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Classification of Measures to Overcome Drug Abuse

E.G. Gasanov

This and many other very interesting materials have been published in the book "Drug Abuse: Tendencies and Ways to Overcome It (based on materials of the Republic of Azerbaijan)" (Мoscow: "JurInfoR" Educational and Consulting Center, 1998)


The essence of the system of measures to overcome drug abuse can be understood by their classification in view of the diversity of these measures. By establishing their different categories and distributing them into various groups, this classification would make it possible to give each measure its own niche, to define its boundaries and its relationship to other measures. This classification makes it possible to determine the degree of each measure's significance and its priority in terms of its practical implementation.

It is important to group them by contents, form, level, subject of application, and type. As for legal measures, they should be grouped in accordance with different branches of law.

The Content of Measures to Overcome Drug Abuse

The measures to overcome drug abuse carried out by the UN Commission on Drugs of the UN Economic and Social Council, by the UN International Committee on Drug Control and by other international agencies can be grouped into the following categories: analytical, organizational, training and educational, research, technical, medical, economic, financial, international law, preventive, monitoring, legislative, and criminal.

Analytical component is needed in order to be able to make use of a complex system of collecting and assessing data about drug abuse, to evaluate the extent of the illegal use of drugs in different countries worldwide, and to make data available on the seizure of large quantities of narcotics to interested parties.

Organizational component of measures is aimed at setting up international agencies to control drugs and to combat drug trade; assisting countries in developing national policies on such control; supporting projects, promoting national law enforcement agencies; defining direction of programs and ensuring the organizational backing of such programs; estimating the amount of illegal cultivation of drug-bearing plants in areas difficult and dangerous to access. Governmental measures should include adoption and fulfillment of national programs to overcome drug abuse by forming special law-enforcement, medical and other institutions, as well as special services and squads to combat drug trade; taking stock of lands used to cultivate drug-bearing plants; arranging control over the production, storage, consumption, an shipments of drugs, especially across national borders, as well as over the actions for pharmaceutical and medical centers.

The training and educational component includes educating specialists in law-enforcement agencies, mass media, narcological centers, and social services.

The research component aims to define and analyze data on drug abuse, to work out recommendations for overcoming it, to set up and run special research labs, and to find new ways of ending drug addiction.

The technical component includes identifying drugs, designing equipment for special labs, developing remote control devices to spot fields of drug-bearing crops.

The medical component of measures is: to promote a system of rehabilitative treatment for drug users; to choose appropriate curative programs; and work on methods to reduce the spread of infectious diseases among drug users.

The economic component consists chiefly in funding various programs and projects, combating drug abuse, supporting programs reducing demand for drugs and their supply, encouraging and supporting populations which had switched to cultivating farm crops on territories where drug-bearing plants had been grown previously.

The financial component involves measures against money laundering. Financial operations by drug moguls aimed at making their earnings legal are the most vulnerable part for the criminals. In view of this, the Committee for Banking Rules and Banking Supervision issued a statement on December 12th , 1988 that calls for preventing criminal uses of the banking system for laundering cash obtained from drug trafficking. It requires that the international banking community use extreme discretion while identifying clients. The statement also calls for more cooperation with judicial systems and police institutions in halting the legalization of cash from drug trafficking. Many countries have accepted that the principles contained in this statement are applicable to the operation of their own financial systems. In keeping with a decision of the G Seven countries and of the European Commission Chairman at the 15th economic summit in Paris in July 1989, a special operational group on financial issues was started. It produced 40 recommendations made public in February 1990. It also analyzed world fiancial flows, banking and financial systems and methods for laundering cash. The group found some weak spots and undertook a number of other steps. All the countries, who are members of this group and (in keeping with its recommendations) some other countries declared that they viewed participation in laundering cash as a criminal act and started special services to investigate leads on shady deals reported by subunits of the financial system. At the recommendation of the special operational group on finances, the UN International Committee on Drug Control called on all governments to pass and effectively use appropriate legislative acts to stop money laundering, to confiscate the property of drug dealers, and to consider a possibility of lifting the burden of proving the legitimacy of supposed incomes or of other property subject to confiscation under par. 7 of Article 5 of the 1988 Convention even if this may require legal or constitutional amendments.

Among the international law components of measures are those calling for reciprocal legal support of countries working to combat drug trafficking. It is essential to make extradition easier, to strengthen international cooperation against illegal drug trafficking, as well as to promote the international system of control over medicinal drugs and psychotropes.

