Preventing and Treating Illegal Drug Use

Last week marked a significant reaffirmation for international drug control policy as 1,200 delegates, representing 120 countries and over 50 civil society organizations, convened in Vienna, Austria, for the 55th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND). I had the honor to serve as part of the U.S. delegation led by Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, and Brian Nichols, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.

Over the course of the week, the U.S. delegation played a leading role in the unanimous adoption of 12 resolutions on issues ranging from preventing overdose deaths to addressing specific regional challenges to facilitating alternatives to imprisonment. We held more than 20 bilateral and multilateral meetings with other countries, led a panel discussion on drugged driving, and joined a panel on meeting the specific needs of drug-addicted women. The latter panel allowed us to highlight the first-ever U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security, as well as our ongoing support for domestic and international programs addressing women's needs and promoting gender equality.

Established in 1946 as a functional commission of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the CND reviews and analyzes the global drug control situation, considering the interrelated issues of drug abuse prevention, the rehabilitation of drug users, and preventing the supply and trafficking of illicit drugs. The CND is also responsible for supervising the application of international drug control treaties and advising ECOSOC on matters pertaining to the control of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances, and their precursors. Resolutions negotiated at the annual sessions of the CND shape global drug control policy and direct the work of the UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on these matters and related initiatives.

The 1912 Opium Convention was one of the first international treaties specifically aimed against a global threat. To recognize that historic event, and all the subsequent global cooperation strengthening international drug controls, the United States sponsored a resolution commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Convention. This resolution gained a record number of co-sponsors from around the globe, from Russia and China to European and Latin American countries, and recommitted all of us to continue fighting against illicit opiates; reducing drug production, trafficking, and use; and ensuring the availability of controlled drugs for medical and scientific purposes.

Additional CND resolutions further reinforced and expanded existing drug controls. For example, the CND adopted a novel resolution on gender-specific treatment and rehabilitation needs. Other resolutions included an electronic import/export authorization system to facilitate legal trade of controlled substances; reintegrating persons released from prison after they've renounced drug abuse; and international cooperation in responding to new psychoactive substances. The United States also co-sponsored a resolution put forth by Russia and France to address opiate trafficking in Afghanistan and its surrounding region.

We're already beginning to see operational results from the CND. One country noted that, in response to a resolution, it plans to look into using a life-saving drug that can help prevent deaths from overdose. For its part, the United States looks forward to working with other states, as well as UNODC, in various joint projects and regional counter-narcotics initiatives addressed in the resolutions.

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Donna M.
Ohio, USA
March 26, 2012

Donna M. in Ohio writes:

RT @uscoastguard @ATFHQ Don't Forget the "Popes" Travels..He Left "Mexico" Now you have 10 Heads..Cut Off. He Travels to "Cuba" Now @inlbureau

I am Just wondering,Why you keep letting this happen,In Mexico?

They Control that Statue..In Mexico.They Make that Statue Cry..From Corruption.The "Catholic Popes" Travels,Are somehow involved in all of this.

Now what happens in "Cuba"..

I mean really..

What do you think will happen?

I live in Ohio..

Where the "Mafia Idiots",The "Mullet" Break Away Gang Members,The "Sandusky" Child Porn "Sicko's",The "Walking Weapon"..Idiots,The "Dangerous Illegal Aliens",The Dangerous"Cartel",

The "Human Traffickers"

The "Craiglist Murderers"

The "Sheriff Mcfaul and The Drug Addicts"

The "Sheriff Office" Murderers

The "Sowell" Serial Killers

The "Con-Artist" Lobbyist

Have Ruled my Whole entire State,Of Ohio.

I have a "War Conflict"Name Change,

And all Of This Things Are Very,Very Dangerous,To My Family,and all Innocent Civilians,

Across Ohio.

March 21, 2012

John in Canada writes:

What a waste of time and money. Talking about a manmade problem and pretending it is something completely vexing.

The drug trade is fueled by profit (MONEY)

The laws make the drugs very profitable.

Because the drugs are profitable they are distributed to maximize that profit.

The drug war and the global policies towards drugs are pointless. These policies are responsible for the wide spread drug use, violence, family and community breakdown, higher insurance and health costs, overcrowded prisons and on and on.

Prior to the UK adopting American style drug laws - they had a population of heroin users country wide smaller then what they currently have in one Scottish city. Thats failure – decades of failure. In America there is more drug users now then in the 60s and more violence – thats failure. In Canada the story is not much different but in the infinite wisdom of the PM he has chosen to go tougher with more laws – thats failure.

We hear innovation, innovation from a variety of governments – but I don't see innovation – just a rush to more of what has failed and half measures of moving away from failure – but not quite.

If you want to do something meaningful – create policies that diminish the value of drugs – not as it is today -increasing the value.

Who would sell a worthless product? No one.

If the product was so worthless and no one sold it, future generations would be spared the nonsense and cost of the past century.

Is there anyone globally that has an ounce of common sense left and the backbone to do what is right?

From a national security point of view – why attack a country with harsh drug laws? – just fuel the drug trade somehow and you could bring that nation to their knees. They pay for and inflict the damage on their own people in their own land – a slow self inflicted death. Pure genius – or not.

Governments claim terrorists are funded by the drug trade – well then those same governments should stop enabling that drug trade they think is so bad.

Government policies are as bad as the junkies and drug dealers – they all work together in an unholy dance of injustice.

Just say NO to another century of nonsense.

Robert J.
Arizona, USA
March 21, 2012

Robert in Arizona writes:


My father had us write a story about when he was a kid and met Amelia. I had no clue until I heard this at his funeral and thought it was the most amazing story. He always dreamed of flying and when he met her is when me made his mind up. I just wanted to say this even if it does not get to you.


Gil Kerlikowske Shakes Hands With Viktor Ivanov
Posted by Alyce Ahn
March 19, 2012


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