U.N. war on drugs fails to curb abuse, EC says

VIENNA, March 10 (Reuters) – A United Nations drive to cut  supply and demand for illegal drugs has shown no progress  globally in the decade since it was started, a European  Commis-sion report said yesterday.

The report came on the eve of a ministerial-level meeting by  the U.N. Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna to review the  decade since a U.N. General Assembly session (UNGASS) set the  targets and launched the war on drugs. Papering over internal dissent, U.N. members are expected to  sign a declaration re-committing themselves to fighting drug  trafficking for another 10 years.

The European Commission report said enforcing drug bans had  backfired by displacing drugs traffickers to relatively lawless  regions. The ban had led to addicts sharing needles — spreading  disease — as syringe-exchange centres have been unavailable.

Cocaine and heroin consumption had declined in the West but  had risen to become “a serious epidemic” in parts of eastern  Europe and central Asia, producing a net increase globally since  1998, said the report.

“(We have) found no evidence that the global drug problem  was reduced during the UNGASS period from 1998 to 2007.”

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