centred approach that leaves no one behind and ensures that each and every person counts.
For UNODC, in all our work but especially in our health-related initiatives, it is essential to focus on the human dimension - the men, women and children affected by drug use and dependence, and all of the consequences for health and society that illicit drugs can have.
Attitudes play an important role in the effectiveness of treatment and care responses.
Therefore, it is also our goal to overcome the prevailing stigma with regard to drug use disorders. This means looking beyond the statistics and seeing not "the addict", not "the drug user", not "the patient," but the human being who needs our help.
It means seeing the child, the parent, the friend or neighbour who is suffering from drug use disorders, and who needs the support and respect of their families and communities, as well as medical and social services.
Unfortunately far too often, people affected by drug use disorders do not have sufficient access to health services, or they may be made to feel like second class patients.
Furthermore, available health services may not be qualified to address their specific needs.
UNODC has for many years worked to increase understanding of drug dependence as a health disorder caused by multiple factors.
In this regard, I am very pleased to see discussion of evidence-based drug prevention and drug dependence treatment at the heart of the UNGASS preparations and the CND deliberations.
Through numerous side events and the meeting of the Scientific Network during this CND session, policymakers will have the opportunity to hear from experts on the science of treatment, which can help them to design evidence-based, effective and respectful services for people living with drug use disorders.
Such action is also essential to achieving sustainable development goals.
Drug use and drug use disorders heavily affect young people, and we cannot allow such a preventable and treatable problem to rob communities of their most precious resource: their young men and women.
I know we are all looking forward to learning from the experiences from around the world that are being shared today.