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United Nations agrees to support recovery movement

March 31, 2014
by Shannon Brys, Associate Editor
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At a United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) meeting on March 21, a resolution on the importance of recovery proposed by the United States at the 57th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) was approved. According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), this resolution is first in the history (50+ years) of the global anti-drug regime that the concept of recovery was formally accepted and supported by United Nations Member States. The meeting was held in Vienna, Austria.

Acting Director of National Drug Control Policy Michael Botticelli said in a blog on the ONDCP website, “This is a historic moment. For too long, the recovery movement has gone without a voice in the global conversation about drug policy. Talking about recovery, exchanging experiences and programs, and sharing successes at international forums like the Commission on Narcotic Drugs is a critical part of a public health approach to preventing and treating substance use disorders and reducing the global drug problem. The resolution codifies the commitment of countries to decrease the stigma associated with substance use disorders and to address them like other chronic health conditions.”

Support for the resolution was provided by multiple other nations, including Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.

The resolution is titled Supporting Recovery from Substance Use Disorders and acknowledges that substance use disorders can result in chronic relapsing conditions. Additionally, it states that recovery support initiatives help to prevent relapse, facilitate re-entry into treatment when needed, and promote long-term recovery outcomes. The resolution also calls for:

  • an end to stigma, marginalization, and discrimination against individuals in recovery;
  • international discussions around best practices related to recovery support initiatives; and,
  • the UNODC to disseminate globally information about evidence-based recovery support initiatives.