Reflections on conclusions of the informal civil society hearing and the scientific consultation

Michael Botticelli, USA National Drug Control Policy. We must root our policies into health. Criminal justice also has a role to play there. Approaches must be comprehensive, including primary prevention, universal and targeted prevention, support services. Hepatitis, HIV and overdoses must also be dealt with. Our efforts must be sustained over time. We make progress in the USA on tobacco control and HIV and we make sure that services are adequately resourced. We must ensure that services are evidence based, both in terms of research and implementation. We have a multi-year gap between research and actual practice. We must reduce the stigma and institutional barriers for people seeking care. If we continue to prosecute PWUD they won’t be able to access care. We must conduct criminal justice reform. It is unsustainable and inhumane. Yesterday, our Attorney General urged the UN to reduce sentences for poeple caught for non-violent drug use (which would reduce 70% of the prison population). We must all come together, including NGOs. This also requires leadership.

Astrid Nokleberg Heiberg: Historically civil society has played a big role in Norway. The services they provide have been characterised by innovation and have often been incorporated into the public services. The participation by civil society is a good thing. We need to secure protection and respect across the world so that individuals can participate in civil society groups. The participation in civil society groups shows how healthy a society is. Patients themselves should make decisions about treatment options, guided by professionals. Good intentions by themselves do not ensure good results. We need to ensure best practise guides are available and are tested and evaluated. Interventions based on scientific evidence have better results and have better monetary returns. Too many interventions are not science-based. We do know what works. It is time to implement these programmes.

Zeta Makri, Head of Delegation of Greece, Deputy Minister of Health: Civil societies provide a valuable asset on a daily basis for everyone — governments and the people who use drugs. Need recognition that addiction is first a health problem, and punitive approaches do not work. Over crowded prisons, lack of prison alternatives are a threat to society. A health-oriented approach in EU is a necessity, not an option. Policies based on scientific evidence and best practise are shown to work. Now is the time to act to get a health-oriented approach will help us build healthier communities.

General Ahmed Saadi Al Zahrani: Saudi Arabia is an outspoken advocate for the drug control convetions, and our support for these is articulated through a health approach. As the UNODC director said we must not neglect the humanitarian aspect of this problem. We must recognise the risk that young people face. To effectively respond to reduce demand, we need health-oriented approaches, not sanction-oriented. Addiction is a treatable health problem that can been helped by evidence and best practise. We commend the role of UNODC to enter the international standards of prevention of drug use. I hope our future efforts in Saudi Arabia will help the international community move towards a health-based approach.

Embassador Shamaa, CND Chair: It is the first time that the Scientific Committee and the youth forum have been brought to the policy makers at the High Level Segment this morning. We must look at the Political Declaration and how to strengthen it. Ovet the last three months I chair the negotiations for the review of the declaration. This led to the draft ministerial statement, a time consuming process. All delegations participated in the negotiations. The Statement provides a very balanced and effective basis for action. The consultation process includes over 20 countries coming from different regions and representing different policies. It is a joint product. We should look at how existing documents can be used effectively. The UNGASS 2016 should work towards NGO and government engagement on strengthening efforts. Most increases in drug use are probably going to take place in developing countries. A shift in the global drug problem from developed to developing countries will continue. We call on the CND to build a strategy based on the 2009 political declaration. Special attention should be given to the areas where progress should be made. We have heard from the UNODC ED that UNODC stands ready for action. Participants in the Scientific Committee and Youth Forum should be involved in these efforts, as should be the VNGOC – as focal points. Let’s use the tools and resources we have as best we can.Raymond Yans INCB President: Pays tribute to civil society for important work and valuable role in providing MS with hands on experience and knowledge to inform development of polices at national and international level.  Unsung heroes of efforts in prevention and treatment.  Working at grassroots level with limited resources.  First issue discussed was drug abuse through health based approach of conventions.  Priority has to be given to protecting health and welfare of mankind and ensuring availability of drugs for health purposes  both medical and scientific while preventing abuse and consequences such as overdose, and diversion.  INCB provides advice to governments on how to implement policy within the framework provided by the conventions.  Many areas for improvement.  Sometimes not well interpreted.  Severe policies that do not serve their aims.  One of the pillars is shared responsibility.  Board is obliged to point out measures in contravention of conventions.  Availability of narcotic drugs for medical use always the goal of convention.  Consumption of  narcotic drugs for pain relief concentrated in a very limited number of countries.  North America, Western Europe and wealthy countries of Oceania.  9$% of opioids by 17% of world’s population.  This situation of great concern given projected growth.  Noble efforts of many NGOs working to improve access to opioids for pain treatment and mental and neurological illness.  These organizations are helping governments to overcome limitations and in doing so are preventing immeasurable suffering.  It is pleasing to note the scientific consultation at highest level yesterday.  Provides evidence for policy development.  I hope it will help address efforts to address world drug problem globally. INCB committed to dialogue with civil society.  Appointment to meet next week for informal dialogue. Congratulate civil society and wish them success as they work to promote health and welfare of our community.

Dr Evgeniy Bryun, Russian Chief of Narcology, Min. Health: (Translation not very good)  Russia since the first anti drug conference in Shanghai has always been substantive supporter of combating illicit drugs.  Russia has always followed recommendation of UN in this regard.  Not using drugs in treatment process?  Abstinence. Strategy for reducing demand for drugs developed.  Prior element of this is promotion of healthy lifestyle, social therapeutic interventions, treatment and rehab processes.  Aim to create treatment subculture.  Antithesis of drug culture.  Broad range of cooperative partners.  European conference against drugs platform support.  Conference on this in Moscow last year?  As the day against drug and drug abuse coming up want to hold this conference.  Make it an annual event.  Invite all of you to share our experience in how to treat drugs. 

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