June 26th, 2008
The global war against drug abuse and illicit trafficking has gained momentum over the years. To marshal worldwide support for the control over drugs, the 26th of June
every year is devoted to the cause, known as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
Undoubtedly, drugs can hold individuals to ransom, triggering a negative effect on an entire family and community. In effect, drugs can control life. The profound slogan, "Do drugs control your life? Your community? No place for drugs"
encapsulates the resolve to fight drug abuse and illicit trafficking. 200 million people worldwide are slaves to drugs
• 162 million swear by cannabis -marihuana, hashish, THC.
• 35 million would do anything for ATS - ecstasy, methamphetamine, amphetamine, methcathinone.
• 16 million use opiates -opium, morphine, heroin, synthetic opiates
• 13 million use cocaine How has the drug trade penetrated to such mammoth proportions?
Drugs have an effect on the mind and body. To support the demand for drugs, the nexus of farmers, global drug cartels and middlemen 'sow the seeds', leaving no stone unturned to perpetuate this nefarious trade. The drug racket needs to be busted, which is what the anti-drug campaigns are constantly striving to do - yet none other than society and individuals can help meet these objectives. Bust the Racket
Three multilateral drug treaties form the edifice of international drug control and UNODC (UN Office on Drugs and Crime) initiatives. The efforts of UNODC strive to bring control on three key facets which is drug abuse, production and trafficking of illicit drugs. Illicit drugs are defined by the UNODC as drugs of the type - amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS), sedative hypnotics, opiates, cannabis, and hallucinogens.
UN General Assembly, in 1998 framed a defining statement conveying the extent of the global drug menace- it said, "Drugs destroy lives and communities, undermine sustainable human development and generate crime. Drugs affect all sectors of society in all countries; in particular, drug abuse affects the freedom and development of young people, the world's most valuable asset." Mean Business
A recent UN report has portrayed the alarming increase in the drug smuggling trade, especially heroin, which is smuggled into India from Pakistan. The consumption of cocaine in Western Europe is also steadily increasing. Asia is grappling with increasing levels of ATS use. Afghanistan, the highest producer of opium in the world, has become a hub for illicit drug trafficking.
Another worrying trend is the trafficking of pharmaceuticals into India from other South Asian countries. The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) has blamed the gangs from West African countries for making India a transit point for movement of drug consignments to Europe.
Rajiv Walia, project coordinator in the Regional Office for South Asia of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said, "Law enforcement agencies in the north-western parts of India are seizing ever increasing quantities of heroin originating in Afghanistan and coming via Pakistan en route to Europe. South Asia is being targeted for cocaine trafficking, with West African gangs bringing it here and exchanging it for heroin that they smuggle into Europe".
Many illegally manufactured pharmaceutical preparations like buprenorphine, codeine-based syrups, benzodiazepines are illegally trafficked from India and smuggled into Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Sri Lanka. From these countries, the illicit pharmaceutical medicines make their way to North America and Europe.
Courier companies are being used to smuggle illicit drugs. In July 2007, two parcels meant for Canada and South Africa containing more than 1kg of heroin were intercepted in India. Internet Abets Drug Trafficking
The internet has been misused for providing information, advertisement and promotion of illegal drugs. The popularly needed drugs are Dextropropoxyphene, Nitrazepam, Diazepam, and Buprenorphine.
According to K.C. Verma, director of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), traffickers in Europe and Africa are in touch with several websites in India, known to offer pharmaceutical drugs with psychotropic substances. After the orders are registered by clients from other countries, the Indian organizations arrange to send the drugs by post with deceptive labels on the packets.
A report released by the International Narcotics Control Board, stated, "Internationally controlled pharmaceutical preparations manufactured locally in India are increasingly being diverted to some European countries and the US. Each year the US Customs and Border Protection intercepts in the mail system thousands of illegal parcels containing pharmaceutical preparations and marked 'for personal use'. Most of those pharmaceutical preparations appear to have been sold illegally over the Internet." Indeed, it is time to crack the whip. The UN has pressed India to strengthen its control over illicit drug trafficking. It is also important to understand that it is not a problem specific to a country. It is a global problem which needs a global initiative. A concerted effort across nations is imperative to obliterate the scourge.