For Immediate Release: Tuesday, March 22rd, 2011
Vienna, Austria- U.S. Director of National Drug Control Policy, Gil Kerlikowske, visited Vienna, Austria this week to co-lead the United States delegation to the 54rd United Nations Commission on Narcotics Drugs (CND). During the visit, Director Kerlikowske and Ambassador Bill Brownfield, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, highlighted the Obama Administration’s public health approach to drug control, drew attention to the increased threat of drugged driving, and stressed the importance of supporting innovative criminal justice reforms before the international counter-drug community.
Kerlikowske also engaged in a series of high-level bilateral meetings with private and public officials from several nations, including: Afghanistan, Canada, Colombia, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, Sweden, and representatives from the European Union to discuss cooperative efforts to reduce the global drug threat. Kerlikowske also met with United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Executive Director Yuri Fedotov and President of the International Narcotics Control Board Hamid Ghodse. During the meetings, Kerlikowske stressed the importance of continuing unprecedented U.S. collaboration with foreign nations in sharing strategies which reduce the consumption of drugs, expand law enforcement and intelligence sharing cooperation, and maintain the integrity of United Nations treaties facilitating control of the global production and trafficking of illicit drugs.
“No nation is immune to the threats drugs pose to its citizens,” said Kerlikowske. “Long gone are the days of finger pointing for a threat that impacts all of our citizens. Each of us has a shared responsibility to protect public health and safety, and I commend the United Nations and its member states for bringing us together to improve our ability to implement smart, effective, and aggressive counter-drug strategies.”
The United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime CND meeting is the world’s largest annual global drug-control meeting of government officials, and draws a large audience from health and science experts, as well as a broad array of non-governmental organizations. Last year, the Obama Administration announced an unprecedented government-wide public health approach to reduce drug use and its consequences in the United States. This effort includes funding demand reduction programs by over $10 billion, placing a heavier emphasis on early intervention programs in health settings, aligning criminal justice policies and public health systems to divert non-violent drug offenders into treatment instead of jail, expanding access to substance abuse treatment, and supporting international allies working to disrupt the flow of drugs to the United States.
The Office of National Drug Control Policy seeks to foster healthy individuals and safe communities by effectively leading the Nation’s effort to reduce drug use and its consequences.