International Day against Drug Abuse and Trafficking

From: “The Senlis Council” Drug Policy Advisory Forum – Press release, 25th June 2004 – Prague.
The Senlis Council launches
International Award for Innovative Drug Policy

On the occasion of the International Day against Drug Abuse and Trafficking, The Senlis Council, an international drug policy think tank, is launching the “The Senlis Council Award for Innovative and Effective Drug Policy”.

“In reaction to the crisis situation of international drug policy, The Senlis Council aims to encourage and recognize countries that create national policies which provide innovative and effective responses to their national drug situation,” said Mr Emmanuel Reinert, Executive Director of The Senlis Council.
The first award will be given on International Day against Drug Abuse and Trafficking in 2005, after deliberation by a high level international jury of drug experts and public policy-makers. The Award is launched in the light of the 2008 deadline for global drug policy. In 1998 at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the world drug problem, member states committed to aim for a “drug free world” by the year 2008. This objective, under present policy heavily influenced by the US led “War on Drugs,” is far from being reached.

“Time is running out before 2008 and The Senlis Council hopes to help the international community to find new solutions and realistic responses to the drug problem in order to build a new consensus for drug policy for 2008,” added Mr Reinert. “The reality of a drug free world is far fetched, but instead we can hope for one in which all aspects of the use of drugs is treated in a realistic and sensible way.”

The Senlis Council encourages the implementation of innovative measures such as harm reduction (needle exchange programmes and substitution treatment) and polices which provide a response to the complex reality of the use of drugs in modern society which is both effective and humane.

“My certainty is that caring for people is far more effective than punishment and inhumanity,” said Dr Massimo Barra, Vice President of The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, speaking at a recent Symposium on drug policy in Prague that The Senlis Council organised in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Czech National Drug Commission.

“I cannot bear this attitude that “beating up” drug users will cure them. Where have people got this cruel idea? It is a question of what kind of world we want to live in. Taking care of drug addicts is part of any state’s and any Government’s interest throughout the world”.