Trump Addresses Drug Crisis While at UN

Charlotte Cuthbertson
By Charlotte Cuthbertson
September 24, 2018US News

NEW YORK—At the United Nations on Sept. 24 President Donald Trump addressed member nations about the drug crisis facing the world.

“The scourge of drug addiction continues to take too many lives in the United States and around the world,” Trump said.

Roughly 450,000 people died as a result of drug use in 2015, according to WHO. In 2017 in the United States, more than 71,500 Americans died of a drug overdose, with at least 68 percent of those deaths attributed to opioids.

Trump said the United States is taking aggressive action against the drug crisis, and the goal for the global action is to reduce drug demand, increase treatment, and stop trafficking.

“If we take these steps together, we can save the lives of countless people in every corner of the world. And when I say countless I mean millions and millions of people,” he said.

“I’ve always said the United Nations has tremendous potential, and that potential is, slowly but surely, being met,” Trump said.

United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley introduced Trump and welcomed member nations to the Global Call to Action on the World Drug Problem. She thanked member countries for signing a compact to combat drug trafficking.

Haley said 130 member states signed on to the compact that had 31 co-hosts—including Colombia, Afghanistan, and the U.K.

“Everyone knows someone who has suffered and died from abusing drugs,” she said.

President Donald Trump speaks with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres
President Donald Trump speaks with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres during a meeting on the global drug problem a day ahead of the official opening of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly in New York City on Sept. 24, 2018. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres thanked Trump for calling attention to the drug issue, saying the focus has never been needed so much.

Guterres referred to the UN 2018 World Drug Report, which says the production of opium and manufacture of cocaine are at the highest levels ever recorded.

Total global opium production jumped by 65 percent from 2016 to 2017, to 10,500 tons, according to the report. More than 75 percent of the total area of poppy cultivation is in Afghanistan.

The report says global cocaine manufacture in 2016 reached its highest level ever and the markets for cocaine and methamphetamine are extending beyond their usual regions, while the darknet is facilitating an ever-growing proportion of drug trafficking.

The painkiller Tramadol is also causing an addiction crisis in parts of Africa and is expanding in Asia.

Guterres said 31 million people around the world required treatment because of drug use, but only one in six people receive treatment.

He said strong action against drug trafficking, as well as ensuring access to treatment are both needed.

“Together we will succeed and we will never give up,” he said.

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