Home » Item 6. Follow-up to the implementation at the national, regional and international levels of all commitments, as reflected in the Ministerial Declaration of 2019, to address and counter the world drug problem (cont.)

Item 6. Follow-up to the implementation at the national, regional and international levels of all commitments, as reflected in the Ministerial Declaration of 2019, to address and counter the world drug problem (cont.)

Chair: Welcome back to the discussion of Item Number 6. I will begin by giving the floor to Uganda.

Uganda: Chair, allow me to congratulate you as Chair and commend the member states to their important work. Uganda affirms that the fight against the World Drug Problem is the shared responsibility of all UN member states. To this end, Uganda would like to thank the UNODC for publishing the 2023 WDR which highlights the growing threat of drug trades, in conflict situations, and the synthetic drug market. Uganda has given attn to the Synthetic Drug Act of 2024 which gives … to psychotropic substances and other international conventions. The Act also provides mechanisms for the rehabilitation of drug addicts. Uganda has employed a approach which safeguards them against misuse; the drug control authority at all times has ensured … an appropriate use of controlled drugs. It also continues to invest in subs control prevention. Chair, we emphasize the clear engagement of collaboration w/ int’l partners, local gov organizations, and … institutions. This has allowed for effective surveillance and persecution of drug-related offences. We urge the … int’l community to continue to support and partner with us. Allow me to conclude by saying we reiterate our committment to the 2019 Ministerial Declaration.

Bolivia: Strategy against illicit trafficking and coca cultivation expansion control. Sovereign innovative model which includes organised civil society —coca leaf producers. THey do community monitoring. It’s become a model recognised internationally. However, addressing drugs is an ever more complex phenomenon considering new trends in trafficking and expansion of roots of trafficking. Small, medium sized criminal groups play an ever more important role in cannabis, synthetic drugs trafficking. Presence of criminal networks in multiple many different countries. Negative impacts on health, human development, security and social coexistence. The problem of drugs is a problem fir the world: producer, transit and use countries. Need to work comprehensively and in a balanced manner to address this scourge. That’s why our strategy highlights international cooperation, mainly with countries in the region. And plans transnational operations to break apart transnational organisations. We are consolidating cooperation with neighbours and beyond. 9 bilateral meetings and 7 technical operational meetings at the border. Participated in 20 multilateral fora, including MERCOSUR, Andean Community. Strengthening programmes of UNODC: AIRCOP, container control programme, CRIMJUST project. Bolivia is part of the COLIBRI programme of the World customs organisation to strengthen control of air traffic. Propose the creation of a Latin American Anti Drugs Alliance. To allow for networks of trafficking to be broken apart. We will promote compliance with commitments in the 2019 Ministerial Declaration. As we’ve done to date. However, unless we move from words to deeds, joint actions between all states, the WDP will continue to exist and be a challenge for all.

Azerbaijan: Commitment to all commitments reflected in the 2019 Ministerial Declaration. Programme provides for a broad set of measures to reduce supply and demand (…). Carry out systematic information prevention and outreach campaigns in educational establishments targeting youth and with civil society, religious, academic, media institutions. Three medical establishments respond to thousands of patients of OST and produce research. Enhancing law enforcement activities to avoid smuggling and transit from the South. Law enforcement authorities seized more than 26 tonnes of drugs consisting of heroin and methamphetamine for onward shipment for markets in Europe. Full panoply of measures. (…) Importance of international cooperation. High assessment of UNODC’s efforts addressing the world drug problem. CARICC, global container control programme, all important. We will continue to offer support to all and any measures aimed at addressing the world drug problem.

Gambia: Will speak at a different agenda.

INTERPOL: Thank you, Chair. Over the past 5 years law enforce and INTERPOL have played a driving role in combating the World Drug Problem and to the 2019 Min Dec. We facilitated joint investigations and the coordination between partner countries; including pandemic-era threats like cybercriminality. We allow our member states to link between national investigations, essential tools for illicit traficking and key info about criminal networks and their financial actvitities; also trace stamps from drugs network tracked back to crim networks. Also like to highlight the Peruvian arrest of Albanian criminal aided by INTERPOL; this tech is essential to locate suspects in the itinerary of illicit traficking. … Includng weapons and people. Also have established a working group. … Please allow me to wish a happy international Francophonie day.

