Date: Fri, 26 Feb 1999 22:32:18 -0600 (CST)
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Rich Winkel)
Subject: DRUGS: UN Blames Internet for Accessible Drug Info
/** ips.english: 513.0 **/
** Topic: DRUGS: UN Blames Internet for Easy Drug Access//EMBARGOED// **
** Written 2:42 PM Feb 25, 1999 by newsdesk in cdp:ips.english **
Copyright 1999 InterPress Service, all rights reserved.
Worldwide distribution via the APC networks.
UN Blames Internet for Easy Drug Access
By Thalif Deen, IPS
23 February 1999
UNITED NATIONS, Feb 23 (IPS) - The United Nations is blaming the
world's information superhighway - the Internet - for providing
drug users with relatively easy access to narcotic drugs.
"Online do-it-yourself guides that enable their readers to
prepare and abuse controlled substances continue to proliferate on
the Internet," says the latest annual report of the UN
International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) released Tuesday.
The 67-page report stresses that many of the Internet home
pages promoting drug use are located on servers in Canada and the
United States. The 13-member INCB also warns that international
and national regulatory controls are "increasingly being
threatened by the misuse of emerging technologies such as the
World Wide Web."
"Drugs of abuse and related paraphernalia are blatantly sold
on Web sites," it adds.
The study urges all governments - in particular those that have
allowed drug sites to flourish - to work in close cooperation with
the Internet industry, community organisations, families and
educators to set up a framework to discourage or ban drug abuse on
The INCB says new technologies have become indispensable to the
development of drug research and clinical practices. Additionally,
criminal investigations, including the identification and
determination of drugs of abuse and communication between
competent control services, has been helped by the use of new
At the same time, however, the flow of electronic information
also is being exploited more quickly and easily by criminal
organisations, the report says.
"New drugs of abuse can be 'designed' without difficulty by
'manipulating' on a computer the molecules of drugs under the
narcotics control regime, and methods used in illicit drug
production or manufacture can be obtained from the Internet in a
few minutes," the report says.
UN Under-Secretary-General Pino Arlacchi, head of the UN Drug
Control Programme, says there are an estimated eight million drug
addicts the world over.
"We need about a billion dollars a year for 10 years to
eliminate narcotic crops completely," he told reporters last
He says at least three countries - Bolivia, Peru and Colombia -
are fully committed to the goal of eradicating coca cultivation
within their national boundaries during the next 10 years.
Arlacchi said that half of the 10 billion dollars needed to end
narcotic crop growing will be spent by national governments
themselves, while the balance will come from the international
community in the form of loans and outright grants.
Last year, donor nations pledged more than 270 million dollars
for the anti-drug war in Peru which has been earmarked for
eliminate coca cultivation within the next 10 years and to provide
alternate crops, says Arlacchi.
In its report, the INCB admits that illicit crop cultivation
and illicit drug production, along with the manufacture and
trafficking by criminal organisations, have "taken on enormous
The Board says it is understandable that one of the frequently
asked questions is whether it is still worthwhile to spend money
on drug control in the context of a growing multi-billion dollar
global trade in drugs.
"Would it not be more economical to do away with all drug
regulations and other related efforts and to leave it to market-
economy forces to regulate the situation at no cost to society?",
the Board asks.
In the opinion of the Board, "this is the wrong question."
"It is similar to questioning whether it is economical to prevent
car accidents or to treat infectious diseases. History has shown
that national and international control of drugs has proved to be
an efficient tool for reducing the development of drug dependence
and is therefore the choice to be made."
In November last year nearly 74 percent of Swiss voters
decisively rejected a proposal to legalise marijuana, heroin and
cocaine. The proposal was aimed at turning Switzerland into a
virtual free-drugs zone in a country with more than 30,000 hard-
drug addicts, one of the highest in Europe. (END/IPS/td/mk/99)
[c] 1999, InterPress Third World News Agency (IPS)
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