Pretoria – Illicit drugs present the world with an ongoing challenge, represent a danger to society, and are an area which requires constant attention and action to tackle and manage both supply and demand. The consequences of illicit drugs are widespread – they fuel organised crime, fund terrorism, and adversely affect public health; the latter has an often unforeseen economic consequence – data from the World Health Organisation for instance notes that close to 1 per cent of ill health in the world can be attributed to drug abuse, with that proportion increasing to 2.3 per cent in developed countries.
Noting these factors, each year the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) releases its Annual Report to reflect on the previous successes, identify existing challenges and discuss recent development affecting global production of and demand for drugs.
As the independent and quasi-judicial monitoring body for the implementation of the United Nations international drug control conventions, the INCB has been instrumental in tracking both these areas across the world. The INCB assists Governments in their efforts to control drugs by managing an ever expanding global control system formulated in the three main international drug conventions: the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the 1988 United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.
Recognising that the international community has come a long way since the International Opium Commission convened in Shanghai in 1909 which marked the beginning of the international treaty system, the 2009 Annual Report highlights several good reasons for society to give concerted attention to preventing drug abuse.
Specifically, the Reports core discussion areas cover:
- The need for urgent action against the growing problem of prescription drug abuse;
- The issue of drugs being used to commit sexual crimes;
- Analysis of the world situation;
- Processes, routes and substances used by criminal networks to manufacture drugs and;
- One hundred years of drug control and the related international drug control.
Critically, the Report also recognises that Governments cannot be effective in primary prevention operating alone. Partnerships with civil society need to be forged at all levels, locally, nationally and internationally to ensure scarce resources are applied as efficiently as possible and to increase effectiveness in reducing the prevalence of drug use. Their large and direct involvement in this issue lends non-governmental organisations an important perspective that needs to be heard around policy tables.
To mark the release of this publication, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the University of South Africa (UNISA), and the Central Drug Authority (CDA) will be holding the regional launch of the Annual Report on Thursday 4 March 2010 from 12h45 to 15h00 at UNISA’s Senate Hall, Muckleneuk Campus, Pretoria. This will include presentations and discussions by UNODC and the CDA, covering country, continental, and global-level trends and issues from 13h30. The event will be preceded by a light luncheon from 12h45 onwards and followed by media time and opportunities for one-on-one interviews with the speakers.
UNODC Advocacy & Communications
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