Drug Policy Agreeement Signed Between Italy and USA
“A historic agreement:” this is how Italian and US representatives defined the Memorandum of Understanding on drug policy that was signed between the two countries today in Washington. The Undersecretary for substance abuse prevention at the Office of the Prime Minister, Carlo Giovanardi, was present to represent Italy.
After the signing, David K. Mineta, Deputy Director of Demand Reduction at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, stated: “We believe that Italy is one of the few countries that can speak credibly on the topic of drug policy.”
Giovanardi was “very satisfied” with the agreement made with the U.S. government, and in commenting on the signing declared that “there is a single and identical vision––the Italian position on combating drugs is shared by the Obama administration.” The Undersecretary went on to say that representatives of the US government expressed “outrage at how the Report of the so-called Global Commission (which speaks of failure in the fight against drugs and calls for the legalization of certain substances) has been passed off as a United Nations report when it has nothing to do with the UN or the White House.”
The agreement between Italy and the US emphasizes the common goal of developing models geared towards preventing drug use in young people and affirms that “it has been scientifically documented that societal disapproval can lead to a decrease in consumption, especially of marijuana, in particular among young persons.” The MOU recalls the need to “highlight the damages that drugs cause and emphasize the benefits of a drug-free life to young people and to their families, via national anti-drug campaigns in schools, workplaces, faith-based communities, community centers, and places where young people gather” and it affirms that the “proposals to legalize drugs do not present an effective solution to the problem.” It also underscores how drug use leads to serious health and safety problems, and must be addressed as a public health concern, recognizing that drug addiction “is a preventable, treatable disease, and one from which recovery is possible.” The services, as the agreement states, must be “sharply focused on the patient’s total recovery, and must always be coupled with the prevention and treatment of related diseases.”
The agreement lays the foundation for a collaboration between the substance abuse departments of Italy and the U.S. in research, best practices for prevention, and policies. It entails setting up “international collaboration groups to discuss and examine problems and find strategies to improve and strengthen the commitments of the respective Parties in controlling drugs and establishing partnerships that are mutually beneficial in more effectively tackling substance abuse.” There is also the commitment to “create bilateral agreements among research institutes and clinical centers in public health of the Parties in the sectors of prevention, early intervention, treatment, rehabilitation, recovery and re-entry” and the condition that the research and programs that are implemented be consistent with the objectives specified in the respective national strategies concerning drugs.
“Like our U.S. colleagues, we are convinced, commented Giovanni Serpelloni, head of the Italian Department of Anti-Drug Policies, that to improve our capabilities to respond to the phenomenon it is necessary to look beyond national borders since only a global response can truly provide effective solutions to the problem. The collaboration with American centers will certainly increase the quality of research and clinical practice in Italy.”
SOURCE: Italian Embassy