7 March 2005

United States to Elaborate on National Drug Control Policy at CND

VIENNA, 7 March (UN Information Service) -- John P. Walters, Director, United States Office of National Drug Control Policy, will address the media today at the United Nations (Vienna) at 15:10 hours in Conference Room VII, C07.  Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) will be present at the event. Mr. Walters is leading the US delegation to the 48th Commission on Narcotic Drugs; he is expected to outline current US drug control policies, and to elaborate on a 17 per cent  decline in drug abuse among teenagers in the United States.

Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director, UNODC, says “The success stories Member States bring to the CND are extremely valuable to countries still struggling with the ways and means of drug control. We cannot achieve the goals set by the United Nations General Assembly Special Session in 1998 unless we build on strategies and approaches that we know work and can be replicated. The United States has demonstrated noteworthy success in controlling drug abuse and trafficking.”

Mr. Costa adds, “Clearly, not every approach is effective everywhere. But the anti-drug community has to listen and learn from successful programmes, no matter where they materialise. Drug abuse, and its collateral health damage, is a problem fast approaching critical mass. We need to think outside the box if we’re serious about reducing drug use.”

The US approach to curbing drug turns on three primary approaches: stopping use before it starts, healing America’s drug users, and disrupting supply. The US, with assistance from the United Kingdom, has earmarked approximately US$1.5 billion for reducing the supply of drugs grown in South America and Afghanistan. These two areas respectively produce nearly 100 per cent of the global cocaine supply, and nearly 90 per cent of the opium in 2003.  

The current U.S. budget request includes US$150 million (an increase of over US$50 million) for Access to Recovery -- a treatment initiative which provides drug treatment to individuals otherwise unable to obtain access to services. People in need of treatment receive an assessment of their treatment needs and are issued vouchers to obtain help at effective treatment organizations, including faith-based and community organizations. 

The US government supports the use of drug treatment courts as an option for carefully screened, non-violent drug offenders, and, in the US, the President’s budget includes funding of US$70.1 million for the drug courts programme in the Fiscal Year 2006, an increase of over US$30 million. “In a traditional court, there is a prosecutor on one side, a defence attorney on the other, and a judge in the middle,” says Miami Drug Court Judge Jeffrey Rosinek.  “Here, the court is unified and non-adversarial.  Everyone is here to get that person off drugs.”

The US Office of National Drug Control Policy also supports efforts to stop drug use before it starts, an undertaking predicated on student drug testing and adolescent brain development research, among other initiatives.  US$25.4 million has been earmarked for student drug testing, which has proven to be successful in schools throughout the United States.


For more information, contact:

Kathleen Millar
Deputy Spokesperson UNODC
Tel.: +43 1 26060 5629
Email: press@unodc.org