U.S, Mexico Agree to Execute Priority Drug Demand Reduction Programs; Joint Declaration Outlines Commitment to Reduce Illicit Drug Consumption
(WASHINGTON, DC) –Top government officials from the United States and Mexico today issued a declaration of drug demand reduction cooperation, a joint statement emphasizing a commitment to reduce illicit drug consumption and acknowledge both the urgent need to work collaboratively with each other and with partners in the region. Also emphasized was the importance on both sides of the border to intensify prevention and treatment efforts, including measures to strengthen families and communities to help reduce the influence of criminal organizations and develop and sustain healthy lifestyles and attitudes, particularly among at-risk populations, such as young people.
The six-point declaration was issued at the conclusion of the 8th U.S.-Mexico Bi-National Drug Demand Reduction Policy Meeting, a three-day conference at the U.S. Department of State. During the policy meeting, U.S. and Mexican officials and experts in reducing drug consumption exchanged information on scientific advancements in understanding and treating drug addiction; improving substance abuse prevention, treatment, and recovery support services; integrating substance abuse treatment into health care systems; building strong communities; and breaking the cycle of drugs and crime.
Keynote speakers at the meeting were Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy; Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; David T. Johnson, Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of State, Department Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement; Pam Hyde, Administrator, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; Tom McLellan, Deputy Director, Office of National Drug Control Policy; H.E. Carlos Pascual, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico; Margarita Zavala, President of the Citizens’ Advisory Board of the National System for Integral Family Development and First Lady of Mexico; José Ángel Córdova, Mexico Secretary of Health; Carlos Rodriguez Ajenjo, Technical Secretary, National Council on Addictions; and H.E. Arturo Sarukhan, Mexican Ambassador to the United States.
“The bi-national meeting and declaration on reducing drug abuse reflect a commitment by the United States and Mexico to intensify on-going drug control efforts and a recognition that by focusing on prevention and treatment of substance abuse disorders, we can significantly improve the public health and safety of our peoples,” said Director Kerlikowske. “By combining what we know to be effective from science and addiction research, best medical practices, community-based programs, and law enforcement, we can drive down drug use and terrible consequences associated with it.”
"This collaborative effort to reduce illicit drug use is moving in the direction of building a health system that extends beyond treatment facilities and doctor's offices," says HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. "We are building a health system that prepares communities to prevent illicit drug consumption and promotes a healthy society."
In the Declaration, the two nations agreed to act individually, when appropriate, and in coordination when possible to address six areas for improvement in the next 12 months:
- Developing strong, resilient communities, on both sides of the border, that resist criminal organizations and develop cultures that support and sustain lawful authority. This approach calls for creating local coalitions of community businesses, schools, and citizens to combat illicit drug use and strengthen cooperation with law enforcement and Federal government partners;
- Providing more and better addiction treatment by improving training and integrating addiction treatment into mainstream medicine;
- Expanding the use of screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment for substance abuse disorders;
- Implementing evidence based prevention techniques;
- Improving the quality of health care for substance abuse by bolstering accreditation and licensing programs for health care professionals and treatment providers; and
- Promoting innovations in criminal justice -- including substance abuse treatment options, recovery support services, and alternatives to incarceration -- to reduce recidivism and interrupt the cycle of drug use and crime.
Both nations pledged to continue domestic initiatives to reduce the demand for drugs. The United States will soon release the Obama Administration’s National Drug Control Strategy that will call for an increased focus on prevention, treatment, and recovery support services. The Presidents FY 2011 Budget proposal includes 13.4% increase for prevention.
Through its Action Program for Prevention and Treatment of Addictions, Mexico is committed to strengthening its infrastructure for offering treatment to persons with addiction and their families and to bolstering prevention efforts through broad participation by public and private entities.
As partners implementing the Merida Initiative, Mexico and the United States are also developing the National Network for Data Technological Transfer for Addressing Addictions, which will provide web-based interconnectivity to more than 300 primary care facilities. Mexico has also begun a project to train and accredit drug treatment providers, with a goal to develop 600 counselors accessible to the public. With Merida Initiative support, a program is also being developed to identify best practices for treatment programs and expand their use, as well as supporting clinical trials and community coalition formation.