Thank you, Executive Director Fedotov, and thanks to all of the speakers, especially Mr. Lawford and Ms. Phillips for the personal meaning they have brought to their statements and to today’s meeting. I would like to extend the personal regrets of Director Kerlikowske, whose flight was diverted from New York to Philadelphia this morning. Thanks also to the staff of UNODC, for the 2011 World Drug Report. The data being presented today is a valuable tool for policy makers around the globe. On behalf of the United States, I’d like to express our condolences to the families and co-workers of the four UNODC staff who tragically lost their lives in Bolivia in May. It is in part because of their work, that we are able to build policies that will make the world a healthier and safer place.
President Obama’s inaugural Drug Control Strategy - released one year ago - is a marked departure from previous approaches to drug policy. The Strategy focuses on both the public health and public safety aspects of drug abuse and addiction. The United States government believes that a balanced program of reducing drug consumption and reducing the supply of drugs is essential to counter the damages caused by the illicit drug trade.
And we’re making progress. Drug use in America has declined roughly 50 percent since 1979, cocaine production in Colombia is down by over 50 percent, and we’ve diverted 1.5 million people into drug treatment instead of jail through alternatives to incarceration since 1989.
Today, the United States spends more on drug prevention and treatment - $10 billion dollars - than we do on domestic law enforcement ($9.2 billion). Our comprehensive approach to drug policy strengthens our focus on prevention, raises awareness of addiction as a disease, enhances support for those in recovery from addiction, and promotes smarter use of law enforcement resources.
We strongly support alternatives to incarceration for drug addicts caught up in the criminal justice system. Supervision in the community, through drug courts and monitoring of behavior through drug testing, combined with treatment and counseling services, produces better outcomes at lower cost than incarceration.
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