African Union: Distinguished Chairperson, Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen, The African Union continues to play a pivotal role in formulating strategic continental policies and frameworks and in providing technical support for implementation of the policies to our 55 Member States.In 2019 the African Union adopted the African Union Plan of Action on Drug Control and Crime Prevention, 2019 to 2025. The key intervention areas of the AU Plan of Action mirror the Seven (7) chapters of the UNGASS 2016 Outcome Document. With the assistance of the African Union, some Member States subsequently aligned their national plans of action to continental aspirations. At continental level, most of the key intervention areas of the AU Plan of Action have been implemented with the assistance of INL, US State Department.The African continent also continues to be a growing transit and destination market, complemented by illicit cultivation, production and clandestine manufacture of synthetic drugs.Consequently, the continent experienced increased consumption of drugs with the attendant effect of drug related disorders and comorbidities. Data from the continental drug surveillance system shows that 70% of people who sought treatment for substance use disorders between 2016 and 2021 were aged 15 to 34, with 3% in the 10 to 14 age bracket. With UNODC projections of a 40% increase in drug consumption in the region by 2030, our young people are most vulnerable. Apart from Alcohol, primary substances reported to have been used by persons accessing treatment in our Member States, are Cannabis, Synthetic opioids including tramadol; Methamphetamines and captagon.Significant progress has been made by the African Union in implementing international commitments since the 2019 CND ministerial review.This includes, among others:i. The establishment and strengthening of national drug epidemiology surveillance sentinels in 33 African Union Member States.ii. Enhancing technical capacities for the implementation of drug demand reduction and epidemiology programmes at continental and national levels.iii. Training of competent authorities to ensure the accessibility and availability of controlled drugs for medical and scientific purposes while preventing diversion.In November 2023, the African Union hosted its inaugural High-Level Session on Addressing Substance Use and related Mental Health Disorders among youth, women and children, in Lusaka, Zambia. At this occasion the incorporation of traditional and religious leaders in drug demand reduction to expand community interventions, as well as gender and age-sensitive perspectives in continental and national action plans, were adopted as official strategies.The African Union Youth Corps for Drug Use Prevention as well as the African Civil Society Forum on Drugs were also launched at the High-Level Session.Chairperson, Excellencies,In line with the Common African Position for the mid-term review, the African Union continues to advocate for evidence-based responses tomitigate the health and social harms related to drugs with a central focus on respect for human rights, including the rights of people who use drugs.As encapsulated in Agenda 2063, that espouses the Africa we want, the African Union is committed to prioritizing sustainable development efforts and reaffirms its steadfast resolve towards advancing comprehensive and sustainable approaches to drug control and crime prevention.

IFRC: 191 national red cross and crescent societies, supporting policies, legislation, services, and programmes to reduce barriers to access health service experienced by people who use drugs. Arms continue to affect disproportionately affected communities, a key reason for health inequalities. Welcome hgh level declaration of the 2024 midterm review following up on the 2019 ministerial declaration and also underline the importance of determination to address public health, social problems, resulting from drug  abuse. National societies, its auxiliaries to public authorities, are deeply rooted in communities. Involvement in early warning, prevention, treatment, care, in cooperation with civil society and affected communities themselves. Our approach is outlined in the Rome Consensus 2.0. We join the call to reform drug policies, shifting away from punitive models toward policies based on health and human rights, recognising and advancing the rights of people who use drugs. We encourage that policies promote a cross-sectoral and multi stakeholder approach considering gender and age-specific needs as well as the impact on individual, social, and environmental determinants of health. IFRC and partners stand ready to share practices and knowledge on prevention, treatment, including overdose and associated health challenges, communicable diseases and mental health. This session of CND provides a unique opportunity for member states and all stakeholders to reaffirm their commitments to evidence based and humanitarian drug policy. Three more words among the thousands said in the last 7 days are the most important: Access to treatment, continuum of care, compassion —because there’s no treatment without compassion.

Gambia: Gambia congratulates you on your election as Chair. Committed to all commitments on drugs. Recognise the challenges in tackling the world drug problem with the proliferation of synthetic drugs. Reaffirm commitments and appreciate the role of UNODC and CND in playing a part in mitigating the world drug problem. No one country can do it alone. The Gambia signed multilateral and bilateral agreements with several countries to strengthen drug control, including Guinea Bissau, Nigeria and the UK Border Force. Discussions with DEA, NCA, DCSA, and equivalent organisations in Saudi Arabia and BRazil. Through the CRIMJUST programme, facilitating joint investigation programmes. Gambia and Ecuador will hold a press event on our shared programmes. Effective demand and harm reduction measures are needed to address drug problems as public health. First time offenders of cannabis with non custodial sentences like community service and mentoring. Rehabilitation centre to cater for the needs of drug users, demonstration of will to implement drug laws guided by human rights considerations and international standards. The abuse of Kush, K2, is worrying. Many young people. Invite the CND to consider the issue of kush seriously. Urgently study this issue and advise local authorities accordingly.

