Dubai – Masaader News
The United Nations focused a global spotlight on the world-wide drug problem during a high-level counter-narcotics event on Monday in which Secretary-General António Guterres flagged that this “is personal.”
Drug addiction is “more than just a policy issue. It is personal.” Mr. Guterres said at the event, noting that “the reality is that drugs and addiction are not abstract issues.”
“All of us have stories” and “it is our duty to act – and act now,” underscored the UN chief.
He highlighted that he had lost a friend to drugs “at an unbearably young age, and also described how his sister had spent many years working as a psychiatrist at a drug treatment centre in the Portuguese capital, Lisbon.
“I saw the heavy toll it took on her day after day as she treated those suffering so badly,” he said, adding that he had “enormous admiration” for her. “I think I have done several tough jobs in my life. Nothing compares with what I have seen her do.”
Calling the situation “alarming,” Mr. Guterres pointed out that the global production of opium and manufacture of cocaine “has never been higher.”
“Some 450,000 people die every year from overdoses or drug-related health issues,” he underscored, adding that in recent years, “some 31 million people around the world” required drug-addiction treatment.
Non-medical use of tramadol in parts of Africa and the Middle East is threatening communities that are already fragile. And the United States is in an “utterly heart-breaking” opioid crisis, according to the UN chief.
He voiced concern that only one-in-six people who need drug-addiction treatment receives it, and for women, the figure is even higher.