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Pike, Brigid (2014) Towards UNGASS 2016. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 50, Summer 2014, pp. 5-6.

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Ministers and government representatives attending the high-level segment of  the 57th Session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs, held in Vienna on 13–14 March 2014, agreed a Joint Ministerial Statement (E/CN.7/2014/L.15). This statement contains the participants’ conclusions with regard to progress in implementing the Political Declaration and Action Plan on the world drug problem, agreed in 2009. It will inform the preparations for and deliberations at the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the world drug problem in two years’ time.

Queen Sylvia of Sweden addressed the delegates at the opening session

Excerpts from the draft statement, and summaries of certain sections, are presented below. (The numbered paragraphs below relate to the paragraph numbers in the draft Statement. The Statement contains 78 paragraphs in total.) 


2. The UN Conventions ‘constitute the cornerstone of the international drug control system’.

3. ‘Commitment to achieving the targets and goals, and implementing the provisions, set out in the Political Declaration and Action Plan [on the world drug problem, agreed in 2009], is reaffirmed.

6. ‘The drug problem continues to pose a serious threat to the health, safety and well-being of all humanity, in particular youth’ – 15 years after the commitments made at the last UNGASS on the world drug problem to a drug-free world.

8. Member states reaffirm their ‘determination to tackle the world drug problem and to actively promote a society free of drug abuse in order to ensure that all people can live in health, dignity and peace, with security and prosperity.’

11. In light of discussions in some regions on how to address the world drug problem, member states emphasise the importance of ‘a broad, transparent, inclusive and scientific evidence-based discussion’.

15. The role of civil society in addressing the world drug problem merits special mention. Member states note its ‘important contribution to the review process’ and that representatives of affected populations and civil society entities ‘should be enabled to play a participatory role in the formulation and implementation of drug demand and supply reduction policy’.

General achievements, challenges and priorities for action

17 & 19. The global illicit supply and demand of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances under international control has remained ‘largely stable during the past five years’. There is now a better understanding of the problem, more widespread development and use of national strategies, updating of legal frameworks, and the creation and strengthening of capacities within law enforcement and health institutions.

23. The world drug problem ‘should continue to be addressed in a comprehensive, integrated and balanced manner, in full conformity with the three drug control conventions ... as well as all human rights, fundamental freedoms and the inherent dignity of all individuals’.

25–29. Member states specifically note the need for strengthening the partnerships between public health, justice and law enforcement sectors, a better understanding of the social and economic drivers of the world drug problem, the emerging challenge of polydrug ‘abuse’ in some regions, the serious and evolving challenge that amphetamine-type stimulants continue to pose for international drug control efforts, and the danger that economic and financial constraints may disproportionately impact on drug policies, in particular ‘adequate provisions of related health measures’.


  • Demand reduction – achievements, challenges and priorities for action

1 & 3. Member states recognise that ‘drug addiction is a health problem’. They also note that various member states have implemented comprehensive drug demand reduction programmes and ‘a broad range of alternatives to conviction and punishment in appropriate drug-related cases of a monitor nature or in cases in which the person who abuses drugs has committed an offence as outlined in the relevant provisions of the international drug control conventions’.

6–13. Member states need to increase focus, in conformity with the three international drug control conventions,  on:

  • drug-related health effects, taking into account the specific challenges faced by vulnerable groups such as children, adolescents, vulnerable youth, women, including pregnant women, people with medical and psychiatric comorbidities, ethnic minorities and socially marginalized individuals;
  • formulating and implementing a broad system of primary prevention and early intervention;
  • strengthening public health systems, particularly in the areas of prevention, treatment and rehabilitation;
  • developing or strengthening national monitoring mechanisms that collect and analyse data on current trends in demand, including possible gaps in the provision of appropriate public health, educational and social services;
  • ensuring access for all to comprehensive drug demand reduction measures, taking into account the specific needs of women and children;
  • reducing the transmission of HIV among injecting drug users by 50% by 2015;
  • implementing measures aimed at minimising the negative public health and social impacts of drug ‘abuse’;
  • deepening knowledge of the challenges posed by new psychoactive substances (NPS) and developing comprehensive and integrated approaches to the detection, analysis and identification of NPS, trends and possible negative health and other impacts.

  • Supply reduction – achievements, challenges and priorities for action

15, 17 & 20. Progress was noted with respect to measures related to the illicit production and supply of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, including the exchange of information and best practices, regional and international coordination, capacity building, cross-border operations and maritime control. Progress was also noted in the development of a consolidated international response to the increasing availability of NPS that may pose risks to public health and safety, including the development of a global reference point, the Early Warning Advisory and cooperation in the identification and reporting of such substances, in oreder to increase data collection, improve collective understanding and find effective policy responses.

22. Law enforcement measures alone cannot address the challenges.

23. There is a need to ‘scientifically evaluate, where appropriate, drug supply reduction measures, in order to direct government resources to initiatives that have proved to be successful.’

24–25. There is an urgent need to respond to the serious challenges posed by the increasing links between drug trafficking and corruption, organized crime, terrorism and money-laundering. ‘The effective application of and respect for the rule of law contributes to combating the world drug problem and facilitates efforts to hold drug traffickers and perpetrators of related crimes accountable for their actions.’

28–32. Specific supply reduction challenges include new psychoactive substances; synthetic opioid analgesics not under international control, in particular tramadol; precursor chemicals; and the illicit cultivation of opium poppy, coca bush and cannabis plant and illicit drug production, manufacture, distribution and trafficking.

Item Type
Issue Title
Issue 50, Summer 2014
July 2014
Page Range
pp. 5-6
Health Research Board
Issue 50, Summer 2014
Accession Number
HRB (Electronic Only)

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