Singapore Anti-Narcotics Association: The Singapore anti-narcotics (SANA) would extend our gratitude ot CND and VNGOC for the opportunity to address our efforts against the scourge of drugs. Around the world is a worrying trend of drug abuse; an estimated 13.2 million people are injecting users in 2021 with 5.5 million worldwide suffering drug disorders; women suffering from accessing treatment and youth most vulnerable. The harms extend beyond users to families and loved ones, even unborn babies; unborn babies of drug-using mothers are at higher risk for disease and early death. Intergenerational drug offences are also a  problem; 5x more likely to have drug problems.Disruption to their education and suffering, leading to cycle of health issues and problems with the law. Hence it is essential for [coalition of orgs] to collectively address drug abuse. Our strategy is preventative education and aftercare, with abstinence as goal, are complementary measures. We aim for a drug-free SIngapore, working with youth, civil society, and community at large; also families and people in recovering to keep the scourge of drugs at bay. We also aim for grassroots efforts to offer help; over 2000 families each year. Ulcer reaches at-risk youth. … Also essential for forming pro-social networks to stay away from drugs. Also work with prisoners from pre-lease and integration into society, which is essential for a smooth transition after release. We also provide services to these individuals; we also have walk-in ‘step up’ centres to increase accessibility. We have a pool of peer-leaders who stay drug free and act as mentors for youth and others in recovery. THey also share their testimonials and commitment to remain drug free; throughout social support groups, taks, and mass media. Studies show that those who receive support and are much less likely to relapse (from other mothers). Our work is essential for young users with more liberal takes on drugs, e.g. cannabis. SANA remains steadfastly opposed to such measures. … We encourage all member states and partners to remain committed in their response against drugs. 

Antigua and Barbuda: Let me first pledge my country’s commitment to the ongoing engagement in the fight against drug trafficking, providing adequate counselling and treatment, exploring options from drug and mental health courts, and providing opps to youth vulnerable to using drugs. This is our first time attending the CND plenary and have found the interacts a rewarding and beneficial experience. We are a beautiful microstate in the Caribbean between producing countries in South and demanding countries in the North. We were hoping to receive a magical tablet to address this issue; including a new medical cannabis industry to combat the synthetic opioid crisis. I have witnessed from the discussions we’ve achieved a lot, but are out-manoeuvred and resourced, and an increase in the use and ability in synthetic opioids and psychotropic drugs. We may need introspection on the strategic approach we are taking; it appears there are several approaches with various interests, making a difficult coordinated global approach, hence the increases in these issues. I cannot imagine a world without CND, however, we’d be in a much worse position without the efforts of those who are here. I appeal to ask ourselves then: are we satisfied with our efforts and outcomes? What can we do differently? Thank you for the opportunity for the chance. 

CADFY: In the US, more than 110000 Americans lost their lives due to overdose in 2022. That number will be higher in 2023. Amid the desperation to save lives, west coast states have been working toward public health, accepting widespread drug use and averting drug users into treatment. In Los Angeles, increase in drug supply, use rate, substance use disorders, drug induced mental health disorders, mental health problems, crimes and overdose deaths. Decrease in treatment. San Francisco has similar results. In 2020, relocation of  thousands of companies outside of the city. Relocations increase unemployment rate, decrease in tax base and services in the community. Oregon MEasure 110  decriminalised hard drugs, including heroin and fentanyl. In 2022, Oregon had the highest rates of use. Overdose deaths increased by 75%. Same consequences as california. They’re reversing the measure now. Washington with similar policies has experienced similar. LEarn from our experiences. As a leader in international drug policy, we look for global guidance from you for our children and communities and to keep our children safe from drugs.

Association Proyecto Hombre: Represent 180 organisations of the global initiative on drug use prevention. Civil society, academics and governments are advocating for strengthened prevention. 2022 WDR of UNODC identified the need to provide an impl,enet international large scale drug use prevention initiatives. National and international experts in Oviedo, at a meeting hosted by PH, produced a Declaration of Oviedo —with the collaboration of more than 200 experts, translated to 20 languages. Very pleased to share headings: Dedicate 25% of drug demand reduction strategy to prevention by 2030. Promote an approach to prevention targeting all ages for prevention. Foster research and evaluation on prevention strategies. Broaden strategies to focus on individuals and communities, not drugs. Mainstream prevention for all populations at risk. Boost multi stakeholder (…). Provide universal coverage on a consortium of care. Action in LMICs. Empower current and future generation of prevention professoonañs. Monitor the status of prevention policies. The full list of proposals and supporters is on our website. This is the moment to incorporate and integrate evidence based prevention in drug policy.

