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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Demand Reduction


The suffering and damaging consequences of drug abuse know no geographic, economic, social, religious or ethnic bounds. Every day in nations around the global, individuals of every background – rich, poor, educated, illiterate, male, female, and even young children – fall victim to the disease of addiction. The need for drug demand reduction (i.e. drug prevention and drug treatment services) is reflected in devastating toll on the health and welfare of all countries, in addition to undermining economic development, social and political stability, and security in emerging democracies and developing countries.

The U.S. Department of State, through its Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL), has responded boldly for over three decades to this worldwide challenge. Innovative programming and proven approaches to the prevention and treatment of drug abuse have been widely disseminated. Extensive trainings have been conducted to improve clinical skills, raise program standards, and support long-term recovery. Equally important, long-term evaluations have brought INL towards an informed understanding of what works, for whom, and under what conditions.

The specific goals (outcomes) of INL’s International Demand Reduction Program are:

  • reductions in drug use (a treatment indicator that measures progress from use to non-use),
  • delayed onset of use (a prevention indicator that measures success in preventing initial use of drugs),
  • reduction in morbidity caused by drug use (e.g., HIV/AIDS),
  • reduction in criminal behavior (drug and non-drug-related),
  • reduction in drug-related violence,
  • reduction in gang membership, and
  • establishment of self-sustained drug prevention, education, and treatment programs.

INL/C/CJ works with partner governments and partner government-supported NGOs to implement drug prevention and treatment programs. In addition, INL collaborates with public international organizations, such as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Colombo Plan, and the Organization of American States’ (OAS) Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), in order to advance regional cooperation and exchanges of best practices that are guided by evidence-based research.


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