The Issue Of Substance Abuse In Belgium

“You know you’re a drug addict when you misplace things … like a decade. ”There are naysayers, around the world, who believe that a global fight against illegal drugs is unwinnable. The delegate of Belgium says emphatically that they are wrong. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) supports its Member States in addressing drug use, drug addiction and any other kind of abuse, that is, by implementing drug use prevention, interventions and providing drug dependence treatment and care services, especially for young adults, which are based on evidence of scientific and ethical standards. Although UNODC was established in 1997, the institution has fallen short of its goal to fight against substance abuse, despite cooperative efforts alongside the countries’ respective governments.

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The Kingdom of Belgium believes that in order to end substance abuse, the nations must make strict laws and regulations on the production and use of drugs. This includes heavy penalties and fines to a person who is caught dealing with illegal drugs. This also includes education of the people on the use of drugs.

The Belgians were, once, such enthusiastic consumers of narcotics that even the pigeons were said to be on drugs due to its large-scale circulation. The various policies of drugs in Belgium is defined in two key policy documents, the Federal Drug Policy Note of 2001 and the Common Declaration of 2010. The Federal Drug Policy Note was adopted as a long-term policy document and it focuses on both illicit and licit substances, including tobacco, alcohol and psychoactive medicines. The main goals of this document are the prevention and reduction of risks for the people who use drugs, including the society and environment as a whole; these goals are organized across three pillars: prevention and early intervention in drug consumption; harm reduction, treatment and reintegration; and enforcement. The Common Declaration is a further statement that confirms the approach set out in the Federal Drug Policy Note. As such, it can be considered as a more up-to-date elaboration of the Belgian drug policy. The possession and/or selling of controlled substances and its use is not mentioned as an offence in Belgian drug law.

Belgium is confident with its drug laws as it has been predicted that these laws will show a systematic decrease in the circulation and abuse of drugs in the near future. A range of treatment and services are available for citizens of all ages. General and mental healthcare, based on psychosocial interventions, is provided by centers for mental health, sometimes with a specialized focus on drug dependence. In Belgium, general practitioners remain the first-line health services for accessing drug treatment. Recently, online rehabilitation and treatment interventions have also become available through online help and chat. Inpatient treatment consisting of stabilization, motivation and detoxification, and social reintegration is offered at hospital-based residential drug treatment units and specialized crisis intervention centers. Examples include halfway houses in therapeutic communities, employment rehabilitation programmes and day treatment in drug centers. The organization, monitoring and implementation of prevention activities is, presently, in the hands of Belgium’s communities and regional governments.

Being the Delegate of Belgium, I believe that more action will be taken in the near future, such as educating the people about the consequences of substance abuse, effectively dealing with peer pressure among teenagers which also includes life pressure and domestic instability. There will also be special help be given to teenagers with mental illness as it goes hand in hand with substance abuse. the government will cooperate with the NGO’s and UNODC field offices’ in order to examine the various risk factors and help curb this problem at its origin which is primarily the teenage. This will be done by educating the children and adults on how to keep a well-balanced and stress-free life.

‘No country is perfect’, in order to reach near perfection, nations have to work together to eradicate the abuse of various substances. The Kingdom of Belgium is ever-ready to lend a helping hand in whatever forms possible to other nations who are committed to end substance abuse of all forms, especially among teenagers.

29 April 2020

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