The preventive measures are comprised of destroying illegal plantations of drug-bearing crops; preventing a transfer of drugs and of their components from the legal sphere to the illegal one; curbing illegal drug trafficking; reducing the demand for drugs; preventing the use of narcotics, particularly, in places of employment, eliminating the addicts' pads, illegal labs where narcotics are made and stores which sell them; promoting social rehabilitation of drug addicts and encouraging education campaigns against drugs.

The control component of measures envisages supervision over the following areas: the growing of drug-bearing plants, to rule out a "leakage" of the legitimately grown plants: illegal sowing and raising; production of narcotics, their acquisition, storage, stocking and dispensing; commercial trade turnover in special equipment used for producing drugs, as well as in raw materials; semi-finished products, chemicals and narcotic analogies; international parcel post deliveries as a vehicle for sending narcotics; ships sailing on the high seas and planes flying in international space; transit through customs' ports; approaches to land, sea and air borders; and deliveries of drugs for treatments at hospitals.

The most important law-making measure is that of bringing national legislation in line with international conventions on narco-business.

The common criminal measures are those applied in every country, as criminal responsibility for illegal drug trafficking, sowing and raising drug-bearing plants as well as for other socially dangerous actions related to drugs. These measures cover both punishment for the above-listed crimes and also confiscation of tools and of income earned from the illegal drug trafficking.

Other measures include improving judiciary and legal systems such as law-enforcement bodies, courts of law, penitentiary and post penitentiary programs, customs and education.

Forms of Measures To Overcome Drug Abuse

The classification of measures to overcome drug abuse can be subdivided into two groups: those having legal form and those that do not , i.e. those which are regulated and unregulated by the law accordingly.

Measures to Overcome Drug Abuse Regulated by the Law

The legal measures against drug abuse include compulsory educational; compulsory medical; preventive- repressive; repressive; those ensuring active participation of citizens in cobating crimes, in preventing and curbing them; as well as procedural and organizational managerial. The compulsory medical , preventive repressive and repressive measures are those aimed at suppressing drug abuse and the compulsory educational-at preventing it.

Some compulsory educational measures include limiting work of citizens abusing narcotics (under articles 16 and 50 of the Civil Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan), stripping addicts of parental rights (under article 74 of the Marriage and Family Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan), ending job contracts and applying disciplinary action for turning up at work in the state of intoxication, including drug intoxication (point 7, article 38, part 1 of article 138 of the Labor Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan), and preventing drug-related crimes by administrative and legal means (Article 44, 102-2 of the Administrative Offenses Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan), etc.

Compulsory medical measures cover both administrative legal and criminal types. Administrative legal measures amount to compulsory treatment of teenage and adult addicts at curative educational and work therapy centers as regulated by the decree of the Supreme Soviet Presidium of the Republic of Azerbaijan (from August 26th, 1965 with amendments and changes made in 1975, 1985, and 1987) on using compulsory treatment and labor education towards chronic alcoholics and drug addicts[044], and Article 51-1 of the law "On Public Health"[045] passed in the republic of Azerbaijan on July 2nd 1971 (with changes and amendments introduced in 1985 and 1987).

Criminal measures are those which can be directly applied to addicts who have committed crimes. Along with punishment, compulsory treatment is a measure which can be used. (article 55 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan).

Preventive repressive measures are envisaged in Articles 227, 227-1, 226-3 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan. and repressive measures are outlined in Articles 226, 226-1,226-5, 226-4 and 226-6 of the CC. The suggested division of the listed measures is conditional and is substantiated by the fact that in the first group, the preventive aspect is stressed more than in the second.

Measures ensuring citizens' active stand against crimes are defined as "necessary defense" and "extreme necessity" regulated by articles 13 and 14 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan[046].

For example, the act of causing physical harm to a person persuading another person to take drugs may be qualified as a necessary defense action. Damage inflicted an addict's property, which is used exclusively for the purpose of buying drugs, would be a case of "extreme necessity", provided that such conditions were present to make application of "necessary defense" and "extreme necessity" actions lawful.

The civil procedure code defines a person abusing drugs as the one having impaired working abilities and on the order, of restoring these upon his recovery. (articles 262, 263,264, 265, 266 and 267 of the Civil Procedural Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan). Administrative procedural measures regulate the placing to compulsory treatments of addicts at curative educational and curative labor centers (articles 208, 210, 211, 212, 249, 250, 251, 252, 253, 261 of the Administrative Law Breaches Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan and also the above-cited decree of August 26th 1965 issued by the Supreme Soviet Presidium of the Republic of Azerbaijan and articles 55-1 of the Law "On Public Health" passed in the Republic of Azerbaijan on July 2nd 1971). Criminal procedural measures are regulated by the norms of investigation of criminal cases that involve any crimes, including drug-related ones.

