Ghada Waly

Director-General/Executive Director


CND Launch of the 2020 World Drug Report

  26 June 2020

Ambassador Khan,


Thank you for joining us for the launch of the 2020 UNODC World Drug Report, on this 75th anniversary of the UN Charter and on the International Day for Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking.

Science and solidarity.

These are the words of our Secretary-General, calling for action against the misinformation that has endangered lives in the COVID-19 crisis.

They are also the twin lodestars of a balanced, health-centred response to the world drug problem. It is in this spirit that I present to you the World Drug Report.

The Report is based on the data provided by Member States, and we rely on you to contribute and share information on the transnational challenges posed by drugs.

Through this Commission, you have negotiated and agreed major policy documents and reaffirmed the commitments in the 2019 Ministerial Declaration.

The CND has also been instrumental in translating these policy commitments into concrete action, through resolutions addressing different aspects of drug challenges.

The resolutions, in turn, help UNODC to further tailor our integrated support, from Vienna and the field, to build national capacities and strengthen international cooperation to address drug supply and demand.

The expertise and experience gained through implementation on the ground are then brought back to the Commission, thus further informing and enriching the policy work.

The updated Annual Report Questionnaire adopted by this Commission at the session in March will further enhance future editions of the World Drug Report, and contribute to global efforts to understand and address the world drug problem.

I encourage you to use this instrument, and support UNODC as we seek to deepen the global evidence base on drugs, through the national illicit crop cultivation surveys, regional and synthetic drug reports, and the flagship World Drug Report.

This year’s Report shows that more people are using drugs, and there are more drugs than before.

There are too many people who need help who cannot get it, with only one out of eight people receiving drug-related treatment.

One of three people who use drugs is a woman, but women represent only one out of five people in treatment, often due to discrimination and stigma.

We have seen the tragic consequences of this lack of care.

Over the past decade, the number of women who have died due to opioid use disorders went up 92 percent.

The poor, the marginalized, youth, people in prisons settings and displaced people also face barriers to treatment for drug use disorders and related HIV interventions.

Illicit drug challenges have become increasingly complex, and the COVID-19 crisis and economic downturn threaten to worsen their impacts, for the people who can least afford it.

The theme for the International Day this year is “Better knowledge for better care”.

We need to better understand the many dynamics fuelling and feeding drug use disorders, illicit drug cultivation and trafficking so we can improve responses, provide better care and save lives.

We know that health-centred, rights-based and gender-responsive approaches to drug use and related diseases deliver better public health outcomes.

We need to enable such responses with more support, especially to developing countries, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.

We need to know more and care more.

Our societies cannot afford to compound illicit drug threats through inattention and neglect.

We must support solutions through meaningful cooperation with civil society and youth organizations.

We can seek new ways to reach young people, who remain the most vulnerable to drug threats, using sports and education to build resilience and encourage healthy choices.

Balanced, comprehensive and effective responses to drugs require national strategies that bring together all stakeholders, and that enable effective regional and inter-regional coordination to address shared challenges.


My colleagues will present the findings of the World Drug Report 2020 to you in detail.

UNODC looks forward to your comments, and I encourage you to reinforce your feedback by further contributing to our research efforts, to strengthen future World Drug Reports.

I also urge you and all our stakeholders to use this resource, and to make best use of the support that UNODC provides to help address the inter-related challenges of drugs, crime, corruption and terrorism. We are here to help you.

Thank you.