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U.S., Russian Counternarcotics Chiefs Commit to Increased Cooperation in Reducing Drug Use and its Consequences; Highlight Progress in Enacting Balanced Strategies that Include Bolstering Drug Prevention Among Youth, Expanding Treatment for Drug Addicts

March 24, 2011

Moscow, Russia — Today, Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy, and Victor Ivanov, Director of the Russian Federal Drug Control Service (FSKN), co-chaired the fourth meeting of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission Counternarcotics Working Group in Moscow. During the Working Group meeting, Director Kerlikowske and Director Ivanov discussed progress on the state of U.S.-Russian counternarcotics cooperation, signed a joint report detailing the activities of the Working Group, and engaged in an in-depth discussion of youth prevention efforts. High-level counterdrug representatives from both governments participated, as did drug prevention, recovery, and treatment experts, and specialists in drug enforcement and financial crime.

"Our joint efforts to reduce drug use and its consequences mark an era of unprecedented counterdrug cooperation and engagement with Russia," said Director Kerlikowske. "As the report we signed today details, both of our countries are committed to supporting comprehensive and balanced initiatives that reduce the impact our shared drug problem inflicts on both of our societies. Already, our historic joint law enforcement actions have helped to strengthen public safety by disrupting illicit drug trafficking networks. Today’s work to share information and strategies to prevent drug use and expand treatment demonstrates our countries’ commitment to saving lives and protecting public health by reducing the demand for drugs among our citizens.”

The United States and Russia have taken significant action to improve bilateral counternarcotics cooperation since President Obama and President Medvedev formed the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission in July 2009. Since that time, U.S. and Russian law enforcement authorities have engaged in numerous joint training activities and cooperated on two major joint enforcement operations in 2010. The two governments also engaged in extensive exchanges on initiatives that effectively reduce the demand for drugs, including visits by Russian authorities to prevention, treatment, and recovery agencies and programs in Los Angeles, Baltimore, and the Washington, DC area. Today, the Working Group agreed to continue these efforts in 2011, further enhancing cooperation on drug law enforcement investigations and countering illicit financial flows, with an emphasis on the illicit drug trade emanating from Afghanistan. The Working Group also agreed to focus greater attention on demand reduction efforts in support of Russia’s State Anti-Narcotics Strategy and the U.S. National Drug Control Strategy.

Under the leadership of President Obama and President Medvedev, and coordinated by Secretary Clinton and Foreign Minister Lavrov, the U.S.–Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission is dedicated to identifying areas of cooperation and joint projects that strengthen strategic stability, international security and the development of ties between the Russian and American people.

For more information on the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission, please visit: http://www.state.gov/p/eur/ci/rs/usrussiabilat/index.htm.

For more information on the Obama Administration’s National Strategy to reduce drug use and its consequences, please visit: www.WhiteHouseDrugPolicy.gov.