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Illegal drug trafficking obstacle to development – UN

Ban ki-Moon - UN Boss
Ban ki-Moon – UN Boss

The UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban ki-Moon says illegal drug trafficking is a clear obstacle to development and called for “a robust and coordinated law enforcement response within and among countries.”

Mr. Moon in a message to mark the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking which falls today June 26, 2013 spoke of his  visit to the Patrignano drug rehabilitation centre in northern Italy.

He said the facility houses 1,200 young women and men from 28 countries who are learning to free themselves from “the curse of addiction and enjoy dignified and productive lives.”

The UN Secretary-General said all over the world, drugs threaten the health and welfare of youth and children, families and communities, and the billions of dollars generated by the drugs trade feed corruption, enhance the power of criminal networks and create fear and instability.

“Illegal drug trafficking is a clear obstacle to development.  This cross-border problem requires a robust and coordinated law enforcement response within and among countries.  Tackling organized crime and the illicit drugs trade is a shared responsibility.  But the rule of law is only part of the equation,” he said.

According to Mr. Moon, farmers dependent on the cultivation of illicit drugs such as coca, marijuana and opium must be offered alternative livelihoods, while drug users and addicts need help not stigmatization.

He called for a human rights and science-based public health approach, which he says is the only sound basis for preventing and treating addiction and related consequences such as HIV transmission through unsafe injecting practices.

“We must also address threats such as the emerging problem of new psychoactive substances, many of which are not under international control.  Young people, in particular, must be made aware of the dangers of these drugs,” he said.

The UN General Assembly decided by resolution 42/112 of  7 December 1987, to observe 26 June as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking as an expression of its determination to strengthen action and cooperation to achieve the goal of an international society free of drug abuse. This resolution recommended further action with regard to the report and conclusions of the 1987 International Conference on Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

The theme for this year is “Make health your ‘new high’ in life, not drugs.”

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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