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September 21, 2019

Balancing health and justice a must for tackling drug problems

  • Transnational crimes linked to drugs have become common across the globe. The world today is facing the problem of money laundering, terrorism and terror funding, crime, social, and health issues — all of which are the result of drug trafficking.
    Countries across the world have been cracking down on drug-related problems for decades, but have failed to resolve the complicated issue. In the fight against drugs, hundreds of drug traffickers were killed in one country, but it still failed to root out drugs, and the image of the country’s leader was tarnished by the fighting. His country is still far from freeing itself of the drug menace.
    As the operations of drug producers and traffickers have reached the transnational level, we need cooperation, advanced technology, and financial assistance from the international community to fight local and transnational crimes.
    Today, we have recalibrated our approach to tackling challenges related to drugs to ensure safe, secure, and healthy communities.
    In the past, our approach was mainly focused on supply reduction, and less thought was given to other related issues, and as a result, we did not achieve the results we had anticipated.
    The National Drug Control Policy of Myanmar, announced on 20 February, 2018, is aimed at addressing all aspects of the drug problem, focusing on the unique needs of the country.
    The policy signalled a significant shift towards an evidence-based and more people and health-focused approach, while advocating practical strategies to reduce the negative effects of drug production, trafficking, and use.
    We laid down a five-year strategy from 2019 to 2024, and have been implementing it.
    Our new policy is a significant departure from the past, when it comes to managing the drug problem in Myanmar.
    We hope it will contribute to rebalanced and refocused national efforts as we move to address drug challenges, ensure greater public security and safety, and bring about improved public and community health.
    Since the adoption of the new policy, the measures taken for fighting the drug problem reflect a shift from a punitive approach to a more health and human-oriented approach.
    The motto of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking-2019 which falls on 26 June is ‘Health for Justice. Justice for Health’. As heath and justice are two sides of a coin in fighting drug abuse and trafficking, all departments concerned and the people are urged to support the implementation of the new policy to address the drug problems in the country.

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