Fight against illicit drugs must involve farmers: UN agency chief

By on March 13, 2017


Yury Fedotov, executive director of UNODC, told the 60th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs: "Alternative development is aimed at not only reducing the cultivation of coca, opium poppy and cannabis, but also improving the socio-economic conditions of marginalized farming communities." (Photo: BOMBMAN/ Flickr)
Yury Fedotov, executive director of UNODC, told the 60th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs: “Alternative development is aimed at not only reducing the cultivation of coca, opium poppy and cannabis, but also improving the socio-economic conditions of marginalized farming communities.” (Photo: BOMBMAN/ Flickr)

VIENNA–The chief of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on Monday said the war against illicit drugs must center on alternative development, a long-term strategy where farmers are encouraged to switch away from growing drugs-related crops.

Yury Fedotov, executive director of UNODC, told the 60th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs: “Alternative development is aimed at not only reducing the cultivation of coca, opium poppy and cannabis, but also improving the socio-economic conditions of marginalized farming communities.”

Speaking to Xinhua, Fedotov said some farming communities keep producing illicit drugs due to poverty.

UNODC is cooperating with members to bring drug lords to justice, promote the justice and health sectors, and is supporting alternatives to conviction or punishment for minor offences, he added.

Fedotov said his team is working closely with the World Health Organization (WHO) on a number of activities, including best practices to treat drug use disorders as an alternative to criminal justice sanctions.

He noted UNODC would continue to help strengthen access to controlled drugs for medical purposes.