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Minsk Hosts Presentation of International and National Reports on Drug Abuse in 2007

19 March, 2008 - Today the National Press Center hosted a presentation of the Annual Report of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) for 2007, and two other publications – the Report on Drug Abuse and Illegal Drug Trafficking in the Republic of Belarus for 2007 and the Guide on Rehabilitation Centers for Drug Addicts, which were prepared under the Programme of Assistance for the Prevention of Drug Abuse and Drug Trafficking in Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova (BUMAD) supported by the EU and the UNDP.

This year the INCB Report focuses on the principle of proportionality and drug related crimes. Almost 10 years ago the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Guiding Principles of Drug Demand Reduction. The governments of many states have made significant efforts to implement those recommendations. Nevertheless, some countries still apply disproportionately huge efforts to fight minor criminals and drug abusers instead of disclosing, removing and punishing people who control or organize major illicit drug trafficking operations. The Report authors note significant differences in the degree of tolerance among states: regions and countries differ in inflicting soft or strict punishment for the same crimes.

“The International Narcotics Control Board stresses the need to search for an alternative to imprisonment of drug abusers, for instance, engaging them in treatment, rehabilitation and reintegration programmes,” Victor Radzivinovsky, Officer-in-Charge of the UN Department of Public Information in Belarus, noted. “The INCB also insistently recommends to the governments to expand the scope and opportunities of using narcological, treatment and rehabilitation programmes in punitive institutions.”

The authors of the INCB 2007 Report also point out that millions of people worldwide suffer from acute and chronic pain, because the basic anaesthetization drugs are not used widely enough in many countries. The INCB calls upon the governments to support the new programme of the World Health Organization aimed at expanding the access to such medicines. So far they are used only in Europe and North America.

The Report on Drug Abuse and Illegal Drug Trafficking in the Republic of Belarus for 2007 is the second one prepared by the Belarusian National Center for Monitoring Drugs and Drug Addiction with the support of the BUMAD Programme. The document covers the sphere of drug related crimes in Belarus at the national and regional level. The Report also provides an analysis of the policy of fighting illegal trafficking in drugs and drug abuse.

The authors of the Report used the data on patients with the addiction syndrome registered in the narcological institutions, who take psychoactive substances, and the information about the quantity and types of confiscated drugs. The data were provided by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Interior, the State Customs Committee and the State Border Guard Committee of Belarus. Moreover, the Report is the first publication, which has accumulated the data of all state governance bodies involved in prevention of drug addiction and fight against trafficking in drugs.

The Guide on Rehabilitation Centers for Drug Addicts is designed for drug addicts and their relatives, who want to rid themselves of drug addiction and get back to the normal life. Since the drug addiction rehabilitation programmes were launched in Belarus not long ago, until now there has been no systematized data on rehabilitation centers with the description of their programmes. The BUMAD has collected and systematized information about rehabilitation programmes in Belarus with the help of NGOs dealing with drug addictions issues.

The Guide, which is unique in its kind, has gathered information about rehabilitation centers operating on the premises of state institutions, NGOs and churches which offer various rehabilitation programmes based on Christian values, labor therapy, psychotherapy, or a combination of different methods.

The presentation was attended by Mr. Victor Radzivinovsky, Officer-in-Charge of the UN Department of Public Information in Belarus, Mr. Vladimir Maksimchuk, Chief Narcologist of the Ministry of Health of Belarus, and Mr. Romuald Andrievsky, Deputy Head of the Department of Drug Control and Combating Human Trafficking of the Ministry of Interior.

For additional information please contact UNDP Communications Associate, Vladislav Khilkevich, at 227 38 17, e-mail: , or BUMAD Project Manager in Belarus, Irina Zhygalko, at (029) 673 33 60.

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