This article highlights that international drug crime and the policies intended to tackle it are both threats to progress on health, human rights, and the Millennium Development Goals.

In preparation for the UN Millennium Development Goal (MDG) Summit, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon declared on this year’s International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking: 'We must recognise the major impediment to development posed by drug abuse and illicit trafficking', and urged that: 'our work to achieve the MDGs and fight drugs must go hand-in-hand'.

Whilst Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), told The Lancet that if the many cross-cutting, multidimensional issues about drugs and crime are not addressed, many MDGs will not be met in various countries. Costa notes that a fundamental concern is the “vicious cycle” of drug production and trafficking, poverty, and instability. '22 of the 34 countries least likely to achieve the MDGs are in the midst—or emerging from—conflicts, located in regions that are magnets for crime and violence'.

The Lancet, Volume 376, Issue 9747, pp. 1131-1132, 2 October 2010.