Dejusticia: Thank you, President, on behalf of Elementa Human Rights and Dejusticia, organisations that promote structural and profound changes to drug policy and the regulation of its uses, we support the critical review process on coca leaf propelled by Bolivia, supported by Colombia, which will be carried out by the World Health Organization. We consider this to be a great opportunity for the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, at the appropriate time, to amend the mistake made by States in the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961 by including coca leaf on the lists.Specifically, coca leaf – which is not a narcotic in scientific terms – was classified in List I, which is one of the most restrictive in the control system and imposes strict controls based on the alleged serious dangers of this substance. This decision disregards that coca leaf has any therapeutic value.As stated in the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights’ report on the Human Rights Challenges in addressing and countering all aspects of the world drug problem, “the 1961 Convention obliges States to abolish a number of traditional practices, in particular the traditional uses of coca leaf,” contrary, according to the High Commissioner, to Article 24 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which stipulates that these peoples have the right to their own traditional medicines and to maintain their health practices.In the Andean countries where coca is produced and in other jurisdictions, use is not limited solely to indigenous peoples. For example, the exhibition presented by the Colombian government in the rotunda during this CND shows that coca also has medicinal, nutritional, and dye uses. We hope that the critical review process reflects this wide range of uses.This is not the first time we have discussed the reclassification of coca leaf in the Commission on Narcotic Drugs. In the 1990s, there were tensions over the pronouncements of Peru and Bolivia, which stressed that coca leaf should be reclassified to enable its potential uses, arguing that the convention had equated the use of coca leaf with a public health problem. This was highlighted by the INCB in its annual report of 1994, under the section on possible future adjustments to international drug treaties: “The conflict between the provisions of the 1961 Convention and the legislation of countries where the use of coca leaf is legal should be resolved. There is a need to develop a scientific review to assess the practice of chewing coca leaf and drinking coca tea.”From there, systematic review requests were made to the WHO and its expert group. Although these processes did not progress, it became clear that there is still unresolved legal ambiguity at the core of the classification of this substance.The classification of coca leaf impedes the development of scientific research on fundamental aspects of its composition, effects, biology, and physiological mechanisms of action in the human body. To prevent this, the Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights recommended in General Comment 25 on the right to science that “States Parties should fulfil their obligations under the international drug control regime in conjunction with their obligations to respect, protect, and fulfil the right to participate in scientific progress and its applications and to enjoy the benefits thereof, through the periodic review of their policies in relation to substances under control.”From Elementa Human Rights and Dejusticia, we welcome the efforts of the Colombian government to regulate coca internally for medical, scientific research, and industrial purposes. We hope that this regulatory framework contributes to the critical review process currently being conducted by the WHO.

International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC): I am making this intervention on behalf of the International Drug Policy Consortium, a global network of over 190 NGOs that promote drug policies grounded in human rights and social justice.The outcome of the long process to review the implementation of the 2019 Ministerial Declaration on drugs has been disappointing.Months of intense negotiations have delivered a document that mostly reiterates existing commitments, and no true ‘review’ has taken place. The global drug control regime is still unable to acknowledge its failure to curb the illegal market, it still turns a blind eye on the devastating impacts of drug policies, and ignores the evidence and recommendations provided in other corners of the UN.In December, IDPC launched a shadow report to evaluate progress against the implementation of the 2019 Ministerial Declaration. We did so, as no-one else, including UNODC, was doing this. The sobering conclusion was that little to no progress had been made.Despite billions spent in drug control, the illegal drug market is thriving, drug policies fuel human rights violations, violence and conflict, and access to harm reduction and treatment fall dramatically short of need.Everybody knows that the system is not working, but very few are willing to put that in writing.Fortunately, things are changing.In September 2023, the OHCHR released a ground-breaking report on human rights challenges in the world drug situation. The findings have led the UN High Commissioner Volker Turk to call for transformational change in the international community’s approach to drugs.And finally, at the mid-term review last week, a group of 60 Member States led by Colombia, including the majority of CND members, acknowledged that the global drug control system ‘needs rethinking’ and should be ‘collectively reviewed’ to center the rights and well-being of humankind.How can the multilateral approach to drugs continue to be relevant in this quickly changing landscape? We propose three recommendations.1. First, in order to carry out the global ‘rethinking’ urged by the majority of CND members last Thursday, Member States need to establish an objective review process, with participation from civil society, academia and relevant UN entities, to explore options to modernise the UN drug control regime. 2. Secondly, the creation of a new human rights special mandate on drug policy – which requires work here in Vienna, as well as in Geneva, for instance through a recurring resolution and agenda item on human rights in drug policy. 3. Lastly, the CND must work to overcome senseless taboos that hinder urgently needed interventions, such as the long-running controversy with the words ‘harm reduction’. These life-saving approaches are indispensable to reduce drug-related harm and must now be central in responding to the devastating synthetic drugs crisis – a crisis born of prohibition – and the same approaches that have led to a toxic, unpredictable and deadly drug supply will not end this crisis but based on the evidence will certainly exacerbate it.The outdated Vienna spirit is now undermining progress. Most UN forums do vote on resolutions when needed. Consensus-based decision making is holding back Vienna’s ability to address today’s serious drug policy challenges.Finally, as we did for the Ukrainian people in 2022, many members in the IDPC network express solidarity with the Palestinian people as they face an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe. We urge member states to uphold international law and take concrete actions, including an immediate permanent ceasefire, the effective delivery of humanitarian aid, the end of the occupation of Palestinian territories, the cessation of arms transfers, the release of those arbitrarily detained or otherwise deprived of liberty against international law on all sides, and credible commitments toward peace and justice.Thank you for your consideration and continued commitment to civil society.

Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights: In this statement delivered on behalf of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights I reiterate our call made during the October Thematic Discussion, which focused on non-compliance of current drug policies with international human rights obligations, and I urge Member States and the UN system to put human rights at the heart of national, regional and international drug policy.The repressive approach to drugs observed to date in the region of Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, where I come from, has numerous negative consequences on all aspects of daily lives of people who use psychoactive substances (with women, youth, specific ethnic groups and people living in poverty being disproportionately affected). Drug use or criminal record related to drug offenses is often an obstacle to finding or continuing employment, obtaining higher education, accessing health and social services, becoming a parent and maintaining parental rights. In many places in the region, women who use drugs are denied entry to shelters or crisis centers, even in cases of domestic violence. People with drug use disorders may be denied access to different types of medical care and may not have access to lifesaving OAT or harm reduction services, especially in circumstances of imprisonment. And I name only a few examples. The list of discriminatory practices is endless and demonstrates the enormous obstacles that drug laws and policies (especially those that criminalize drug use and possession) create for the enjoyment of human rights, including the economic, social and cultural rights, by people who use drugs and/or live with HIV. The situation becomes even more severe when the space for civil society shrinks, the environment becomes hostile, war erupts and a humanitarian crisis emerges.Thus, I would like to remind all of us about the 2019 Ministerial Declaration’s commitment to ‘respecting, protecting and promoting all human rights, fundamental freedoms and the inherent dignity of all individuals and the rule of law in the development and implementation of drug policies’.I would like to conclude by expressing our gratitude for the statement delivered at a CND plenary session by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, whose report issued last year should be of a great importance in Vienna, as well as in every sphere of drug policy making. We hope and expect that the statement by the High Commissioner will become a regular item on the agenda of the CDN sessions from now on.I thank you for your attention.

Uzbekistan: … as part of our long roadmap to establish measures in the anti-drugs sphere. As a member of CND can help us realise a comprehensive balanced approach to strengthening regional cooperation with a view to address the WDR, … and have established a national strategy for countering drugs by 2028. THe strategy envisions new platforms in collaboration with UN orgs and others while deepening the relationship with UNODC; we thank UNODC and take their assistance will be of great help to us.

Eurasian Harm Reduction Association: I am representing the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association, a non-for-profit public membership-based organization uniting harm reduction activists and organizations from Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia with its mission to actively unite and support communities and civil societies to ensure the rights and freedoms, health, and well-being of people who use psychoactive substances in the CEECA region.Among the key challenges we have faced in many countries of Central Asia and Eastern Europe in recent years is the heavy criminalization and repressive police practices of drug use and possession, shrinking space for community and civil society participation in decision-making and community-led health and social care provision which affects the safety of people who use drugs as well as lives and safety of our colleagues from  LGBTiQ communities, sex workers, women living with HIV and other human rights and feminist activists in several countries of the region, such as Russia, Belarus, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan. Currently the majority of countries of the region are developing and improving harm reduction programs, introducing innovations, such as drug checking, long-lasting OAT, etc. in response to changes in drug markets and needs of people who use drugs.  Unfortunately, we see a threat to sustainability, efficiency, and even the existence of harm reduction services, particularly opioid agonist treatment programs in some of countries, for example, Kazakhstan, challenges in take-home OAT treatment exists in Georgia, Tajikistan. In response to the challenges and unmet needs of people who use drugs in the wider European region, four regional networks – the Correlation-European Harm Reduction Network (C-EHRN), the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA), the Drug Policy Network South East Europe(DPNSEE), and the European Network of People who Use Drugs (EuroNPUD) have developed the the Joint Advocacy Strategy -UNITED FOR CHANGE: JOINT ADVOCACY STRATEGY FOR COMPREHENSIVE HEALTH AND HARM REDUCTION SERVICES FOR PEOPLE WHO USE DRUGS IN EUROPE . It was developed based on an extensive and inclusive consultation process carried out in the framework of The BOOST project, a collaborative effort aimed at responding to HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis in Europe, supporting EU and neighboring countries through community-based and led harm reduction initiatives. The dialogue meetings engaged a total of 97 network members, with participants coming from the 30 EU and countries of the European region.Key joint strategic priorities generated during the consultations and which we would like to address here, for the Member States, are:Priority 1: Increase political will and financial sustainability for community-based harm reduction.Priority 2: Promote community-driven harm reduction tailored to diverse needs.Priority 3: Ensure that people who use drugs have access to specific health services, including disease prevention and management, sexual health services, and testing and treatment for HIV, STIs, and Hepatitis B and C.Priority 4: Ensure universal access to comprehensive health and social care for people who use drugs.

