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2018 OSCE-wide Conference on Combating the Threat of Illicit Drugs and the Diversion of Chemical Precursors on "Strategic Approaches to the Reduction of Supply and Demand of Illicit Drugs”

Illicit drugs and chemical precursors


This Conference will discuss approaches to counter the threat of illicit drugs and the diversion of chemical precursors that could be further adapted and/or reformed in order to face emerging challenges with the ultimate aim to meet the recommendations of the outcome document “Our Joint Commitment to Effectively Addressing and Countering the World Drug Problem” of the special session of the UN General Assembly on the world drug problem (UNGASS 2016), held from 19 to 21 April 2016 at the UN Headquarters in New York, as well as of the UNODC 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action.


The Conference is targeted at decision-makers and experts from national drug control structures, representatives of relevant international and regional organizations, as well as civil society. Practitioners from pertinent government ministries and services, including ministries of Interior, Justice, Social, Health and Foreign Affairs and other related institutions are especially encouraged to share concrete examples, best practices and lessons learned, as well as to identify specific needs and proposals for possible improvement of OSCE drug-related activities, in line with its pertinent mandate built on agreed frameworks and based on the principle of shared responsibility.

The 2-day Conference will be divided into four working sessions on the following topics:

  1. Integrated and Mutually Reinforcing Programmes to Reduce Supply and Demand of Illicit Drugs
  2. Relationship between Drug Control Policy, Security and Development
  3. Moving beyond the Balanced Approach: Prevention, Early Intervention and Education
  4. International Drug Control System: Need for Rebalancing or Reshaping?


The ultimate goal of both supply and demand reduction of illicit drugs is to prevent substance use and abuse. Demand reduction efforts reduce the demand for illegal drugs using prevention, treatment, and research. Supply reduction – through law enforcement measures – makes drugs scarcer, more expensive, and less socially tolerated.

However, on the basis of its alleged ineffectiveness, opponents to such two-way approach call for removing the law enforcement component of the strategy, and, thus, for focusing mainly on demand reduction. Nevertheless, the common understanding remains that the combination of both demand reduction and supply reduction leads to effective and long-term results.

When the price of illicit drugs tend to increase and/or drugs are difficult to obtain, the demand for substance, consequently, decrease. When the number of substance-users falls, drug supply also tend to decrease correspondingly due to the shrink of the illegal drug market. Thus, addressing drug economy challenges from both supply and demand angles maximizes global efforts to combating the threat of illicit drugs and the diversion of chemical precursors.

Experts argue that the international community should find – when possible – entry points for designing and implementing effective and long-term drug policy reforms, investing both in law enforcement and treatment measures.

Discussions on the current challenges and opportunities within the international drug control system may further develop proposals for its rebalancing and/or reshaping. This should be pursued through prevention, early intervention and education initiatives, along with effective law enforcement and criminal justice measures. In doing so, youth involvement, gender mainstreaming and the adoption of a public health-oriented approach would contribute to building societal and community resilience against substance-related disorders.


Added on
29 Jun 2018
OSCE / Transnational Threats Department / Strategic Police Matters Unit
Venue description

Hofburg Congress Centre, Vienna, Austria

OSCE Chairmanship, OSCE / Transnational Threats Department / Strategic Police Matters Unit
Law enforcement officers, Delegations, OSCE staff
drugs, drug offences