1 Establishing an effective international measure to combat the trafficking of drugs Introduction Vanessa Lim Drug trafficking, otherwise known as the illegal trading and handling of drugs, has been a prevalent issue in a manifold of countries over the years, and it still is today. This is evident especially in the United States, where it has proven itself to be the most highly remunerative and widespread crime activity. As quoted in the President's Commission on Organized Crime in 1986, Drug trafficking accounts for almost 38 percent of all organized crime activity across the country and generates an income estimated to be as high as $110 billion. Drug trafficking has remained a severe world issue for an extensive period of time, keeping organizations such as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on their toes in attempt to obtain improved understanding regarding the dynamics of illegal drug trade, as it is paramount to gain insight on the issue before actually combating it. Drug trafficking itself can further result in a plethora of unwanted consequences, including but not limited to worldwide drug abuse and drug crimes. The world today already faces enough challenges, not just with drugs, but with numerous other issues. Why impede it with superfluous drug trafficking problems? Different nations face different severity levels on said issue, but this issue remains one that calls for urgent attention in many parts of the world. Clearly, there is an urgent need to enforce an international measure that combats drug trafficking. Background Information The incessant movement of illicit drugs from country to country overtime has created what seems to be an endless cycle of negatively-charged buying and selling. A global estimation had been made, stating that in 2010, about 153 million to 300 million of the world s year old population ( % of the world s population in that age group) was found guilty of using some illicit substance at least one time during the course of the year before.
2 Of the plentiful number of illicit drug users, there is, however, a handful from the group that calls for particular concern. This refers to people suffering from drug-use disorders, those who depend excessively on drugs etc. It has already been scientifically proven that no existing drug is 100% safe, yet, people still take it. The outcome of consuming illicit drugs varies, death being one of them. In 2010, approximately 99,000 to 253,000 drug-related deaths have occurred globally; this number makes up about 0.5 to1.3% of all-cause mortality among the 15 to 64 year old population. Death could be the worst-case-scenario of illicit drug use, but it is definitely not the only one. There has always been a myriad of risks involved the moment one decides to do drugs; for instance, experiencing the torturing effects of overdosage, addiction, psychological dependence, withdrawal symptoms, as well as many risks, be it regarding social behaviour or health or any other aspects. Either way, it is evident that illicit drug intake has proven itself to be highly detrimental. If steps are retraced, one would be led back to the origin of the issue at hand; illicit drug trafficking. That is the root of the problem. Drug trafficking has proven itself capable of harming the lives of many in a vast number of ways. In order to prevent such undesirable consequences, this root must be uprooted, preferably through the means of an international standard which all member states agree upon. Many regions are victimized by the effects of drug trade, whether it is the trading of Cocaine, Cannabis, Opioids, Heroin or any other drug. Establishing an international measure could potentially result in not only successful combating of the drug trade, but also in the creation of a stronger sense of unification among nations. Affected Regions Africa Cannabis has been identified as the drug of highest annual prevalence in Africa (much higher than the global average), especially in its western and central regions. Aside from Cannabis, there has also been an escalation in the trend of drug injection and Heroin usage, especially in Seychelles, Mauritius, Kenya, Libya and the United Republic of Tanzania. In Sub- Saharan Africa, about 221,000 injecting drug users, out of an estimated number of 1.78 million drug users in general, suffer from HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). Blood borne viruses like HIV and hepatitis B and C are highly likely to be transferred from person to person since it involves the sharing of potentially contaminated needles, which is the primary means in which the virus is transmitted. In 2010, 7 of the 54 African States presented UNODC with mostly
3 negative reports regarding the increment in cannabis and opioid usage. Said two drugs brought about high demand in treatment for illicit drug use in the whole of Africa; out of which, 64% of such treatment was reportedly meant to treat disorders resulting from usage of cannabis. In other words, Africa is not in good shape in terms of the drug trafficking issue. America Although the drug-related death rate in South America has been estimated to be below the global average, cocaine has still left its mark as the most lethal drug there, as well as in numerous other regions. Furthermore, homicide rates in Central America and the Caribbean have been linked to organized crime and conflicts that have to do with the trafficking flow of cocaine as well as cocaine markets. It had also been reported in 2011 that there was an increase in cocaine and cannabis use in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. In North America, a huge problem has been the non-medical usage of prescription drugs (particularly stimulants & pain relievers). However, cocaine usage has dropped slightly since Cannabis, on the other hand, wasn t being used any lesser, such that a 13.7% usage increased to 14.1%. A huge number of deaths had resulted from illicit drug use in general (In 2010, it was an estimated amount of 44,800 deaths), which was one fifth of the global aggregate. Prescription painkillers have begun to cause more deaths than do the use of heroin and cocaine combined. The United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention had even mentioned that about 9 out of 10 deaths by poisoning were the result of drug intake. Being a region fairly involved in drug trafficking, such consequences were hard to avoid in the Americas. Asia Asia s usage of opiates, cannabis and ATS (Amphetamine-type Stimulants) has brought about some concern with regard to the drug problem. Of course, those are not the only drugs involved in trafficking, but reports have shown clear increment in usage of those drugs in particular. Countries like Georgia, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan have reported increasing cannabis usage, while others like Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan remain as countries that overuse opiates above the standard of the global estimate. Europe Western & Central Europe follow closely behind North America as major illicit cocaine markets. Despite many reports of declining or stable trends in use of opioids, cannabis, cocaine and ATS, new synthetic drugs came into the picture at alarming rates, and there was some interplay between legal highs and illicit drugs. Mephedrone, for instance, started being under national control in every EU (European Union) member state as of 2010, but it continues to be a commodity both legally online and illegally through illicit supply networks that "ecstasy" and cocaine use.
