As UN concludes session on world drug problem, States reaffirm need to tackle the complex issue

Heroin seizures in Iran. Photo: UNODC

21 April 2016 – The United Nations General Assembly this afternoon was set to conclude a special session on the world drug problem in which Member States reaffirmed their commitment to tackling the pervasive challenges presented by drugs around the globe and promoting a society free of drug abuse for the well-being of all humanity.

Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft was set to wrap up the proceedings, which began on Tuesday and during which Member States and civil society alike delivered a clear message: that they care about the world drug problem, and specifically about the people most affected by this problem. Over the three days participants stressed that more than ever before, the global consensus recognizes that the solution to the world drug problem lies in a more humane, public-health oriented, human rights compliant; evidence-based approach that addresses this issue in all its complexity. On the special session’s opening day, the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Yury Fedotov, welcomed the adoption by Member States of an outcome document, entitled Our joint commitment to effectively addressing and countering the world drug problem.

“This [special session on the world drug problem] UNGASS has provided a critical opportunity, at a critical moment, to build a more comprehensive and collective understanding of the challenges we face,” he said, emphasizing the need for global drug policies that “put people first.”

The framework document contains operational recommendations addressing demand and supply reduction; access to controlled medicines while preventing diversion; issues of human rights, youth, children, women and communities; emerging challenges, including new psychoactive substances; strengthening international cooperation; and alternative development.

Today’s meetings, which included two round table discussions on cross-cutting issues and alternative development, heard statements from political leaders from the Latin America and Caribbean region, who, along with others, encouraged States to rethink their approach in order to continue to make progress in combating the world drug problem.


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