Worldwide Drug Problem

Vienna is hosting the United Nation’s Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) from March 13th until the 21st. The Commission brings attention to the impact drugs have on the health of individuals and the development of nations in the international community. The CND was created in 1946 and its functions include monitoring international drug activity and developing strategies and recommendations.

A “Plan of Action” was developed to tackle the issues of money-laundering and supply/demand reduction, as well as promoting judicial cooperation in hopes of enhancing international cooperation. Since its inception in 2009, the plan has fortified the international community’s participation in the matter as well as improving the administration of treatment and shrinking the worldwide cocaine market.

Despite its successes, there has been a growing problem of opium production, especially in Afghanistan. Synthetic stimulants and psychoactive substances have been on the rise as well. The Convention is calling on the Member States to take an active role in combatting these developing issues. The Commission stresses the importance of public health but also notes the need for alternatives to incarceration of those with drug addictions. The Executive Director discussed possible substitutes such as programs that are attentive to prevention and treatment and those that are socially rehabilitative.

Some individuals, particularly British actor Russell Brand, have spoken out against the Commission’s mandate. Many believe the CND should, instead, legalize and regulate drug activity. Brand specifically cited the violent punishments drug offenders are receiving due to drug related convictions in places such as Mexico, Pakistan, and Malaysia. Malaysia in particular imposes a death penalty on convicted drug traffickers. If an individual has 15 grams of heroine or 200 grams of marijuana in their possession, they are found to be trafficking drugs.

What is your opinion on the matter? Do you agree with the mission of the CND or do you agree with its critics? Do you think legalizing such drugs will improve the conditions of international countries? What are your feelings on harsh sentences for drug convictions?

Sources:

[UN]

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[UNODC]

5 comments

  1. There are many arguments for both sides. It is a difficult issue to resolve. The argument for legalizing drugs is that it will improve and benefit the economy. The arguments for not legalizing drugs are that there are moral, policy, social and health concerns. There has been an argument that marijuana, at least, should be legalized. I agree with the mission of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs. Drugs such as cocaine and opium must be regulated. These types of drugs lead to consequences that the Commission on Narcotic Drugs are trying to combat. These types of drugs lead to adverse health and social consequences. Peoples’ lives get ruined by the use of these types of drugs. I think its great that the Commission is trying to regulate international drug activity and that they’re have been positive results. However, I do feel that the sentences for drug convictions are a bit harsh. I was not aware that Malaysia imposed a death penalty on drug traffickers in possession of 15 grams of heroine or 200 grams of heroine. The punishment does not seem to fit the crime. I think the sentences should be lessened.

  2. The use of drugs within both the national and international community has taken a serious toll on the population. I commend the mission of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in its attempt to reduce drug abuse throughout the international community. I feel that this is a problem that needs to be addressed before conditions worsen. Although I agree that there needs to be substitutes to punishments such as incarceration, these substitutes do not need to reach the severity of the death penalty, as implemented in places such as Mexico and Pakistan. Although individuals have a right to live their lives freely in respect to the decisions they make, I do not agree with Russell Brand’s opinion that drugs should be legalized. I feel that there is a strong necessity to have some type of regulation against substances that change the way individuals act and in the end can simply end their lives.

  3. I think this is a good step in the right direction for the commission. The war on drugs has not been as successful as it was hoped, however, new strategies are being put in place that will certainly help. Initiating programs on drug treatment and prevention is definitely something that will help this cause to decrease drug use. Further, I do not agree with Russell Brand regarding the legalization and regulation of drugs. This will increase drug use since it does not carry the same illegal deterrence as it once had. Further, many of these drugs have negative side effects on people, and in some instances even death. There is no reason why a substance which has the potential to kill should be legal. I think the sentences in some countries for drug convictions are a little harsh. Malaysia’s death penalty for “drug trafficking” is out of line and definitely excessive. Although drug trafficking is a very bad conviction, it does not warrant the death penalty.

  4. I believe that legalize drugs and regulating them is a justifiable course of action. Prohibition does not work and only leaves people worse off as a result of this entire war on drugs. Individuals are killed because of what they sell, the dosages of the drugs are not regulated properly and can result in addiction, drugs are cut with other drugs that people do not actually want to take, and the entire system focused on solely incarcerating people is flawed. Individuals that are usually arrested are low level drug dealers who have no concrete connection with big drug traffickers and the leaders of big gangs who supply the drugs. If countries first, legitimatize drugs, they can properly regulate these drugs and allow people to have safe access to these drugs, instead of playing Russian roulette with their lives. Second, public health should be a major concern with the countries and if countries establish more rehab facilities and gear a bigger portion of their budget to helping people with substance abuse, people will get the help they need and try to change their lives. Any so called war on drugs is not going to work and has not worked and the world needs to finally realize that.

  5. Drugs have been and always will be a part of society. This parallels the times of Prohibition where the United States made alcohol illegal. The illegality of alcohol bought more debauchery to society due to the allure that this “forbidden” substance now had. Prior to Prohibition and how post Prohibition alcohol is regulated but it is not a shrouded mysterious substance encouraging depraved behavior. A worldwide lift on drug offenses seems unlikely and a bit drastic and dangerous but a lift on the severity of substances and the amounts of drugs that are illegal seem more plausible. Drug cartels make their money and flourish because drugs are illegal. The moment that drugs are viewed in a less taboo manner it lifts the allure of drugs, doing drugs, being associated with drugs, and makes it a bit mundane. This in turn takes the power away from drug cartels who are no longer are in charge of a prized commodity oddly enough bringing stability and safety to the general public.

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