International Standards on Drug Use Prevention

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime is in the process of developing a new piece of legislation that it hopes will enable member states to develop comprehensive and effective drug prevention systems. In an effort to increase co-operation between countries to restrict the trafficking, sale and production of narcotics, the International Standards on Drug Use Prevention includes guidelines on social and economic development which it is hoped will encourage the promotion of a healthier lifestyle, particularly amongst the young.

The Standards are based on scientific evidence and a better understanding of the causes of drug abuse in certain social groups. The Standards are designed to build on the foundations of other international treaties, agreements and legislation to produce an holistic approach to drug abuse, especially in younger people. Aimed at policy makers, the document supports other agreements such as the European Drug Prevention Quality Standards, and work published by the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

The work being carried out by the UNODC is designed to highlight the positive effects of drug prevention work at a ground level in deprived communities and those groups with an increased risk of exposure to narcotics of all types. It is hoped that by doing so, there will be a marked decrease in other socio-economic problems such as the proliferation of crime, aggressive behaviour and poor educational results. The Standards, although not officially legislation, form the basis for tackling the rising incidences of drug abuse in developing countries, but will rely on the co-operation of all member states if it is to prove effective.