Monday, June 26, 2006

DrugScope: Charity surprised by UN chief's cannabis remarks

Leading UK drugs charity DrugScope today expressed surprise at remarks made by the Executive Director of the UNODC that cocaine and heroin are no more harmful than cannabis. The comments were made at the launch of the 2006 World Drug Report.

"The UK government, education system and charities have worked hard in recent years to ensure our young people are given factual information about the relative harms of drugs. International evidence is clear that cocaine and heroin cause much greater health and social harms than cannabis and it is misleading and irresponsible to suggest otherwise. Cannabis is a harmful substance but the greater harms caused by cocaine and heroin should not be downplayed.

"European evidence shows that although stronger strains of cannabis are available than 20 years ago, there has not been a significant increase overall in the use of more potent forms of the drug."

Responding to other key issues raised by the report, Barnes continued:

"Although we should not be complacent, cocaine use in the UK has remained stable in recent years, with last year's figures showing a slight drop to levels seen in 2000.

"Opium production in Afghanistan continues to be a concern, but it would be unrealistic to expect a significant reduction in levels of production without improvements in the country's infrastructure and better access to alternative sources of income or employment."


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