Press Releases

    26 June 2002


    Message of Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director United Nations Office
    For Drug Control And Crime Prevention (ODCCP)

    VIENNA, 26 June (UN Information Service) -- Following is the message by the Executive Director of the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP) for International Day against Drug Abuse and illicit Trafficking, 26 June:

    HIV/AIDS is the deadliest disease of all time. In 2001, every day there were 14,000 newly HIV-infected people and daily more than 8,000 died of AIDS. The epidemic has already killed 25 million people, with an additional 40 million carrying the virus. Millions of those infected cannot afford any treatment: their suffering is tremendous. The disease is not only destroying the life of individuals. It affects entire communities around the globe, wiping out economic and social development gains.

    Last year, the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS called upon all nations to redouble their efforts against this disease. Addressing the "Substance Abuse and HIV/AIDS" -- this year’s theme of International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking -- the United Nations Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) is committing growing resources to international efforts against this global epidemic.

    While no efforts or resources should be spared to find a cure, the best possible response is preventing the spread of new infections and providing relief to those already suffering from HIV/AIDS. The UNDCP carries on such work in communities where intravenous drug use is on the rise, helping people understand risks and adopt healthier, drug-free lifestyles.

    In countries as far apart as Brazil, Kazakhstan, Vietnam, Myanmar and West Africa, UNDCP works in close collaboration with the local authorities and other partners to implement drug abuse and HIV/AIDS prevention projects, especially among at-risk teens. Teachers are trained in health promotion and drug abuse risks in schools, and courses are offered on the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, particularly AIDS. Hundreds of thousands of teachers and students have been provided preventive education through UNDCP media campaigns, communication workshops, educational games, theatre pieces, video presentations and radio programmes.

    UNDCP is also running a global awareness-raising campaign through video public service announcements carried by television stations worldwide.

    In this way we contribute to the Millennium Summit goal -- emphasized in the Secretary-General’s message on today’s occasion -- of halting and beginning to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS by the year 2015.

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