18 January 2005

UNODC Tells European Drug Czars Crime and Terrorism Subsidized by Drug Trafficking: Democracy, Stability, and Peace Depend on Strong Counter-Drug Policies

VIENNA, 18 January (UN Information Service) -- Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), will address Drugs Czars from 25 European member States and Norway on 19 January, telling the management board of the European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) that “In 2005, drug control policies must be a priority for nations serious about severing the link between narcotics trafficking, crime and terrorism.”

The meeting, which will take place at EMCDDA headquarters in Lisbon, Portugal, will be chaired by Marcel Reimen, President of the Management Board. Established in 1993, EMCDDA is the central source of comprehensive information on drugs and drug addiction in Europe, and has historically focused on drug prevention and problem drug use, as well as on drug control.

UNODC’s message reflects an increasing concern about the symbiotic relationship between drugs, crime and terrorism, an alliance, which Mr. Costa says, “continues to fund a host of heinous enterprises -- from child trafficking to prostitution, to arms smuggling, corruption, and terrorist attacks on innocent populations around the world.”

The recent exchange of letters between UNODC and the European Commission also highlights the close links between international drug trafficking and global crime, and offers both organizations new opportunities to partner in the fight against this dual threat. Mr. Costa says that these joint efforts will play out in the Balkans, the Middle East, Central Asia, the Andean region, Afghanistan, and in Africa.

Mr. Costa will also present the audience with an update on drug cultivation and production, as well as new statistics on drug use. “Cultivation,” reports Mr. Costa, “is lower everywhere, but is rising in Afghanistan. The supply of heroin coming out of that country is so abundant that purity has skyrocketed. As a result, overdoses are rising in Northern and Western Europe, and we can expect a significant increase in drug-related deaths.”

On the positive side, Mr. Costa recognizes that countries have been making progress in reducing production, combating trafficking and scaling-up prevention and treatment interventions. Outside Afghanistan, drug production is also down in every country or region, including lower production of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) in traditional centres in Europe (Netherlands) and in Asia (Myanmar). Reports indicate a decline or stabilization of drug abuse in Europe and Oceania, stabilization in North America, and an increase in Eastern Europe, China, and the Far East.

For more information, contact:
Kathleen Millar
Deputy Spokesperson, UNODC
Tel: (+43 1) 26060 5228
Mobile: (+43 ) 6991459 5629
email: unodcpress@unodc.org