Organizational managerial measures on the basis of administrative legal norms, determine in general terms, the status of curative educational and curative labor centers providing treatments to drug addicts, and the competence of law-enforcement agencies and of the court regarding the compulsory placing of drug addicts for treatment. In addition, there are also measures, containing the following provisions: to build up, on the national scale, a network of bodies and institutions whose functions will amount to combating drug-related crimes; to record the number of addicts and provide treatments to them; to promote departmental cooperation in the work of combating narcotics; many organizational managerial measures are specified by international law, registered in conventions, agreements, treaties and other documents.

Measures to Overcome Drug Abuse Unregulated by the Law

The second group of measures to overcome drug abuse are those which are not regulated by the law. They are informational, analytical, organizational, educational, scientific, technological, medical and preventive, as well as other measures that bear no relation to compulsion.

It is the group of legal measures, which can be subdivided into law branches. Such norms, as suggested above, can be found in the civil, family, labor, administrative, and criminal codes.

The Level of Measures to Combat Drug Abuse

Measures to combat drug abuse can be divided into the following four levels: international, social, special and individual.

Measures at the international level are applied by various countries throughout the world. They are particularly binding in the countries which have joined international treaties by ratifying them. This category of measures may include any of the previously listed such as informational, analytical, research, technical, medical, economical, financial, preventive, control, and law-making.

Social measures are those used on a national scale and meant to influence society as a whole. They include preventive, law-making, criminal and other legal measures, as well as the ones embracing the entire society such as informational, analytical, organizational, managerial, medical, economical, and others.

Special measures aim to overcome drug abuse and influence, on the one hand, certain kinds of harmful activities linked to drugs, and on the other, restrain persons inclined to carry out such activities or drug addicts. Measures aimed against certain kinds of activities include, for example, actions to destroy illegally sown crops or wild drug-bearing plants, may include measures in regard to specific individuals, attempts to cure drug addicts; to reveal and record the names of people inclined to commit drug-related crimes, or persons already convicted for such crimes; to prevent such people from committing more crimes; and to help persons from high risk groups avoid situations which may induce drug use.

Measures in regard to individuals cover steps taken in relation to those persons who use drugs or those who have committed or tend to commit crimes or other law-breaking acts involving drugs. They include steps providing drug addicts with an opportunity to undergo treatment or making them, if necessary, to undergo treatment, instituting criminal proceedings or using administrative measures against persons who have committed crimes, as well as preventing or warding off potentially socially dangerous actions involving drugs, etc. Medical, preventive, administrative, legal, criminal, criminal procedural and criminal executive measures can also be seen as measures in regard to individuals.

The Subjects of Measures To Overcome Drug Abuse.

The measures to overcome drug abuse can be grouped by institutions implementing them. There are international agencies and organizations, medical institutions, law-making bodies, law-enforcement agencies, executive government branches, specially created agencies, groups and other organizations.

The Commission on Narcotics of the UN Economic and Social Council and the UN International Committee on Drug Control are permanently functioning international agencies. Various conferences and symposia on actions against drug abuse discussed and worked out conventions, programs, decisions, projects, and recommendations. These can be referred to as temporarily operating organizations. Conferences of member-states, i.e. of their official representatives, have the right to approve conventions and other normative documents subsequently ranked as international law acts. After their ratification, legal norms contained in them become part of national legislation. International bodies exercise all the above-listed measures to combat drug abuse, except for criminal measures and a few others.

Medical institutions have the authority to carry out curative and curative preventive measures.

The list of medical institutions includes the Health Ministry of the Republic of Azerbaijan and all of the hospitals, clinics and other curative and preventive centers under its jurisdiction. They have departments, treating drug addicts and also have curative centers, conducting educational and work therapy.

The law-making bodies which initiate measures to overcome drug abuse consist of the top legislative body designed to pass laws and decisions; of the President who is empowered to issue decrees and of the Cabinet of Ministers-authorized to make decisions.

The law-enforcement agencies form the structure that includes the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, the offices of public prosecutors and the courts. They use measures to combat drug abuse along with the use, adjustment and organization of other measures bound to curtail crimes and other law-breaking actions. The most multi-functional of the law-enforcement agencies are internal affairs agencies consisting of such structural subunits as the public order maintenance service, operational and investigation departments and criminal executive offices among others.

Internal affairs agencies make use of informational, analytical, organizational, training and educational, research, technical, and preventive measures along with others to combat drug abuse. Bodies of the Ministry of Justice carry out informational, analytical, organizational, training and educational, and controlling measures. Offices of public prosecutors use informational, analytical, organizational, training and educational, research, preventive, control, criminal, and criminal procedural measures. Measures that the courts apply are informational, analytical, organizational, preventive, criminal, criminal procedural and criminal executive. As for the Supreme Court of the Republic of Azerbaijan, its legislative measures take the form of major decisions passed by its Plenary Sessions, decisions containing interpretations of various statutes and corrections of law-applying practices which are binding on all law enforcement agencies.

