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U.N. Paints Bleak Picture of Indigent Addicts’ Life

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Poor drug addicts around the world face a host of problems from stigma and imprisonment to lack of treatment, according to the head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The Associated Press reported March 8 that UNODC executive director Antonio Maria Costa said that “poor addicts — and there are millions of them — have been pushed to the margins of society, deprived of medical attention, often exposed to conditions, including imprisonment, that exacerbate their illness.”

Costa contrasted those circumstances with the life of “addicted rich, singers, models and bankers” who “enter posh private clinics in a deluge of camera flashes — and amuse themselves in the role of trend setters.”

The UNODC and the World Health Organization are working towards the goal of providing universal addiction treatment to addicts, said Costa, who called on world governments to respect the human rights of people with addictions.

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