UN drug agency reports significant and positive changes in world drugs markets KYIV, 26 June 2007 (UNODC) –Whereas a few years ago the world appeared to be heading for an epidemic of drug abuse, growing evidence suggests that the problem is being brought under control, the Executive Director of UNODC, Antonio Maria Costa, said this Tuesday on the occassion of the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. UN drug agency reports significant and positive changes in world drugs markets KYIV, 26 June 2007 (UNODC) –Whereas a few years ago the world appeared to be heading for an epidemic of drug abuse, growing evidence suggests that the problem is being brought under control, the Executive Director of UNODC, Antonio Maria Costa, said this Tuesday on the occassion of the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

UN drug agency reports significant and positive changes in world drugs markets KYIV, 26 June 2007 (UNODC) -Whereas a few years ago the world appeared to be heading for an epidemic of drug abuse, growing evidence suggests that the problem is being brought under control, the Executive Director of UNODC, Antonio Maria Costa, said this Tuesday on the occassion of the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

"Recent data show that the run-away train of drug addiction has slowed down," he said in a statement marking the launch of UNODC's 2007 World Drug Report.

The Report shows global markets for illicit drugs remained largely stable in 2005-06. "For almost all drugs - cocaine, heroin, cannabis and amphetamines - there are signs of overall stability, whether we speak of production, trafficking or consumption," Mr Costa said.

While there are growing signs that both the supply of and demand for drugs are broadly stable and greater efforts are being made to reduce the harm they cause, the situation could easily deteriorate again. "We cannot take our foot off the brake. Drug prevention and effective health care for addicts remain vital," Mr Costa said.

Globally, coordinated drug law enforcement has driven up the volumes of drug seizures. More than 45 percent of the cocaine produced in the world is now being intercepted (up from 24% in 1999) and more than a quarter of all heroin (against 15% in 1999).

If the drug problem is to be reduced in the longer term, there must be more preventive interventions and the problem must be treated at its source - the drug users. "The lives of at least one out of every 200 people in the world are ruled by drugs," Mr Costa said. "Drug addiction is an illness that must, and can, be prevented and treated. Early detection tests, better therapies and the integration of drug treatment into public health and social services programmes can free people from their dependence on drugs. Treating those who suffer from drugs is an investment in the health of our nations as much as treating HIV, diabetes or TB," he said.

Mr Costa urged the world to change the way it looks at the drugs problem and focus as much on defending people's health as on destroying illicit crops and criminal networks. This is a shared responsibility: internationally - between producing and consuming states; regionally - among neighboring countries; and nationally - among all sectors of society.

UNODC started to work in Ukraine in December 2006. Ukraine has made significant progress in tackling the drug problem but there is still a long way to go. The country needs greater reduction of drug demand with a special emphasis on prevention better treatment and more resources devoted to combating the problem. UNODC as a member of UN family will work together with the Ukrainian government, national and international partners to further improve drug control, so that Ukraine can reach its targets.

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For more information:

Dr. Zaza Tsereteli MD, MPH, Regional HIV/AIDS Advisor

Ukraine & Moldova UNODC

1 Klovsky Uzviz, 01021 Kyiv, Ukraine

Tel: cb_transparent_l.gifspace.gifspace.gif380 44 253 18 60

E-mail: zaza.tsereteli@unodc.org