The Demand Reduction Round Table at the High Level Meeting was chaired by New Zealand this morning and attended by delegates of many states. Of the 41 Speeches made, including speeches by 2 NGOs, the chairman identified the following 8 broad themes of the discussion.
1) A strong recognition of the value of collaboration and partnerships across agencies including health, legal, ngo, and civil society sectors
2) A real commitment to working together to share information available and learn from the experiences of others
3) The importance of families in assisting individuals, protecting the children, but also giving real strength to families to perform the role we expect of them
4) A need to make sure that our decisions are always high quality and effective
5) Examples of awareness raising campaigns and the importance of providing information that is accessible, accurate and relevant, utilising new technologies
6) The need for a strong commitment to an evidence based approach so that what we do, works
7) With regard to prevention and treatment, emphasising early intervention and recognising needle exchange and the chronic status of the user, the people who need help
8) Ensuring that the data is robust.
The merits and effectiveness of harm reduction also formed a key part of many interventions, on both sides.
The chairman expressed a hope at the beginning of the session that there would be a free flowing discussion, not a replication of plenary national statements. Unfortunately time constrictions meant that this did not occur and also that the NGO speakers spoke without interpretation. One question was posed however in the intervention of the delegate from the Lebanon however about possibilities and effectiveness of surgical interventions for drug users. This question was finally answered by the last speaker who was the delegate from CEDRO, he said: “One colleague talked about brain methods these were used in London in the 1820s and it was forbidden because it left the people absolutely stupid but it is a fragrant violation of the human rights of the individual – i can understand the desperation of families, but i cannot condone that treatment.”
This speaker received a round of applause.
Separate blog posts will follow on other specific interventions of some delegates to the round table.