Friday, 15 January 2021

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UN Secretary-General: Drug addiction a disease, not a crime

UN Secretary-General: Drug addiction a disease, not a crimeUN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for treatment and councelling for drug addicts. “Drug-dependent people should not be treated with discrimination; they should be treated by medical experts and counsellors. Drug addiction is a disease, not a crime,” Ban Ki-moon said at the launch of the 2011 World Drug Report at UN Headquarters in New York 23 June.


The Secretary-General said that out of  210 million illicit drug users alive in the world today, some 200,000 people died each year. “Every three minutes, someone dies from this preventable disease. These numbers add up to a global tragedy.”

Mr Ban said that he took up the issue of drug trafficking in his meetings with world leaders and senior officials. “I urge them to cooperate to stop the traffickers.”

“Traffickers break more than the law. They break the human spirit. They fuel terrorism and insurgency. They rob societies of peace.”

He added that he had recently established a Task Force to explore what more the United Nations could do through UN Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding operations - through development activities, and through disarmament work; a comprehensive and integrated approach was essential. The Secretary-General said that he depended largely on the leadership and expertise of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime which he said carried out life-saving activities in many countries around the globe.

“We were all reminded of the importance of this work, and the dangers involved, when four UNODC staff members and their pilots were killed in a plane crash last month in Bolivia. I offer my deepest sympathies to the families.” 



    • Around 210 million people, or 4.8 per cent of the population aged 15-64, took illicit substances at least once in 2010.
    • Cannabis users comprised the largest number of illicit drug users in 2010 (129-190 million people).
    • The cocaine production is decreasing, due to less production in Colombia in 2010. The United States remains the biggest marked for cocaine, although consumption has decreased dramatically.
    • In 2007 and 2008, cocaine was used by some 16 to 17 million people worldwide.
    • 74 percent of the opium production world wide took place in Afghanistan in 2010. The production was at 3,600 tons.
    • In 2008, global heroin seizures reached a record level of 73.7 metric tons.
    • There is evidence for the existence of opium poppy in Europe as long ago as 4,200 B.C. and even earlier.
    • There are indications that cannabis was used as early as 4000 B.C. in Central Asia and north-westernChina, with written evidence going back to 2700 B.C. in the pharmacopeia of emperor Chen-Nong

The first international conference to discuss the world’s narcotics problem was convened in February 1909 in Shanghai. This forum became known as the Opium Commission and it laid the groundwork for the elaboration of the first international drug treaty, the International Opium Convention of The Hague (1912).131