129 countries support Trump’s war on drugs, but not New Zealand

Reuters: Some 129 countries sign up to Trump’s pledge at U.N. to fight drugs

Some 129 countries at the United Nations signed on to a U.S.-drafted pledge to fight the global drug problem on Monday that U.S. President Donald Trump warned presented a public health and national security threat.

In order to attend the brief U.N. event with Trump, countries had to sign the one-page “call to action on the world drug problem.” Trump held a similar event at the annual gathering of world leaders in New York last year, focused on U.N. reform.

Countries signing the nonbinding U.S. statement pledged to develop national action plans to reduce demand for illicit drugs through education, expand treatment efforts, strengthen international cooperation on justice, law enforcement and health, and cut off the supply by stopping production.

“If we take these steps together, we can save the lives of countless people in all corners of the world,” Trump said in brief remarks.

“Illicit drugs are linked to organized crime, illegal financial flows, corruption and terrorism. It’s vital for public health and national security that we fight drug addiction and stop all forms of trafficking and smuggling that provide the financial lifeblood for vicious transnational cartels,” he said.

But New Zealand gets a mention in opposition:

Among countries that did not sign the U.S. drugs pledge was New Zealand. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern noted that the United States itself was particularly focused on tackling opioids.

“We have a number of challenges that are quite specific to New Zealand and the particular drugs that are present, but also on taking a health approach. We want to do what works and so we’re using a strong evidence base to do that,” Ardern told reporters on Sunday.

Addiction to opioids – mainly prescription painkillers, heroin and fentanyl – is a growing U.S. problem, especially in rural areas. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioids were involved in more than 49,000 deaths in the country last year.

The biggest drug problems here are synthetic concoction alternatives to cannabis and P (methamphetamine).

UN support for trump (CBS News) – Trump to U.N.: “We commit to fighting the drug epidemic together”

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres applauded Mr. Trump for “focusing a global spotlight on the world drug problem,” adding, “we have never needed it more.”

Global production of opioids and cocaine has reached an all-time high, with 31 million people around the world requiring treatment for drug use and 450,000 people dying every year from overdoses or drug-related health issues, Guterres told the conference. He called the U.S. opioid crisis “heartbreaking.”

Sharing intelligence among member states, he said, will help the crackdown, and Guterres urged U.N. members to work together to deny safe haven to drug traffickers, pursue kingpins and dismantle their networks.

But Trump’s talk doesn’t match his actions:

Despite campaign promises and a high-level focus on international drug trafficking, Mr. Trump has slashed the U.S. counter-narcotics budget by cutting back on personnel at the State Department and other agencies who fight the international drug trade.

“One of the clearest constraints imposed by these cuts is on our ability to counter global threats, including narcotics,” Brett Bruen, a former White House official who now teaches at Georgetown University, told CBS News.

RNZ yesterday quoted criticism from Simon Bridges in Jacinda Ardern rejects Trump’s call for war on drugs

National leader Simon Bridges said a government led by him would sign up to the US document.

He said Ms Ardern was distancing New Zealand from more than 120 countries – including Australia, the United Kingdom and Canada – who had all signalled their intention to take part.

“The Prime Minister’s excuse for not signing up, that the government is taking ‘a health approach’ isn’t good enough. The strategy calls for countries to do more to address addiction and provide more treatment as well as working more closely together to clamp down on manufacturing and supply.

“Taken together, that’s how we will deal with the drug problem.

“But by distancing New Zealand from that work the Prime Minister risks making New Zealand an easy target and sending the message that her government is soft on crime and drug dealers.”

That’s a repackaged attack Bridges and Judith Collins have been repeating.

Mr Bridges said National would support people with drug and alcohol problems, but would also hold those who peddle drugs to account.

Which is what happens under the current Government. The methods and balance are flawed, much like under the previous government that Bridges was a minister in.

Ardern needs to step up and her Labour-led needs to do better and more in addressing insidious drug abuse problems and casualties (ruined lives and deaths). Bridges should be working positively with the Government on this, not mudslinging on the sidelines.