Round Table on Demand reduction

Portugese Representative: Is a balanced approach and our policy, and it is well known. We fight the disease not the people that suffer from it.” In general we have had a positive revolution of all indicators.
The portuguese govt.
The current economic austerity may impact service provision. Marginalised communities are most vulnerable, economic crises might lead to increase in drug use. One of the biggest challenges for drug policy is that the results of their policy are sustainable in the future.

Switzerland Representative: There are many different approaches. Drug policy needs to be balanced, pragmatic and open to innovative approaches. Swiss policy lies on four pillars, but these are not separate. We have collaboration and cooperation between health and police and other agencies. We have a palet of different treatment options for people who need it. Respect for human rights are a common thread in all drug polices for Switzerland. Our drug policies promote public health and safety. Prescribing heroin is an example of this, and it reduces communicable diseases. Members need to find policies that suit their individual cases. In Switzerland the responses need to be evidence-based with scientific studies.

Pakistan representative: drug demand reduction is important for Pakistan. It’s not a pure economic reason. Pakistan is right next to the biggest heroin and cannabis producing region and so ends up being a route for trafficking. Have developed comprehensive campaigns to encourage demand reduction.
Addiciton needs to be treated as health, addicts are treated as victims. But by being in the proximity of large drug producing region, supply control is a bigger issue. Pakistan is against legalisation of any drugs.

Republic of Korea representative: Need a comprehensive approach to reduce demand and supply. Has been implementing action plans since 1999. Have taken a regional cooperation approach which has lead to decrease in demand. Last year over 8000 education sessions were held in schools. ROK government has been making funding and assistance to neighbouring countries.

Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs representative: CND’s resolutions often say the right things, but the implementation does not stack up. We call for a systematic review of the resolutions and evaluation of implementation. Want member states to prioritise evidence-based demand reduction measures. NGO’s greatly contribute to UNODC’s work. Governments need to work with civil society to ensure the highest quality of programmes and practise comes out.

Australian representative: Investing in demand reduction has paid off and Australia has seen reductions in a lot of key indicators, like HIV/AIDS infections. Need to engage police, schools, parents, the media to help change drug use patterns and recognise that many factors lead to drug use and addiction. Integrated early intervention has been important for Australia. Youth friendly mental health one stop shops have been important. Evidence-based school-based interventions have been important. Shares concern about challenges of NPS and promotion through the internet.

Slovenia representative: demand reduction is a key element for Slovenia to help reduce the use of drugs and the harms it causes to society. Strong support in practise for harm reduction programmes. Evidence shows that risk and harm reduction have been successful in stopping spread of diseases and drug-related deaths.

Tunisian representative: We have seen that demand reduction, especially in schools, has had great effects. A new monitoring agency has been opened, this will allow for more research. Social and medical follow up will put in place training programmes about addiction so workers can provide the best support. There is a social education programme for parents, campaigns have been run in prisons by government and NGOs. Tunisia aims re-evaluate the system of criminal penalties for drug use.

Iraqi representative: Because of strong families, there was not much prevalence of drug use, traffickers on the other hand were a problem. War has disintergrated the social web.

Côte d’Ivoire representative: Our approach is based on risk reduction. Young people are large drug users, before this meeting we carried out a check in shcools. Out of 2000 people evaluated, 68% were drug users. 34% were high risk. Cocaine was present. Some children has started using drugs as young as nine, even at good schools. Côte d’Ivoire will put in a training programme. Teachers will lead this programme. Drugs are present everywhere. People are using drugs to escape. It’s not just cocaine and cannabis. We are truely committed to doing something about this.

Oman representative: has established a committee and it covers all areas. We are also looking at capacity building at all three levels. Planning to have more rehab centres. Working on a new policy, it will cover all aspects. Harm reduction principles are not yet implemented. Oman are unsure of what evidence-based prevention programmes have trouble to find if programmes do work, they ask for help from fellow member states.

Brazil representative: the phenomena of drug use is complex. Society and government need to come together to minimise harm from abuse of substances. Need inter sectoral cooperation. It is important that knowledge of the effects of drugs, not just health but relationships with friends, families and communities. Need to look are social reintegration. So need to look at further evidence on this area.

*Note: not all speakers were covered in this session.

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