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Rede anlässlich der 66. Sitzung der VN-Suchtstoffkommission, 13. bis 17. März 2023


Statement by the Federal Government’s Commissioner
for Drug and Addiction Policy
at the 66th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs
(Item 3)

Mr Chairman,
Madam Executive Director,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Germany stands for a multilateral, rules-based foreign policy.
Dependability and the rule of law must determine the way we live with one another, not violence or despotism.
We condemn Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine in the strongest possible terms.
This constitutes a blatant violation of international law and undermines international security and stability.
And we call on Russia to immediately and unconditionally withdraw its troops from Ukraine and restore to Ukraine its territorial integrity – just as 141 nations demanded with abundant clarity at the recent United Nations General Assembly.
Precisely during such trying times, we should show that it is not through force and ignorance that we resolve our problems, but through cooperation, reliability and listening to one another.
Illegal drug production and illicit drug trade have reached alarming dimensions!
We are also seeing this here:
• more cocaine is being seized in Europe than ever before.
• Never before have our police raided as many drug laboratories, as these last few years.
• In Europe, too, violence among drug gangs is becoming ever more noticeable.
We must admit that despite all the successes of our security agencies and the progress made in international cooperation, the illegal drug trade, above all online, is flourishing.
In Germany, every year almost 2,000 people still die from drug use or its associated illnesses.
It is distressing to think of all the suffering this also means for close relatives – parents, children, partners and friends.
This is why it is our duty to act.

Let us act as one!
Starting with the countries most heavily affected by cultivation – and here I deliberately use the word „affected“.
Providing alternatives to cultivation is the responsibility of the entire international community – of those countries where such cultivation takes place, but also of the countries that are responsible for demand!
At this point, I would like to expressly enlist your support for the resolution on alternative development, which we are jointly tabling at the CND with Peru and Thailand.
And, of course, we must also confront organised drug crime with more resolve than thus far – and, in particular, systematically seize the revenues associated with this business.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
However, above all we must do much more to reduce the demand for illicit drugs.
And this simply is not possible through mere prohibition.
What we need are efficient and sustained prevention efforts, starting with the root causes for drug use,
and aimed especially at those who are particularly vulnerable.
And if we recognise that drug dependence is an illness, then counselling, treatment, but also the reduction of drug-related harm are the appropriate solutions:
Clean needles, options for substitution therapy, drug consumption rooms, naloxone, drug checking – these are all useful and evidence-based measures to help reduce the problems drugs cause to the society at large.
You may already be aware that the German Federal Government has decided to establish a legal basis for authorised and state-controlled use of cannabis for recreational purposes by adults – while ensuring comprehensive health protection for consumers and young people. It also seeks solutions to the massive harm to people's health on account of the purchase of highly potent or contaminated cannabis from the black market.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the only way we can manage the global challenges we face in drug and addiction policy is by addressing them together.
• We need to be more successful at preventing drug use and dependence disorders.
• Let us improve at preventing drug-induced deaths and contain the harm from drug use.
• Let us work together to ensure that people with addiction find good medical and therapeutic support.
• Let us confront organised drug crime even more decisively.

• Let us fight for this and offer those living in cultivating countries viable alternatives.
And, Ladies and Gentlemen, let us ensure that our drug policies do not cause more harm than they aim to prevent. We categorically say NO to disproportionate penalties, to the death penalty and to the disregard of human rights!
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We have a lot of work to do. Let us get started!
Thank you for your attention!

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