The UNODC likes to work in semi-secret, so you won’t see video or transcripts of their proceedings. The only real way to get a glimpse is through the fine live-blogging done by CND blog (a project of the International Harm Reduction Association).
These entries are paraphrases of what goes on in the sessions by a writer, so that must be taken into consideration when judging a country’s statements, but still it can be interesting.
One that really stuck out for me was Sweden’s bizarre distortion of the definition of rights in their opening statement. As you may know, one of the criticisms that has been directed at the UNODC is the fact that human rights is a core principle of the U.N. (in fact, all other activities of the U.N. are supposed to take a back seat to human rights) and that the drug war is a prime violator of human rights.
Sweden turns all logic upside down by claiming that protecting children from drugs is a human right
[…] Sweden remains a strong supporter of UNODCâ€™s activities in addressing the world drug problem and as a guardian of the Conventions. […] The ultimate aim is abstinence and reintegration of dependent users.
There is no contradiction between drug conventions and human rights and fundamental freedoms. One of the most important elements is the protection of children from illicit drugs. Our children are most vulnerable to drug abuse. We have legally binding obligations under international law to protect children of their rights and give them good living conditions. We must ensure that children do not become victims of illicit drugs. Last year, a resolution was adopted on childrenâ€™s rights. States should take measures to protect these rights. States should raise awareness among the general population and among children (article 33 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child). Protecting children from drug abuse, production and trafficking, is an obligation.[…]
After the break, I’ve posted the drugged driving discussions.
There was a roundtable with the following topic: “Addressing key public health and safety issues such as addictive behaviours of youth and drugged driving.” Because of the mixed theme, the live-blogging recaps don’t necessarily make an easy read, but you get an idea of the things that they’re discussing. And it’s pretty easy to tell that nobody really knows what they’re talking about. Lots of posturing.
A significant increase in drug-driving has occurred not just in the United States, bu globally as well. We also know that its a key issue that effects key shipping routes in the developing world and the US has has set a limit of a 10% prevalence by 2015. We are also delivering resources to civil society organisations to help tackle these issues and alongside Canada, we are holding a further meeting later in the year to further explore these growing issues.
They don’t know anything about this. It’s just an agenda being pushed.
We believe we need to generate a consensus around this topic and how to we deal with
A, alcohol and drug driving
B, and how we deal with these substances in the public space.
The realities of substance use need to be addresses in public spaces however we believe we need to accept that degradation of the public space is decreasing.
We believe in keeping public spaces open for all, and do not let them become denigrated through negligence. Therefore, police have to enforce legislation and social workers need to discuss with marginalised people inappropriate behaviour.
China agress with the Swiss and US representative. With regards to drug driving, countries seem to be naive to drug driving and nation states need to develop further legislation on this matter. Education also needs to be strengthened.
However, we need tougher measures as well for those guilty of drug driving and enforcement needs to strengthened. Better screening also needs to be developed.
A further issue that needs attention is the way we provide HIV/AIDS treatment. Many countries underfund and fail to support those with AIDS and HIV and I encourage my colleagues to provide better support to these people. We should share the best practices at the CND in how we deal with this problem.
There are a number of keys problems with facing these issues
– There are too few statistics on drug driving and we should share greater resources.
– Scientific evidence is under developed
– different countries have different policies and this is complicating the issue
– The issue of prescription drugs. Some drugs significantly impact behaviours and effect drug testing results and these issues need to be made.
– Drug testing needs to be expanded and be made more universal. A further issue is how we reach drug users who may be isolated from traditional media.
European union countries are seeking to tackle these issues of drug driving through the DRUID research project. It seeks to provide recommendations on issues of prevention, screening devices and so on… It will evaluate prevention, legal enforcement, training measures, it will create a classification system and all these will be presented to the European Union.
International cooperation will be important in this research and future action should respect physical integrity on the person being tested, will need to be proportionate and any results will have to abide by data protection legislation.
