Agency calls for shared duty in drug control
By Funke Atohengbe, Pretoria
The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) has stressed the need for shared responsibility in addressing the world drug problem and prevent related suffering.
Launching its 2012 Annual report in Pretoria, South Africa, the First Vice President of the Board, Dr Lochan Naidoo, said shared responsibility is a cross-cutting element of virtually all drug related issues.
Dr Naidoo said everyone had the shared responsibility to address drug control, be it at the international, national, community or personal level.
He said nations must move forward to prevent and reduce the suffering caused by inadequate access to medication.
“We call for the spirit of shared responsibility to reduce crime, violence and corruption. There are other sides of this problem. North America really has very high usage of prescription medication and drugs and it is one of the leading causes of death in that area. But in countries in Africa and South-East Asia, where availability of medication for pains, constipation, and other ailments is very poor. We will be able to strike a balance to look at what is available to people so that there is no over consumption, Dr Naidoo said.
Dr Naidoo cited the example of governments who are under undue pressure by their citizens in the fight against illicit trafficking and drug abuse.
He gave the example of eighteen states in the United States of America which are acting independent of the Federal Government, thus making it difficult to comply with the UN Treaty on the control of trade and trafficking in illicit drugs.
“We are looking now at governments that are currently under pressured by their citizens…We are looking at the United States, where some states are acting independently of the Federal Government… The success of the Federal Government Structure is being able to comply with UN treaty…Look at India with its Federal structure and its inability to control its pharmaceutical company properly. We have seen so much of drugs smuggled out of India and diverted…. So the drug problem is not a simple problem,” He explained.
Increase in cocaine abuse
The report said while cannabis remained the most widely cultivated, trafficked and abused in Africa, new threats have emerged especially the illicit manufacture, trafficking and abuse of amphetamine type stimulants.
It said until few years ago, illicit manufacture and abuse of methamphetamine was confined to Southern Africa but it has now spread to West Africa.
The report also said there had been increase in the level of cocaine abuse in West Africa as in recent years; the region has emerged as a transit area for narcotics, especially cocaine from South America to the lucrative European market.
The INCB therefore called on countries to fully meet their obligations at the national levels through shared responsibility.