For information only - not an official document
24 June 2016
Werner Sipp, President, International Narcotics Control Board:
Statement on the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking
VIENNA, 26 June (UN Information Service) - On the occasion of the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking I congratulate members of the public, civil society, national authorities and regional and international organizations on their engagement in tackling the world drug problem aiming at preventing and reducing drug abuse, promoting health, welfare and security, and countering drug trafficking. Drug policies, including addressing new drug control challenges, need to be implemented in a balanced and proportionate manner, with full respect for human rights, as agreed at the 2016 United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the world drug problem.
On behalf of INCB, I congratulate Mr. Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and UNODC as a whole, on the launch of the 2016 World Drug Report. I invite all Member States to consult the UNODC report, which provides invaluable insight on the facts and numbers behind the drug problem worldwide. The World Drug Report has become an indispensable guide on drug abuse trends around the world over the years. Together with the INCB Annual Reports and its recommendations to Governments - focusing on promoting compliance with the international drug control treaties, in particular on the availability of drugs for medical and scientific purposes - the World Drug Report constitutes essential reading for politicians, parliamentarians and the public at large.
Despite a strong political commitment worldwide in complying with international drug control law, some initiatives to regulate the consumption of drugs for non-medical use in a number of jurisdictions constitute a clear contravention of the international legal order that has been endorsed by virtually all States. Regulating the non-medical use of controlled drugs, including cannabis, in some countries puts into question the consensus of the international community on how to ensure the health and welfare system of our societies. When chains of drug control are broken in one country or region, the entire drug control system is at risk of being undermined.
On the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, our message is to listen first to our young people and to our communities to return to the initial and fundamental aim of the drug control treaties, to prevent the initiation of drug abuse and enable our children and youth to grow up healthily and safely. The objective of our joint efforts is to safeguard public and individual health and welfare. In this context, education, prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, care and the provision of a continuum of measures to reduce the negative consequences of drug abuse should be paramount. The importance of drug abuse prevention, especially among young people, must remain the primary objective of drug control policy and practice. The international drug control agreements give Governments a great deal of flexibility to adopt positive measures. These include the education and promotion of healthy lifestyles to protect our children from drug abuse and exposure to drug trafficking, as well as the provision of education, treatment and rehabilitation as alternative measures for people affected by drug use and abuse.
On this international day, all individuals and public and private actors should do everything in their power to prevent and counteract the harm that drug trafficking and abuse cause to the health and well-being of society.
The Vienna-based Board is an independent body, established by the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs to monitor and support governments' compliance with the international drug control treaties. Its 13 members are elected by the Economic and Social Council to serve in their individual capacities for a term of five years.
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