Russia suggests setting up an international anti-drug coalition to fight drug trafficking from Afghanistan. The initiative was put forward by the head of the Russian Federal Drug Control Service Viktor Ivanov as he was addressing the 54th session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs currently taking place in Vienna. Mr. Ivanov noted that international programs aimed to fight drug smuggling have proved ineffective and a new strategy is required.
Of course, the international community has done a lot to fight drug trafficking but now it is high time to work out a new five-year plan on how to fight the Afghan drug threat, and this strategy should be approved by the UN. Russia and the EU could take the lead in this coalition.
As Russia sees it, the proposed organization would help countries coordinate their efforts in fighting the drug threat. Many countries already know how to counter the spread of psychotropic drugs but to make this process more effective they need to consult each other on this issue. Russia is ready to take the lead.
Moscow believes that the UN Security Council should legally recognize drug production in Afghanistan as a ‘threat to international security’ and create a special list of countries which let their lands be used for poppy crops. Another step would be to freeze assets of suspected drug lords.
Another proposal is to make it the responsibility of a NATO-led security mission in Afghanistan, the International Security Assistance Force, to destroy opium poppy fields in the region.
Opium poppy cultivation has expanded rapidly since the US-led invasion in Afghanistan in 2001.
Afghanistan currently ranks first among illicit opium poppy growing nations. Local farmers prefer growing poppy and cannabis rather cultivate crops they really need amid the ongoing food crisis. Many countries, including Russia, have been sending flour and grain to Afghanistan to save its people from hunger. To improve the situation it is important to make drug production unprofitable.
The head of the Russian ‘No to alcohol and drug addiction’ charity foundation, Oleg Zykov, comments.
Undoubtedly, illegal drug trade is a global black market, where demand drives supply. To reduce the demand for drugs, we should focus on promoting a healthy lifestyle among people, especially teenagers. Apart from this, it is vitally important to help people suffering from drug and alcohol addiction start living a healthy life.
Experts agree that only a comprehensive approach will pay its way, otherwise drugs will be taking more and more lives. Official statistics say that 1 million people have died from drugs in Europe in the past ten years. But nobody knows exactly how many lives were crippled by this deadly addiction.
Mar 23, 2011