NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – President Donald Trump on Monday called on nations to join him in an effort to tackle an escalating global drug epidemic, making the appeal at a meeting he presided over with U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
The measure, called the Global Call to Action on the World Drug Problem, gained the support of 130 countries pledging cooperation with the United States at a time when it is fighting a national opioid crisis and stepping up enforcement along its borders to prevent drug trafficking.
“The scourge of drug addiction continues to claim too many lives in the United States and in nations around the world,” Trump said. “Today, we commit to fighting the drug epidemic together.”
He referenced a 2018 World Drug Report that found an alarming uptick in deaths due to drugs. Over a 15-year period, the figure increased by 60 percent, Trump pointed out.
“The call is simple: reduce drug demand; cut off the supply of illicit drugs; expand treatment; and strengthen international cooperation,” he stressed. “If we take these steps together, we can save the lives of countless people in all corners of the world.”
Guterres, who was the prime minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002, steered his country through a drug epidemic by beefing up law enforcement and treatment options during his time in office. Now he said his nation has one of the lowest death rates from drug overdoses in Europe.
In addition to thanking the U.S. president for bringing the “life-and-death issue front-and-center,” Guterres said the solution needs the backing of the international community.
“Failure is, indeed, not an option,” the U.N. chief said. “Together we will succeed.”
Among the high-level representatives who attended the event was Japan’s Foreign Minister Taro Kono.
While at the United Nations, Trump said a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is likely to take place “quite soon.”
Trump saird the relationship with the country whose leader he branded last year as “Little Rocket Man” is much improved.
“It was a different world. That was a dangerous time. This is one year later, a much different time,” Trump said.
Trump said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is working out the details for the second Trump-Kim meeting. Kim requested a second meeting with Trump in a letter this month, and Trump says, “we will be doing that.”
Trump is set to meet with South Korea’s Moon Jae-in later Monday to discuss North Korea and trade details. Moon is expected to convey to Trump a personal message from Kim delivered at their inter-Korean talks last week.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)