Recovery Movement Endorsed by United Nations

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 on March 21st in Vienna, Austria.  This resolution marks the first time in the more than 50-year history of the global anti-drug regime that the concept of recovery was formally accepted and supported by United Nations Member States.

Acting Director of National Drug Control Policy Michael Botticelli said: “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.”

Mr. Botticelli further noted his appreciation for the support for the resolution provided by many nations, including Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, and also for the assistance and advice provided by the many American and international non-governmental organizations that were present in Vienna for the CND.

The resolution, entitled Supporting Recovery from Substance Use Disorders, recognizes that substance use disorders can result in chronic relapsing conditions and 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 those in recovery; promotes international exchanges on best practices related to recovery support initiatives; and encourages the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to disseminate globally information about evidence-based recovery support initiatives.  The resolution, which was co-sponsored by a number of countries, was approved at the UNODC meeting on Friday, March 21, 2014. 

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