Press Releases

    10 October 2002


    NEW YORK, 9 October (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the message of Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the eighth International Meeting of the Rainbow International Association against Drugs, delivered on his behalf by Antonio Mario Costa, Director-General, United Nations Office at Vienna and Executive Director, United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention, in San Patrignano (Rimini), Italy, 9-11 October.

    It gives me pleasure to send my greetings to this meeting of the Rainbow International Association against Drugs.

    Drug abuse continues to destroy the lives of people throughout the world and to severely undermine development. Some people have expressed the view that it is not possible to reduce the demand for drugs and drug consumption in a significant way. Some also advocate the legalization of some drugs because, in their opinion, those drugs can be considered "recreational" and "less harmful" than others. Still others say that it is normal and unavoidable to use drugs when one is young because being young goes hand in hand with experimentation. These are insidious messages that all of us need to resist.

    Notwithstanding the serious drug problems faced by so many societies, there are encouraging signs that consistent and sustained preventive interventions can show results. Indeed, prevention is the key to ensuring healthy, safe and productive lives for all.

    Drug abuse has its causes, and its consequences, in the daily lives of people, in families, schools and workplaces. To find lasting solutions, we need to build partnerships that extend beyond professionals and experts to the people who are directly or indirectly affected by the drug problem, including and especially youth. Governments have an important role to play, but they cannot do the job alone. The contributions of organizations such as Rainbow International are crucial.

    The United Nations is fully behind you in the mission to give people alternatives to drugs, and to build strong and caring communities in which people can reach their full potential as healthy and productive members of society. In that spirit of partnership and hope, I wish you a productive meeting.

    * *** *