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53d Session of CND was all about general consensus on the importance of universal prevention strategies, mass-media comprehensive campaigns and the latest INCB report of 2009 which underlined that primary prevention role had in many cases been underrated.
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The issue of palliative care and medical help for drug dependence was emphasized in many presentations, for instance International Association against Cancer and Human Rights Watch stated the gravity of available medication and access to narcotic drugs for the relief of pain and suffering.

Medical marijuana is also an issue in 14 American states that has already resulted in numerous dispensaries distributing the drug for prescriptions.


ONDCP and its head Gil Kerlikowske stated that no legalization of this drug can be on US drug policy agenda, and referred to scientific research that by now is not evaluated yet. Also to avoid unnecessary misunderstandings and incorrect use of terminology by those USA-drogtsar-Kerlikowskepropelling ideologies in support of drug use liberalization, it was decided not to use the term “harm reduction”, said Mr. Kerlikowske. 
                                

Cannabis remains the most abused narcotic substance in the world and it is vital that those who use it get regular expert advice not only on how the drug affects its users, but also how to give up on it.

                                                                                                (Picture: Mr. Gil Kerlikowske at the American Embassy in Vienna)


Russian delegation emphasized the value of primary prevention and information, also monitoring of public opinion to evaluate the effects of state policy communication campaigns. In general the vision of healthy lifestyle encompasses the health of each single person, said Russian delegate.

 

Annual CND session provides Vienna NGO Committee members to make their voice heard during informal dialogues with the heads of CND, INCB and UNODC. This session gathered 55 VNGOC member organizations and ECAD was one of those.

The most controversial of the informal meetings turned out to be the one with Executive Director of UNODC, Mr. A.M. Costa. This meeting with Vienna NGOs was his last one and Mr. Costa, who is bound to leave UNODC in a few months, shared his frustration over the spread of “neo drug-coloniaDavid-Costa-Michel-weblism” in the developing countries.
 
To highlight some points of his official presentation at the plenary session of CND, Mr. Costa stated the importance of health (and not repression) in the centre of drug policy, as well as balance and coherence between various drug policy approaches.

In his political statement Mr. Costa expressed discomfort with the present situation, because of the behavior of rich countries that seemed to be threatening the state of poor ones. He also urged to look beyond the drugs issue and to mind the evolution of geo-politics in this respect, since ideological debate was not constructive.

ECAD was among those organizations that appreciated Mr. Costa`s candid attitude and constant efforts, and thanked the head of UNODC for the engagement he had listlessly demonstrated in drug policy matters.

(Picture: Vienna NGO Comittee head David Turner (left) and his deputy Michel Perron (right) presiding at the Informal Dialogue with Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of UNODC).