4 Opioids (mainly Heroin) are still highly problematic though, and exist as the main culprit behind the demand for treatment for drug use and also are a major cause of Europe's drugrelated deaths. According to 2011 reports, HIV has also been prevalent among injecting drug users situated in areas like Greece and Romania. Till today, Europe continues to suffer from the tolls of drug trafficking. How P5 Nations Face the Issue United Kingdom The United Kingdom is quite actively involved in tackling the issue of drug trafficking. It offers help and support to the United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP), an organization created in 1991 which aims to co-ordinate international assistance and action against drugs. The United Kingdom also contributes to a smaller branch of the UNDCP known as the Dublin group. This group functions with the collaboration of the European Union and other donor nations to coordinate policies and assist transit and producer countries. Besides having paid much attention to the 1988 UN Drugs Convention (regarding international cooperation against drug trafficking), the United Kingdom had also ratified the 1988 UN Drugs Convention in June 1991, to give access to UK Dependent Territories. UK has also worked towards giving Europeans, as well as other member states, vital information at European level regarding drugs, addiction and consequences of drug intake. United States of America The USA is a huge victim of the results of drug trafficking. It has taken several actions in effort to combat the issue. The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) establishes U.S. counterdrug policies and aims, as well as coordinates the federal budget in fighting against domestic and international drug trade. Some efforts taken by the USA so far have been the reduction of drug production at the source, combating drugs in transit, the dismantlement of international illicit drug networks and the formation of incentives to bring about cooperation for drug control. On a side note, President Barack Obama had also claimed on April that given the choice, he would not recommend legalizing narcotics due to the high possibility of more problems being caused in countries greatly affected by drug trafficking and violence. Russian Federation Despite not being as greatly affected by the drug problem as countries like USA and Africa have, Russia had shown willingness to contribute in fighting the battle against drug trafficking. It supported the Paris Pact in On 14 November 2008, the director of Federal Drug Control Service of the Russian Federation had also agreed with the director of UNODC to offer its support for a pilot project which aimed to train counter-narcotics and law enforcement personnel in Central Asia and Afghanistan. China Trade in China has been flourishing the past few years, which can be viewed as both good and bad. The opening of its borders to trade had resulted in more drug-trafficking, especially since the large population and plethora of coastal regions were highly appealing and convenient for drug traffickers. China authorities reckon drug trafficking and abuse pose as major threats to its country s national security, economy, and stability. China participated in the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention and its 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, the UN Convention against Corruption, and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.
5 France France has offered much support with regard to combating the trafficking of drugs for years. It helped develop international standards in the narcotics field, organized assessments of narcotics threats, and also aimed at forming assistance programs in fields like prevention, as well as enforcing possible sanctions. France had even initiated the European Pact to Combat International Drug Trafficking, which the EU interior ministers decided to adopt as of 3 rd June UN Involvement UNODC Recognizing the fact that illicit drug trafficking posed as a problem for a manifold of countries, the UN established UNODC. It was created with the purpose of aiding member states in their battle against illicit drugs, crime and terrorism. UNODC was to take on the lead role in settling drug-related issues. To cover more ground and give more direct attention to each nation, UNODC has been stationed such that it operates across the globe through an extensive network of field offices. The Commission on Narcotic Drugs Within the UN, The Commission on Narcotic Drugs plays a major role in handling drugrelated issues as the central policymaking body. It not only keeps a constantly watchful eye on the world drug situation, but also comes up with strategies on international drug control and suggests reasonable measures to combat the world drug issue. These include the reduction of drug demand, promotion of other development initiatives, as well as the adoption of supply reduction measures. The Commission on Narcotic Drugs furthermore sets a specific place for Member States to share their expertise, experiences and knowledge on drug-related issues and come up with a coordinated response. (Quoted from the Secretary General s Message on the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking in 2011) Because the threat is so urgent, I recently established a Task Force to develop a UN system-wide strategy to coordinate and strengthen our responses to illicit drugs and organized crime by building them into all UN peacekeeping, peace building, security, development and disarmament activities. In this way, the United Nations can integrate the fight against drug trafficking and other forms of organized crime into the global security and development agenda. ---Ban Ki-Moon Possible Solutions There are many ways to tackle the drug problem, although none have a 100% success guarantee. One possible solution could be to legalize some drugs commonly bought and sold, so as to demotivate drug traffickers from continuing their sales of illicit drugs seeing as their actions are no longer considered illegal. Another solution to consider would be an increment in the severity of punishments for those caught trafficking illegal drugs and to strengthen border
6 patrols. Cooperation between nations to track down drug trafficking rings and routes will also need to be made. Timeline 1909 First International conferences regarding drugs, the Opium Commission, meets in Shanghai 1912 World s first international drug control treaty, the International Opium Convention, is passed in the Hague 1920 Creation of the League of Nations; it becomes the custodian of the Opium Convention 1931 Convention for Limiting the Manufacture and Regulating the Distribution of Narcotic Drugs aims to restrict the supply of narcotic drugs to amounts necessary in areas of medicine and science 1946 International drug control transferred from the League of Nations to the newly created United Nations (UN); The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) establishes the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) as the central policy-making body of the UN in drugrelated matters 1953 The Opium Protocol is signed, limiting opium production & trade to medical and scientific needs only 1971 The Convention on Psychotropic Substances is passed in response to increased use of these drugs in several countries 1991 The United Nations International Drug Control Programme(UNDCP) is established in Vienna 2003 The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime comes into force, strengthening international capacity to counter organized crime, including drug trafficking 26 June 2012 UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov launched the 2012 World Drug Report
7 Glossary All-cause mortality All-cause mortality by age group is the annual number of deaths in a given age group per the population in that age group (usually expressed per 100,000). Used for Hypothesis generation, to set health objectives, to compare over time and place Custodian Name for a specific person/group that is given the responsibility of looking after something European Pact to Combat International Drug Trafficking The flow of cocaine through West Africa, the Atlantic, and the Mediterranean, combating the flow of heroin through Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Balkans, and trafficking in precursor chemicals; lastly, identifying, seizing, and confiscating criminal assets Narcotics Drugs that induce sleep ONDCP The Office of National Drug Control Policy is a component of the Executive Office of the President (EOP) that runs the federal government s anti-drug programs Stimulants Drugs that make people become more active and awake than usual UNODC The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime plays the role of global leader in combatting illicit drugs and transnational organized crime
8 Drugs. UNRIC. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Jan <http://www.unric.org/en/drugs>. Works Cited "Drug Trafficking." UNODC United Nations Office On Drugs And Crime. United Nations, n.d. Web. 23 Dec <https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/drug-trafficking/index.html>. Schaffer, Cliff. "Chapter I The Impact of the Drug Trade." DRCNet Online Library Main Page - Frames. Cliff Schaffer, n.d. Web. 23 Dec <http://druglibrary.net/schaffer/govpubs/amhab/amhabc1.htm>. "The Fight Against Drugs." France Diplomatie. Communication and Press Directorate, n.d. Web. 23 Dec <http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/global-issues/defence-security/organizedcriminality/the-fight-against-drugs/>. UNODC. "UNODC." UNAIDS. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Dec <http://www.unaids.org/en/aboutunaids/unaidscosponsors/unodc/>. Wallechinsky, David. "AllGov - Departments." AllGov - Home. Cutting Edge Intelligence, n.d. Web. 23 Dec <http://www.allgov.com/departments/executive-office-of-the-president/office-ofnational-drug-control-policy?agencyid=7271>. Zhu, Peter. "China Anti-drug and Narcotine Law and Policy." China Lawyer Blog. Peter Zhu, 24 Mar Web. 23 Dec <http://www.chinalawblog.org/law-topics/criminal-defense/165-china-anti-drug-andnarcotine>.
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