The USA has supported and asked for the department of transportation to begin a study. It is an accurate national sample, done through volunteers and provides much information on drugged driving. The other question, about the level of prescribed drugs allowed, this will require a lot of work. Public and education and awareness campaigns would be an important first start.
This issue is really about youth at risk. Young peopleâ€™s attitudes are changing fast over the world. These involve young people in both low and high income countries. When we see dangerous driving, I always think about what there is behind, and 4 elements affect young peopleâ€™s behaviours:
1- Extreme behaviours
2- Impairment of interpersonal communication
3- Difficulty in coping with stress
4- No perception of oneâ€™s future.
We need to look behind â€˜addictive behavioursâ€™, look at all the interpersonal relationships, young peopleâ€™s day per day lives. Drugs are no more what the CND is imagining. We are moving away from heroin or cannabis to other drugs. Science gives us some predictions about these dangers: low education, unemployment, etc. We need to tackle these issues first. We cannot take any shortcuts here, we must start working with children, at the family level, at the school level. We need to make the dream about the future. We need to differentiate the aggregation of opportunities.
We need to look at why are so many people (especially young people) taking drugs and alcohol? We need to look at our own ability to impose our laws and why their are these patterns of behaviour.
One of the things we need to consider is about how to raise awareness and how we can bring together health and development.
We would like to explain our experience in Sudan. In our country, drug and alcohol abuse, especially when driving, is a criminal offence. It is not just drivers who are offenders, sportsmen also take drugs. Sometimes, drug taking can even result in death. These substances can also be found in certain drinks and result in addictive behaviours. Traffickers try to push these substances. Many offences are perpetrated under the influence of drugs (70% of crimes committed in Sudan can be attributed to drugs and alcohol). Domestic violence can also often be attributed to drug taking. Certain kinds of legal chemicals have the same consequences and this is even worse.
What we need is a robust response to the underdevelopment issue that is common is Africa. In Africa, the most common drug that is abused is Cannabis however Heroin is a developing issue. The African Union is promoting capacity building and specifically we need further evidence and research which we can then use in developing future policies.
Countries need to think about the importance of developing early warning and intervention screenings when driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. In Chile, we are focussing on school level education and byb taking a holistic approach. We are also developing greater levels of resources.
In Mexico, we donâ€™t know whether drugged driving is the reason for dangerous driving. We ask the UN for some standardised methodology about how to measure the level of drugged driving.
Finally. Someone asking how you know it’s a real problem and how you measure it.
Canada has supported a number of research activities on data collection. Study revealed that 33% of drivers killed in a crash had drugs in their blood. Surveys were set up in parking lots in 5 locations in British Colombia, by the police.
Canada, with US partners, will be hosting an international conference in July for information sharing on best practices.
We are thinking along the same lines as Chile, and we also believe in a holistic approach. Our greatest problem is with alcohol and its acceptance and legitimacy in society.
We should be thinking about greater advertising regulations as well as licensing regulations to try to counter some of the overriding legitimacy alcohol has in our society.
Referring to an earlier question about prevention, we need to target prevention at the earliest age possible. We are using web-based anonymous campaigns which have been very successful.
Norway supports the US and Swiss proposal. In Norway, we have a lot of research on which we base our national laws. We have several studies that indicate that 1.5% of drivers in Norway use drugs or alcohol. Since 2010, the police has the right to make a test without any suspicion. Legislative limits have been set up for substances other than alcohol. This autumn, we will conclude that work. We have a list of 20 drugs which are similar to alcohol limits. We will also make prosecution easier. We are happy to share our research and data to interested parties. We do not know of any country that has come so far in setting such limits.
Australia has some data about road accidents and alcohol and drug use. Alcohol remains the main drug, but other drugs are becoming concerning. We have an experience of 30 years on alcohol driving prevention. Strategies need to be broad, with highly visible law enforcement, a high probability of detection, and wide ranging public information in media and social marketing campaigns. We have also introduced drug testing. Young people are particularly vulnerable to drugged driving. We use electronic media to reach them. This can be damaging when not used properly, so we need to be very careful.