(Det talade ordet gäller)
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am happy to attend and speak at this fourth World Forum Against Drugs. This conference is an important forum for exchanging knowledge and experience and discusses new research. All relevant stakeholders are here – which is crucial in order to combat the use of illicit drugs.
My vision is a drug free society and if my vision - or dream - came through the need for this forum would not be as pressing as it is today!
The supply and abuse of drugs affects every country all over the world in one way or another. The problem does not know any borders and therefore we have to work together bridging our borders. Severe social issues arise from the production, trafficking and abuse of drugs. And, in a society where drugs and drug abuse is present the situation is most difficult for children and young people, who lose hope and belief in the society.
When I travel around the world and meet children and young people living in societies where narcotic drugs and drug abuse is part of their daily life my heart bursts. A society where production, trafficking and consumption of narcotic drugs are an integral part of life poverty, corruption and misery are present.
This year marks the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the rights of the Child. The Convention is a human rights treaty that sets out civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights of children- rights that are infringed if the child lives in a family affected by drug abuse.
So many children around the globe are affected by drug misuse. This could be either by using drugs themselves at a very early age or growing up in a family where drug abuse is part of their lives. This is something we have to take most seriously and try our hardest to change. We cannot let narcotic drugs and drug abuse be an accepted part of a person’s day to day life.
According to my mind drug policy should be based on zero tolerance focusing on prevention, treatment, control, and aiming to reduce both supply of and demand for illegal drugs. And I am convinced that the UN Drug Conventions are the best tools and means available to achieve these aims.
When I hear the arguments put forward by the drug liberalization movement I get worried. And I get worried when I understand that the liberalization movement grows stronger. Is legalisation a solution to the world’s drug problem? It seems to be like an aspirin against a chronic disease. Two months ago both I and Minister Maria Larsson took part in the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna. A meeting that can be seen as the starting point for the preparations for the upcoming UN General Assembly Special Session on Narcotic Drugs in 2016. The outcome of that meeting will be of crucial importance for the future.
Young peoples' attitude towards drugs demands special attention. I am involved in the work of the international non-governmental organisation addressing these problems- the Mentor Foundation. At Mentor we are working with our partners to reach out to children and young people. We apply and share our knowledge internationally so that the benefits of effective drug prevention policy and practice become visible worldwide. Our Vision is a world where children and young people are empowered to make healthy decisions and avoid drug use.
At this forum you will also debate the differences in male and female drug abuse. That is a very important area that deserves attention. According to my knowledge girls tend to get involved in drug abuse at an earlier age than boys and consequently use heavier drugs earlier than boys. These are differences that need to be acknowledged in order to be able to reach out to our young people in the right way.
I am convinced that it is possible to tackle the drug problem- but, we need joined efforts. Governments around the world, the United Nations and the non-governmental organisations must stand together in the fight.
I hope you will have fruitful discussions today and tomorrow and I would like to conclude by wishing you the best of luck in your important work.
Thank you for your attention.