(From New York) Every year, approximately 450 thousand people die from an overdose or drugs-related health problems, and in the last few years about 31 million people across the world asked to be treated for drug addiction. In fact, however, just one out of six people seeking treatment actually gets it, and the number is even lower for women. Such figures have been presented at a high-level meeting on the fight against narcotics that was hosted by the United Nations yesterday, during the 73rd General Assembly in New York. US President Donald Trump called all of the 130 attending countries to take a global action against drugs and invited the people there to enter into a joint agreement against narcotics. The Global Call to Action on World Drug Problem is not a binding agreement on the signing countries but lays down an international cooperation plan, in the attempt to pull down the manufacture and sale of drugs, along with the illegal money coming from corruption, organised crime and trafficking. 129 countries, except New Zealand, have joined in. Then, mentioning the 2018 World Drug Report, President Trump pointed out that cocaine and the manufacture of opium have reached record-breaking levels and in the last 15 years drugs-related deaths have increased by 60% across the world.
The UN general secretary, Antonio Guterres, insisted that the fight against narcotics is not just a political matter, it is a personal event, and he mentioned a friend who died from drugs and his sister, a psychiatrist who has assisted hundreds of sick people in Lisbon, for years, according to cutting-edge treatment and healthcare plans. First and foremost, Guterres’s plan aims at “repressing drugs dealing and the people who profit from human misery”, especially by denying them safe havens. The second point is about international cooperation so as to improve the sharing of intelligence and the analysis of drug supply chains, by targeting the connections between drugs, corruption, weapons, human trafficking and terrorist networks. Lastly, as to healthcare, Guterres asks everyone to keep in mind that users are “first and foremost patients and victims”, not just offenders. The secretary ended by confirming the United Nations’ commitment and support to those governments that, every day, take up the challenge of the worldwide problem of drugs: “Actually, failure is not an option, and together we will succeed”.