Today, EMCDDA Director Alexis Goosdeel is addressing the 3rd Inter-sessional meeting of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in Vienna. The four-day meeting will focus on: demand reduction; access to controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes; cross-cutting issues, such as human rights; and preparations for the next CND session (March 2019).
Mr Goosdeel is speaking on the first day of the meeting, which is dedicated to demand reduction and related measures. Among the topics covered during this session will be: reducing and preventing drug dependence; treating drug use disorders; and reducing drug-related health and social risks (e.g. HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis).
At the meeting, Mr Goosdeel will showcase Europe’s comprehensive responses to drug problems, including the high levels of treatment provision to those in need. In 2016, 1.3 million people were in drug treatment, 628 000 of these receiving opioid substitution treatment (OST).
The Director will also describe how Europe’s experience in rolling out evidence-based prevention and treatment interventions has been successfully complemented by the establishment of effective harm-reduction approaches in European countries. For example, the widespread distribution of sterile injecting equipment and, more recently, the increasing provision of the overdose antidote naloxone, helps reduce the spread of infectious diseases and prevent drug-related deaths among citizens. Over the last decade in Europe, the number of new HIV notifications among people who inject drugs has more than halved and mortality among clients in OST has reduced.
Nominated by the EU and speaking for the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) at the UN, Mr Goosdeel will place special emphasis on the role of evidence in the development of European drug policy and on the sharing of best practice. The meeting will go on to discuss ways of strengthening data-collection systems, another area where the EMCDDA is expected to make a valuable contribution.
Programme in brief