In the past decade, drug control has matured. Policy has become more responsive to the needs of those most seriously affected, along the whole chain of the drug industry – from poor farmers who cultivate it, to desperate addicts who consume it, as well as those caught in the cross-fire of the traffickers. Countries are learning from each others’ experiences, and drawing on expertise from the international community.
Drug control is also increasingly taking a more balanced approach, focussed on development, security, justice and health to reduce supply and demand, and disrupting illicit flows. There is an understanding that in regions where illicit crops are grown, it is vital to eradicate poverty, not just drugs. There is a realization that underdevelopment makes countries vulnerable to drug
trafficking, and other forms of organized crime: therefore development is part of drug control, and vice versa.
Most importantly, we have returned to the roots of drug control, placing health at the core of drug policy. By recognizing that drug addiction is a treatable health condition, we have developed scientific, yet compassionate, new ways to help those affected. Slowly, people are starting to realize that drug addicts should be sent to treatment, not to jail. And drug treatment is becoming
part of mainstream healthcare.