United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa, Presentation in New Orleans, 6 December 2007
“Is there some common ground between those who insist on a world free of drugs, and those who propose a world of free drugs? By the time this session is over, I hope we will all be able to answer in the affirmative. Here are a few pointers:
- First, health and security have to be protected when we talk about society, including when we talk about how society deals with drugs.
- Second, as a corollary, we can all agree on the need to reduce the harm caused by drugs — by preventing their use, by treating those who abuse them, and by limiting the damage they cause to the individual and society.
- Third, I hope we also agree on the need to ensure that drug policy is evidence-based, not the result of political considerations or ideological preferences.
- Fourth, I submit that the dichotomy prohibition vs legalization is a misnomer. Such a confrontation is too simplistic for scientific deliberations, nor does it help those whom we all wish to assist: our brothers and sisters, the drug addicts.
- Fifth, and finally, I hope you also agree that it is more accurate to refer to our divergence as a difference about the degree to which addictive substances (drugs, alcohol and tobacco) should be regulated.
If these points are accepted, the discussion is to be centred on where the bar is set”
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is a global leader in the fight against illicit drugs and international crime. Established in 1997 through a merger between the United Nations Drug Control Programme and the Centre for International Crime Prevention, UNODC operates in all regions of the world through an extensive network of field offices. UNODC relies on voluntary contributions, mainly from governments, for 90 per cent of its budget.
For the complete story go to: UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa