Essay on International Perspective on the Problems of Drug Addiction !
With the rapid expansion of trade and commerce beyond national boundaries, the problem of drug addiction and trafficking has become a global phenomenon. Therefore, as a measure of drug control, a thirteen-nation international conference on narcotic drugs was held in China in 1909.
Thereafter, the International Opinium Convention called the Hague Convention on Narcotics was held in 1912 which was the first drug traffic control treaty at the international level. This was followed by a series of conventions and declarations which were made to combat illegal drug trafficking.
One of the most important conventions on drug abuse was the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961 (SCND) which attempted to simplify and consolidate international drug control machinery. The convention codified all the existing multi-national treaties and merged the Permanent Central Board and Drug Supervisory Board into a Single International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) in 1961.
It has been assigned the responsibility of ensuring the balance between supply and demand for narcotics purposes and make all out efforts to prevent illicit drug cultivation, manufacture, traffic and misuse.
Article 38 proviso (1) of SCND insists that facilities for medical treatment, care and rehabilitation of drug addicts should be globally expended.
The Protocol of 1972 brought about a further improvement in SCND. It came into force on August 8, 1975. It insists on prior authorisation for the cultivation, production, manufacture, conversion and compounding of, preparations, trade, distribution and import or export of drugs.
It also emphasised the need for treatment and rehabilitation of drug abusers as an alternative to their incarceration in prison. Under the Protocol, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) was assigned the responsibility of ensuring a balance between supply and demand of narcotic purposes and for endeavouring to prevent illicit cultivation, manufacture or use of drugs.
Another International Convention on prevention, abuse and illegal trafficking in narcotics called the Convention on Psychotropic Substances was signed in 1971 which came into force on 16 August, 1976. The convention has stressed the need for prevention of abuse of psychotropic substances and early identification, treatment, education, after-care, rehabilitation and social reintegration of the persons involved.
This was followed by setting up a five-years action programme by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1981 under the International Drug Abuse Control Strategy. It provides for a number of measures dealing with drug control, drug trafficking and treatment and rehabilitation strategy for addicts. It also seeks to intensify efforts to dismantle illegal drug-trafficking gangs and organisations.
An International Conference on Drug Control was held in Vienna from 17 to 26 June, 1987 under the auspices of United Nations. It focused attention on drug control policies and, strategies which could be enforced at the national, regional and international level to prevent drug abuse and illegal trafficking of narcotic substances.
It must be stated that drug abuse is not only a national problem but it has transgressed the national boundaries and has become an international problem. It has, therefore, been realised in recent years that no country can deal with this problem of abuse of drugs without international co-operation and action.
The Commission on Narcotics Drugs in close colloboration with the World Health Organisation adopted a convention on psychotropic substances and India has enacted the Narcotic Drugs & Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 to prevent drug-addiction.
This Act was amended in 1988 and called the Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1988. It provides for death penalty on conviction for a second drug trafficking offence.
An International Conference on Global Drugs Law was organised by the Indian Law Institute, Delhi, in co-sponsorship with the UNDCP and the International Law Association (India Regional Branch) from February 28 to March 3 in 1997. The conference reiterated its faith in human dignity and the legitimate aspiration of humankind for a decent life. It emphasised the need for generating universal consciousness of, and determination to battle, the drug problem in all its pervasive forms at the national, regional and international level. The Conference, inter alia resolved:
1. To accelerate the struggle against the scourge of drugs and to adopt measures to strengthen international co-operation and multi-disciplinary approach to tackle the problem.
2. To formulate effective strategy against drug-abuse, illicit production and trafficking within the framework of guidelines in major international conventions;
3. To prevent and control the supply of drugs to affluent nations as the bulk of demand for drugs comes from these nations;
4. To formulate a comprehensive system for the collection, evaluation and dissemination of relevant data relating to drugs;
5. To work out an effective education programme for counteracting drug abuse worldwide and preparing training and educational material for the young people to assist them in developing vocational and self-employment opportunities;
6. To ensure proper enforcement of a system of the international control of narcotic drugs which includes control of cultivation, production, manufacture, use, demand and supply of drugs for illicit use;
7. To ensure absolute curtailment of the enormous funds generated from the drug trade by means of money laundering;
8. To create a special task-force of committed honest personnel having the sanction of relevant government agency to infiltrate the network of drug trade operators and bring them to justice.
The participants of the Conference recognised the fact that fights against drug-related crime is undermined by corruption; therefore, the State must review the effectiveness of their national laws and strategies against corruption.