Youth Rise: I speak today on behalf of Youth RISE (Resources, Information, Support and Education). We are a global network of young people who use drugs and young people affected by drug policies. A big part of our work focuses on research, with an aim to bring our lived and living experience of drug use and knowledge of the issues facing young people into the center of guidelines and policy documents. Today, I would like to share some outcomes and recommendations from a recent study Youth RISE has conducted to understand the needs and challenges faced by young people who use opioids and help develop an adequate public health response. The participants of this study were young people with lived experience, and harm reduction practitioners, or, in some cases, both. They covered the regions of North and Latin America, Europe, Southeast Asia, and Eastern and Southern Africa. It immediately emerged in the discussions of the group that the constantly changing, unpredictable nature of the illicit drug market poses the biggest, most urgent issue for the health of young people who use drugs globally. The adulterated drug supply increases possible harm such as overdose, and this is in a global context where young people who use drugs largely lack access to harm reduction services, safe supply programs and medication-assisted treatment options. Harm reduction services like overdose prevention sites are still not widely established in most places, and much fewer of these services were specifically designed to be accessed by young people, especially those under 18. Similarly, drug-checking services and drug test strips are unavailable or illegal in most countries. Where they are available, it has been observed that young people are the most likely to make use of these services and are also the most willing to discard or opt out of taking substances that prove to be adulterated or of unknown purity and quality. The study showed that the prohibition of drug use and its consequences are seen as the biggest current challenge. This includes legal restrictions on the availability of naloxone to respond to overdoses. Naloxone is often only available on prescription and at a cost, and inaccessible by young people. It was stressed by the participants that criminalization, stigma and discrimination against young people who use drugs puts young people further at risk. The consequences of a drug-related criminal charge are life-altering in any case, but affect young people especially negatively. Criminalization and the resulting stigma often lead to isolation from family and community, reduced access to education, reduced prospects for employment, limited access to housing and financial instability – all causing further harm. Young people who use opioids have reported experiencing stigmatization from social and health services, and a fear of surveillance and legal repercussions, discouraging them from accessing support through these institutions. The participants of our study further emphasized the risks that young women who use opioids, youth with a migration background, and indigenous youth face, as they were identified as the most stigmatized and excluded by these institutions and even within the communities of people who use drugs. The collaborators of the study highlighted the urgent need for supportive services to acknowledge the reality of drug use in general and among young people in particular and provide an adequate response focused on health. This must include the distribution of safe consumption equipment and naloxone, ensuring safe supply, and the availability of drug checking; providing flexible services with the removal of age restrictions, as well as providing non-coercive treatment options. It was also further emphasized that evidence-based drug education and information about drugs and the drug market should be widely available to young people, in an accessible format, along with training in overdose response and care. Participants highlighted the importance of meaningfully including young people in the design, implementation, and delivery of services, as well as involving young people who use opioids in data collection to gain more accurate insights to inform responses. Finally, and crucially, young people who use opioids and harm reduction practitioners who participated in the study stressed that decriminalization of drug use and harm reduction services are necessary – but this alone would be inadequate. To address the risks, we urge our governments to explore the development of comprehensive legal regulatory frameworks for drugs, so that a safer supply can be ensured for all people who use drugs. I thank you again for the opportunity to highlight these insights from our study. And we look forward to further opportunities to work together to keep every member of our communities safe.

