Narconon International President Commends the UNODC on Carrying Forward the Debate on Drug Legalization Internationally

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Release of the 2011 World Drug Report by the UN Office of Drugs and Crime spurs debate on the correct tactics for combating international drug trafficking, abuse and addiction.

Since people with serious drug problems provide the bulk of drug demand, treating this problem is one of the best ways of shrinking the market.

On June 23, 2011, the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released their annual report on the state of drug trafficking and abuse around the world, the 2011 World Drug Report (WDR). This report covers such diverse topics as the Afghan opium poppy blight, South American drug cartels moving their wares through West Africa on the way to Europe and the number of people around the world using amphetamine-type stimulants.

For the first time, the WDR was released at UN headquarters, signifying the importance being placed on drug trafficking as a factor in every major international situation: terrorism, security, development, health and human rights. At the report’s launch, the Secretary-General of the UN Ban Ki-moon made this relationship perfectly clear: “Traffickers break more than the law, they break the human spirit. They fuel terrorism and insurgency.”

This year’s report provided details about the decline in the US cocaine market that was offset by a surging demand for the drug in Europe, the reduced opium poppy crop in Afghanistan that was mostly compensated for by an increase in production in Myanmar, and the growth in demand for synthetics and prescription drugs. In short, though there have been areas of improvement, worsening situations in other areas mean that there is a status quo in the worldwide drug abuse problem.

Is Legalization the Answer, as Some People Claim?

There are those, such as the proponents of Proposition 19 in California, the 2010 attempt to legalize marijuana, who claim that legalization of some drugs will seriously damage the cartels and bring in additional tax revenues. It’s also argued that if some often-abused drugs were made legal, some people would lose interest and substance abuse figures would drop. At the same time, billions of dollars are spent in the US and abroad to fight cartels and dealers and get their goods off the street.

What’s the right thing to do?

According to the Executive Director of the UNODC Yury Fedotov, it’s not legalization. During the question-and-answer period after the release of the WDR, he was asked about the fight against drug trafficking by the Mexican government and whether or not this fight that had cost so many lives was the right tactic. Without criticizing the Mexican government’s policy in any way, Mr. Fedotov answered, “If we should give up addressing international organized crime, we must be prepared to go farther into legalizing not only drugs but also corruption, human trafficking, money laundering and all other criminal activities. I think it would not be the right way to deal with the situation.”

Narconon International President Clark Carr commented regarding Mr. Fedotov’s statement: “The trafficking and sale of drugs are serious crimes against human beings that result in 200,000 deaths each year,” Mr. Carr said. “Millions of people around the world lose their integrity and self-respect, their families, their possessions and their hope due to illicit and prescription drug abuse. Legalization is not a viable option.”

“The truth,” Mr. Carr continued, “is that Narconon does not and should not take a political stand on the issue of drug legalization or decriminalization. Narconon International’s sole focus is to promote the validity and urgent need for more drug rehabilitation and drug education worldwide.”

During the press briefing concerning the WDR, one of its authors Dr. Thomas Pietschmann cited the Rand Corporation’s 2010 study of the likely outcome of legalization of marijuana in California. Shortly before Proposition 19 went to a vote in November 2010, the Rand report concluded that legalizing marijuana might cut the drug cartel’s profits 2% to 4%. That’s hardly the major impact some people were touting.

In his statement accompanying the release of the report, Mr. Fedotov defined a more workable solution. He stated, “Since people with serious drug problems provide the bulk of drug demand, treating this problem is one of the best ways of shrinking the market.”

In its forty-five year history of providing drug rehabilitation and prevention services, the international network of Narconon centers has been fighting the drug problem by attacking just this point. Mr. Carr explained: “When someone has become addicted, there is no way to reason with him. The only solution is to break the grip that drug addiction has on him so he has a choice. Until that happens, he is going to be a steady customer of the products the cartels are moving – and from which they are raking in billions of dollars in profits. Around the world in more than 150 centers, daily we fight addiction by rehabilitating addicts and educating the young so they never become customers, no matter how persuasive drug dealers might be.”

The Narconon drug and alcohol rehabilitation has proven its effectiveness in defeating the efforts of those who wish to distribute these deadly wares. “Seven out of ten of our graduates stay clean and sober after they complete this long-term residential program and return home, and that is good news.” Mr. Carr concluded. For more information on the Narconon drug addiction recovery program, contact 1-800-775-8750.


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