Opening Remarks at the Fifth ISSUP Annual Workshop

Ambassador Jackie Wolcott delivers opening remarks at the ISSUP annual workshop, Vienna, Austria, July 1, 2019.

Opening Remarks for the International Society of Drug Use Professionals (ISSUP) Fifth Annual Workshop

As delivered by Ambassador Jackie Wolcott
Vienna, Austria, July 1, 2019

Thank you Joanna for the kind introduction and thank you to Executive Director Fedotov for hosting us and for the excellent work of UNODC staff in organizing the week’s events. Since I have you right here, I was thinking maybe Conference Services could start putting orchestras and flowers in all of our meetings. That would make them so much nicer here in the VIC. Thank you. I would also like to express our appreciation to Dr. Franz Pietsch of Austria’s Federal Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection for your support, and that of your Ministry.

It is a pleasure to be here with all of you, and with our colleagues from the United Nations, the Colombo Plan, World Health Organization, African Union, and the OAS, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, as well as partners from the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America and Drug Free America Foundation.

I would also like to recognize the audience here. Look around you: this is a distinguished group composed of participants from more than 120 countries, all of whom have dedicated their professional lives to preventing and treating those with substance use disorders. Thank you for the critical work that you do, and could we give them a round of applause, too, please?

In the United States, we are suffering through a drug-use epidemic of unprecedented scale, and the issues that will be discussed over the course of the next several days are extremely relevant to the challenges we face at home and the issues our partner countries confront around the world.

According to the just released United Nations World Drug Report, 585,000 people died due to drug use in 2017. That is simply unacceptable, and we thank you all for your work to combat this scourge through effective, evidence-based prevention, treatment, and recovery. We know that substance use disorders are preventable, that treatment is effective, and sustained recovery is possible.

ISSUP brings together people from many disciplines – health workers, educators, administrators, researchers, community leaders, and policymakers. It is when we combine all our skills, experiences, and knowledge that we can tackle this challenge in a meaningful and lasting way.

We have come to Vienna to exchange expertise, conduct and engage in training, and network with peers who grapple with and solve similar challenges around the world.

This event brings together the top international experts in the field — I hope you to get to know one another and share your experiences.

And, when you get home, I also hope you continue to look for opportunities to further promote drug prevention and treatment in your communities and countries.

On behalf of the United States government, I want you to know how proud we are to partner with all of you, and to support the work you do. We look forward to sustaining our existing partnerships and fostering new ones over the next few days, to bring our learning to bear to tackle this global challenge.

We thank you for your time, your energy, and the passion you have put for these issues across the world.

Thank you very much.