UNGASS Special Segment Day 1 – statement by William Brownfield, US

The 2016 UNGASS is the first meeting at this level since 1998 on drug policy. It’s an opportunity to identify shortcomings and seek a way to move forward. We hope all regions and institutions will join.

The INCB and UNODC provide unique expertise. Constructive criticism is helpful, but not cynicism in this debate.

In the spirit of common and shared responsibility, and respect for human rights, the UNGASS should adopt tangible measures while reaffirming the UN conventions.

Last September, the OAS produced a contribution for the UNGASS that represents a comprehensive approach based on balanced drug policy. There are three key issues that must be addressed at the UNGASS:

  1. We must develop health approaches to successfully tackle the drug problem and must ensure the medical availability of controlled substances throughout the world.
  2. The UNGASS should provide an opportunity to share best practices concerning the drug problem. We can’t arrest our way out of this. Legal systems are developing innovative methods to deal with low level drug offenders, including diversion programs.
  3. We must build on and promote the international cooperation instruments endorsed in the conventions.

NPS remain a vexing challenge. We have made strides in tackling precursor diverison, but more needs to be done in controlling against this.

Institutional vitality and resistance underscore the three goals stated. Next year, the world will be watching the UNGASS. This CND will shape that debate for decades to come. We must do so with reason, scientific responsibility, and health and security.

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