Drug Prevention and Drug Abuse

ONDCP Director and Deputy Director Promote International Cooperation on Drug Issues at United Nations Global Drug Conference

U.S. Resolutions on Community-Based Drug Prevention and Prescription Drug Abuse Adopted at the 53rd Commission on Narcotics Drug Meeting in Vienna

National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Director Gil Kerlikowske led the United States delegation to the 53rd Commission on Narcotics Drugs (CND) in Vienna, Austria this past week, where two U.S. drafted resolutions were adopted by CND Member States.   During the week, the Director addressed the conference (see full speech on the website of the Office of National Drug Policy), chaired a multilateral meeting on disrupting the flow of methamphetamine precursor chemicals and held a series of bilateral meetings to discuss Obama Administration drug policy priorities.  ONDCP Deputy Director Tom McLellan also addressed the conference, participated in widely attended side events and met with a number of key senior delegation officials.

In support of the international conference, Director Kerlikowske said: “Drug trafficking and abuse is a tremendous global problem, one which requires intensified cooperation, both to disrupt the flow of drugs, precursor chemicals, illicit proceeds, and weapons around the world, and to reduce drug use through effective prevention and treatment programs.  Our participation in this conference demonstrates the strong U.S. commitment to collaborate with all nations in the spirit of shared responsibility, while opposing attempts to legalize illicit drugs.”

The two U.S. resolutions, which provide policy guidance to all U.N. Member States and the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, were adopted on the final day of CND meeting.  The first resolution, on community-based prevention, calls on all countries to prioritize community-based drug prevention initiatives in their anti-drug policies and emphasizes the need to support services for families, youth, and women; and to tailor messages to the unique socioeconomic and cultural environments present in each community.  The second resolution, on prescription drugs, highlights the risks of diversion and abuse of powerful narcotics, while supporting increased access for legitimate medical need globally, under the proper controls.  The prescription drug abuse problem, which has become a major focus of U.S. prevention efforts due to high levels of abuse and overdose, is emerging around the world as a major drug threat.  The full texts of the resolutions are available on the website of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

The U.S. also co-sponsored several other resolutions, including one by the European Union, focused on achieving universal access to prevention, treatment, care, and support for drug users, including those living with or affected by HIV.  The resolution calls for increasing member country capacity and resources for the provision of comprehensive prevention programs, treatment, and related support services, in full compliance with the international drug control conventions.

Director Kerlikowske met with key stakeholders and held several multilateral and bilateral meetings.  At the meeting on methamphetamine precursor chemicals, he urged countries to intensify their efforts to control the ingredients required to produce methamphetamine.  Participants in the meeting included representatives from India, the European Commission, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, China, Germany, Mexico, Spain, and the UK, as well as officials from the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).  The INCB and DEA highlighted the need for countries to do a better job of exchanging information on shipments of combination cold medicines (also known as pharmaceutical preparations), in addition to information on global trade in pure pseudoephedrine and ephedrine.

Director Kerlikowske met with UNODC Executive Director Antonio Costa, the President of the INCB, Sevil Atasoy, and delegations from: Russia, Mexico, Colombia, Afghanistan, Peru, Netherlands, Germany, Kazakhstan, Israel, and the European Commission. The meeting with the Russian delegation was the third meeting between Kerlikowske and the Director of the Russian Federal Drug Control Service, Viktor Ivanov.  The two officials co-chair the U.S./Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission Working Group on Drug Trafficking, which focuses on strengthening the U.S.-Russian relationship on such issues as addressing regional drug flows; drug demand reduction; and judicial cooperation.  Director Kerlikowske also thanked the United States Ambassador to the United Nations in Vienna, Glyn Davies, for the efforts of the U.S. Mission to promote American anti-drug priorities at UN forums. Davies said: “Although drug problems around the world vary, most UN Members are eager to both hear about the U.S. approach to drugs, and to partner with us to address drug production, trafficking, and abuse.  The U.S. Delegation to the CND week, led by Director Kerlikowske, helped to advance international collaboration on this vital U.S. issue.”

ONDCP Deputy Director Tom McLellan addressed the conference on “Measures to Improve the Understanding of Drug Addiction as a Chronic but Treatable Multi-Factoral Health Disorder,” participated in a U.S.-organized event on the public safety threat of drugged driving, in light of growing fatalities in the United States and other countries, and spoke on a World Health Organization/UNODC panel, “Toward Universal Access for Drug Dependence, Treatment and Care.”  The U.S. was also joined by other countries in proposing that drugged driving be added to the agenda of the CND for next year.

Deputy Director McLellan said: “I was pleased that drug treatment and recovery issues received the serious attention they deserve at this week’s CND conference.  More countries are learning, as we have seen in the United States, that prevention, treatment and recovery programs can and do turn lives around.  I am encouraged by the increasing opportunities to share best practices at the international level.”

During the week’s event, Deputy Director McLellan also met with senior UNODC officials and delegations from Sweden, Canada, Pakistan, and a group of American Non-Governmental Organizations.

The United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) CND meeting is the world’s largest annual global drug meeting of government officials, and draws a large audience from health and science experts, as well as a broad array of non-governmental organizations.