CND Plenary Day 3 – Item 9. Chair of Drug Prevention and Health Branch

This year, of the 13 resolutions that have been proposed, 8 were about health. This shows us that we are now putting health at the centre stage of the drug control system. This is also an issue of saving money. The cost of one untreated drug dependent person is 833,00 pounds, according to a UK study. If you put people in treatment, the cost is much lower. A study in 2002 showed that the cost of incarceration and untreated addiction is much higher than treatment. It is really saving money to provide treatment for drug dependence. Science helps us to understand this very complex health problem. We cannot ignore what science is telling us. We must stop oversimplifying. Cocaine, for example, changes the expression of our genes in the cells of our brain. These changes can apply to sperm cells, and therefore be inherited by offspring. Have to be concerned about these types of effects of drugs. Parenting is able to reduce the risk of children and change the trajectory of children. Maternal care or lack of maternal care also changes the genetic expression. Neglected or abused children lead to altered responses to emotion. More than 40% of people affected by substance abuse are also affected by mental health disorders. These types of evidence have to be considered by policymakers. Criticize UNODC’s past approaches towards drug use prevention as they ignored the vulnerabilities of young people. The scaring technique has unintended effects. Treatment needs to be improved. In high-income countries, health professionals who are treating addiction are not fully ware of the nature of the disease. UNODC is trying to respond to this with the help of WHO and UNAIDS. Asking for a large-scale mobilization of member states to support substance use disorders prevention, treatment and care. 

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