Students for Sensible Drug Policy: Thank you, Chair. My name is Jacob Chagnon, and I speak on behalf of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, and the Paradigma Coalition at-large, a youth-led group of organisations working to promote human rights and harm reduction. Following the CND Resolution 66/1, civil society organisations and youth groups were invited to participate in consultations to inform the preparatory process to this High-level segment, sharing their contributions to the challenges identified in the “2019 Ministerial Declaration.”. In response, the Paradigma Coalition has developed a Common Position on Drugs, which seeks to capture young people’s concerns with the current drug policy regime and its consequences (you can find the full document on the Youth RISE website, and copies of this document on the NGO lounge table). We, the Paradigma Coalition, acknowledge the efforts of the UNODC in addressing the world drug situation and working towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, we also recognize that the current international drug control system lacks meaningful participation from affected groups, such as young people, people who use drugs, and Indigenous peoples. In an effort to decolonise the treaties, we request a full review of the three international drug control conventions with the meaningful participation of these affected groups. This includes embracing an intersectional approach, and recognising that experiences within these affected groups are highly diverse and intersect with other factors such as, but not limited to, race, gender, region, socio-economic status, and disabilities. Conjointly, we would like to draw particular attention to the conflict between the control of coca under the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and the rights of Indigenous peoples. As a Coalition, we remain alarmed by the consequences of drug control, such as the growth of illegal drug markets and the perception of people who use drugs as criminals. Acknowledging the need to shift the punitive drug policy paradigm, we welcome the 2023 Report on Drug Policy developed by the UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights, and the International Guidelines on Human Rights and Drug Policy. In line with these documents, we urge Member States to use the flexibility allowed in the text of the international drug control conventions and adopt the decriminalisation of drugs in their national drug strategies, divest from punitive law enforcement, and seriously consider responsible legal regulation of drugs.  We recommend prioritising evidence-based public health and human rights approaches in drug policies, meaningful engagement of youth-led organisations in policy development, supporting youth capacity building on drug issues, reallocating resources to community-based organizations, collecting comprehensive data on the impacts of drug policies on young people addressing the link between drug policy and climate justice, and promoting youth-centered, evidence-based drug and harm-reduction focussed education and healthcare. Lastly, the Paradigma Coalition commits to speaking with one voice and acting in solidarity to ensure that youth voices are fully integrated into drug policy discussions. We stand ready to work with the UNODC and the Member States of the CND to monitor the adequate implementation of all human rights conventions for the well-being of youth from a compassionate and self-determining perspective. More importantly, we commit to supporting the CND in reviewing international policies that embrace evidence-based interventions to ensure improved outcomes for those most affected by drugs, especially those who live under punitive policies and are at risk of further criminalization. By doing so, we aim to protect the rights and ensure the coverage of all young people, in all their diversity, hence leaving no one behind. Thank you.

REDUC: Esteemed delegates and esteemed members of the international civil society community, As we convene at this 67th Meeting of the Commission on Narcotics Drugs of the United Nations in Vienna, The Brazilian Harm Reduction and Human Rights Network believes it is imperative to address the concerning developments regarding our country’s drug policy. The recent proposal of an Amendment to the National Constitution reflects a regressive and punitive approach to drug possession, starkly contrasting the global call for human rights-based drug policies. Significant part of the international community, represented by 60 countries at the United Nations’ 67th Commission of Narcotic Drugs, has advocated for drug policies grounded in harm reduction, justice, and human rights. This aligns with the recommendations put forth by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, emphasizing the need for decriminalization and addressing the disproportionate impacts on marginalized communities. The proposed Amendment’s advancement to the Senate’s plenary raises serious concerns about our country’s commitment to progressive drug policies. The potential inclusion of drug use as a criminal offense in the Constitution not only disregards evidence-based approaches but also undermines efforts towards a more just and compassionate society. We urge Congress members to reconsider this punitive trajectory and instead embrace innovative, effective, and scientifically sound strategies to tackle drug-related challenges. The failed War on Drugs has demonstrated the futility of punitive measures, underscoring the urgent need for a paradigm shift towards policies that prioritize public health, human rights, and social equity. The eyes of the international community are upon us as we navigate this critical juncture. Let us stand united in advocating for policies that uphold the dignity and rights of all individuals, especially those impacted by punitive drug laws. Thank you.

Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies: The Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies is honored to introduce Cosmovisiones Ancestrales, an alliance established in 2018 to build cooperative solidarity among Indigenous communities, people who use drugs (PWUDs), survivors of violence and civil society to raise awareness on Indigenous rights, Indigenous knowledge systems, healing traditions, and ethical concerns around government military budgets and ethical guidelines for emerging psychedelic-pharmacological research. Through popular education, curriculum development, communications and healing-centered advocacy strategies, Cosmovisiones aims to advance Indigenous and survivor-led, community-based research on historical memory, intergenerational trauma, and conflict transformation to inform local, regional, national and international policies and laws on genocide and violence prevention, demilitarization and repair for historical traumas and ongoing structural violence. Since the Ministerial Declaration of 2019, there has been growing evidence for the present global climate crisis, as provided by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. There have been transitions of power at high levels of government, but not in military, carceral responses to human migration. New wars were formally initiated, funded by tax payer dollars, while the cost of food and rent rose, resulting in an increase in forced displacement, homelessness and food insecurity. These are just some of the structural factors or social determinants of health driving disproportionate health outcomes some refer to as the “global drug problem.” Since 2019, drug overdose deaths steadily increased in the U.S. Provisional CDC data reports that there were around 110,000 overdose deaths in 2022- a record high and evidence of failure in “countering a global drug problem.” In 2022, my home state of California alone experienced 7,385 opioid-related overdose deaths with Latina/os accounting for 2,475 of those deaths. In my home county of Los Angeles, there were 2,457 deaths from all drug related overdoses. According to the CDC, Black, Indigenous and Latina/os face disproportionate overdose death rates. As a young Indigenous Maya, multiracial young person who began using drugs at age 14 to self-manage post-traumatic stress disorder from surviving violence, I now participate in Indigenous traditional ceremonies and I cannot stress enough that the way we use our words in describing compounding public health and human rights crisis matters. It is imperative to shift away from a criminal enforcement framework of “countering a world drug problem.” This framework justifies militarized responses to questions around indigenous, human, health, environmental-cultural rights. We have enough evidence that should rule out militarized and carceral responses as legitimate political solutions to compounding public health crises. There is no “drug problem” to “counter” with federal military budgets and foreign military aid but rather, there are unmet basic human needs creating environments in which young people and diverse people initiate substance use for a variety of legitimate reasons, including but not limited to surviving and seeking relief from intergenerational historical trauma and the ongoing trauma of experiencing structural violence enabled by state corruption and mismanagement of public resources. The historic theft of land, abduction of people, exploitation and extermination of populations through colonialism, enslavement and use of arms in for conflict and war has shaped and continues to shape global health outcomes among historically oppressed populations for multiple generations. Such health outcomes include initiation of substance use and the development of substance use disorders. To humanely engage with people active in underground drug economies and who use drugs – we must be ready to talk about collective, intergenerational historical trauma and to make material commitments to culturally responsive innovations to historical trauma- including fulfilling basic human needs such as housing, food, economic security and policies for peace.  States are responsible for committing public resources to create socio-ecological environments conducive to the demobilization, disarmament and reintegration of armed state and non state actors, under the leadership of Indigenous authorities who are guardians of ancestral spiritual-cutlural knowledges. We invite you to join us on Friday for our side event on Indigenous Rights and Psychedelic Therapeutic Approaches to Demilitarization Disarmament and Reintegration in MOE 05 beginning at 14:10. Thank you.

ENCOD: Thank you Chair for your leading role. Dear excellencies, dear Delegates,I’m honored to address you all.First, I would like to congratulate you all on the good work you have done for the community, on behalf of our Mr. Chair and our Mr. Secretary.In the complex world in which we live, with so many different cultural and social realities, there is an urgent need among us to find ways to help our world to treat better our disseas.Humbly, my name is Paulo Thiessen, I am a lawyer with experience and results in Brazil in the implementation of legal and social strategies for cannabis associations that, through serious, non-profit work, plant, produce and distribute herbal medicines from cannabis, thc and cbd, especially in the form of oil, for the most varied pathologies you can imagine, including the treatment of addicts of opioids, amphetamines, benzodiazepines, alcoholism, smoking and crack addiction.Unfortunately, because of our still prohibitionist legislation, which is also inspired by the decisions of this house, such associations have to go through a moment of illegality, risking the lives and freedom of their directors so that lives can be saved, and then, in the courts, find their safety and regulation.Gentlemen, on behalf of ENCOD and the associations Cannabis Sans Frontières, CannabCura, Instituto Santa Planta and ACURA, I would like to call on all nations to fight for the medicinal and artisanal freedom to use cannabis sativa for our health. This is a right given by nature, by evolution, by God, whatever you believe, and to take it away from human beings is an atrocity against our species.I have had daily contact with the promotion of health through THC and CBD for thousands of people. The medicinal and curative power of cannabis, which does not cause death when abused, cannot be ignored by the United Nations. It is urgent that cannabis extract, THC and CBD, as well as its flowers, especially in the context of production via non-profit associations, be removed from the lists of prohibited substances, so that nations can make progress in curing many of the ailments that affect them today.I would like to respectfully conclude by calling on the management of this organization, the UNODC, to create within its administrative structure a specific body to support the implementation of legal strategies for nations to create successful non-profit associations for the production and distribution of cannabis herbal medicines.I dream and put my energy life of a day when our natural right is respected. Freedom for cannabis, without borders.Thank you.

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