UNITED NATIONS._ A final victory in the global war on drugs still seems far off; a scenario that has led to an increasing number of calls in the U.N. for new preventionand humane-focused responses to the scourge.

Petitions are arriving from all corners of the world to confront the problem of integrated drug-trafficking and its devastating political, economic, and social impact on the basis of shared statutory responsibility of all nations.

For this very objective, a special anti-drug trafficking session of the U.N. General Assembly – which brings together 193 nations on an equal basis – will be held next year and for which a planning session was held at the U.N. headquarters in May.

Ministers, diplomats, and experts once again agreed on the urgent need to make new commitments that involve greater international cooperation, assistance for people suffering the consequences of drug abuse, and more efforts to eliminate transnational organized crime.

A final victory in the global war on drugs still seems far off; a scenario that has led to an increasing number of calls in the U.N. for new preventionand humane-focused responses to the scourge.Sam Kutesa, Assembly president for the 69th period of sessions, stated during the opening of the debate that “confronting drugs is both urgent and imperative, as is the combining of efforts for prevention and the rehabilitation of addicts.”

According to the diplomat, there is a global consensus about the great harm caused by drug-related crimes to society, the economy, and the rule of law, in addition to the threats that this poses to health, security, and stability in general.

FACTS AND REALITY

The UN Office against Drugs and Crime’s latest report on the global drug issue reveals that in 2012 between 3.5 percent and 7 percent of the world’s population between the ages of 15 and 64 had consumed illegal substances.

Corruption, violence, death, alienation, and the spending of large sums of money as well as other resources to combat the problem, represent just a few of the many social consequences.

UNODC’s own statistics point to more than 180,000 drug related deaths annually. Even more, the injected way of drug-intake constitutes an additional risk of HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis transmissions.

For Mark Golding, the Jamaican Justice Minister, traditional response-methods are no less dangerous.

He said that repression has achieved very poor results as the war on drugs has not managed to eradicate the illicit production, trafficking, or distribution of the latter, and have only led to regrettable difficulties.

The official warned that such approaches have merely facilitated the enrichment and empowerment of organized transnational criminals, have oppressed indigenous communities, and have criminalized and alienated the youths.

“Our narrow view has affected sustainable development, democracy, and the rule of law in many nations of the world,” said Golding, for whom only an integrated approach could reverse the current scenario.

LATIN AMERICAN PROPOSALS

Colombia, Mexico, and Guatemala are among the nations most affected by the drug problem and all of its consequences, including violence. These countries are among those advocating for changes in the manner in which the phenomenon is addressed.

The Colombian Minister for Justice and Law, Yesid Reyes, cautioned that despite the passing of 50 years since the establishment of an international drug auditing regime, great challenges such as the preservation of health remain.

He added that “we have made important advances, but are far from reaching the global utopian dream of a drug-free world. This demands that we take account of both our successes and failures in meeting our targets.”

The Mexican secretary for Interior Miguel Ángel Osorio also called for a revitalization - on the basis of joint and shared responsibility - of the battle against drugs.

He said that it is necessary to evaluate strategies and implement adjustments that include prevention, community welfare, and human rights.

The Guatemalan deputy Foreign Minister Rodrigo Vielmann drew attention to various problems, such as arms trafficking and money laundering, which are closely associated with drugs.

He added that the latter indicate the importance of an integrated focus, cooperation, and recognition of the need to adapt responses to local conditions.

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