The executive government branch comprises, apart from law enforcement agencies, agencies of the executive power branch at all levels, including the local level. Executive branch agencies at ministerial and departmental level, those, of course, who bear relation to drug trafficking carry out law-making measures in the form of passing various normative acts with appropriate contents and use, proceeding from their function. These law-making measures are: informational, analytical, organizational, economic, financial or control measures; as for the local executive, they make use of organizational, economic and preventive measures to overcome drug abuse.

Specially organized agencies have different names depending on the country or region. For example, in the Republic of Azerbaijan, there is a government-sponsored commission to combat drug addiction and illegal drug-trafficking.

Other organizations involve mass media, people's militia, trade unions, ecological, religious and other public organizations whose activities, or at least one of their functions, is to deal with drug addiction. These organizations exercise mainly informational, analytical, and preventive measures.

By their nature, the measures to overcome drug addiction can be divided into suppressive and preventive.

This classification makes it possible to determine the importance of each particular group. It can also serve as the basis for building a system of measures to be used for the preparation and subsequent development of the national program of action to combat drug addiction in the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Measures to Overcome Drug Abuse

By evaluating the measures to overcome drug abuse from the study of the experience, it is possible to single out the following groups of measures to be included into the national program for the Republic of Azerbaijan: 1) control preventive; 2) research, training and educational; 3) medical; 4) legal; 5) economic and financial, and 6) organizational.

The control and preventive; research, training and educational; economic and financial measures are grouped together because they are closely intertwined. Legal measures in this national program should include law enforcement and law-making measures and organizational measures-informational, analytical, and technical measures.

Without referring to the contents once again it would be important, from the standpoint of their expression and place in this program, to draw attention to some points concerning certain groups of the proposed measures.

A method should be defined in this anti-drug program of applying control measures. It would need to be a legislative regulation of drug movements from the sowing of drug-bearing plants and their cultivation, to the consumption of drugs. Presently, conflicting rules regulating the production, acquisition, storage, stock taking, dispensing, transportation and the sending of narcotics by parcel post are in force. These rules were enacted by executive branch agencies rather than by law-makers. For example, the rules concerning the production, storage, stock-taking, and dispensing of drugs were established by the orders issued by the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of the Medical and Micro- biological Industry of the former USSR. Transportation rules can be found in orders issued by the Ministry of the Medical Industry and coordinated with the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the former USSR. Rules for sending and shipping drugs by rail or any other kind of transport were determined by normative acts of various agencies. In short, the rules for handling narcotics were worked out, on the one hand, not by law-makers but by executive government agencies, and thus enabled the latter to restrict or extend the limits of criminal responsibility for persons violating the rules under article 226-5 of the CC of the Republic of Azerbaijan. On the other hand, even if this is the prerogative of law- makers, the rules are scattered within various and quite numerous normative acts making it difficult to control violations of these rules by law-enforcement agencies. So, if a full and effective control over the circulation of narcotics is to be ensured, uniform rules for handling drugs should be worked out on the basis of the existing rules and should be made into law. These rules should envisage the procedures for the sowing, raising, producing, storing, stock-taking, dispensing and selling of drugs and for the acquiring, sending by parcel post, and carrying of drugs and their analogies, as well as raw materials, semi-finished products, chemicals and special equipment used in making drugs across national borders.

A special permanently functioning agency under the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Azerbaijan and departmental services subject to it at ministries and agencies related to the circulation of narcotics should enforce the observance of the rules to handle narcotics. These agencies should have the authority to use open and covert methods of control, namely, aerial photography in areas difficult to access, to spot illegal fields of drug-bearing plants and control drug deliveries.

To implement research, training and educational measures in a national program it is essential to set up a single research and study center consisting of facilities capable to perform specific tasks of dealing with drug addiction. These tasks should be defined in the national program without overstepping their limits, so as not to squander means and resources on meeting other goals. For example, the tasks of the research facility should be to identify drugs, establish new types of drugs and study the most pressing problems of efforts aimed at stopping drug addiction. There is a need to establish how money obtained from the narcotics trade is laundered and determine methods for halting this process; a need to develop methods for examining controlled deliveries, documenting them and obtaining evidence which could determine guilt of the involved parties. The research center could work out methods for carrying out searches and other actions to uncover illegal drug operations and actions of those guilty, including sponsors, leaders and members of organized crime groups. The research center could summarize international experience in combating drug addiction, including school and out-of-school psycho preventive education for minors, preventive measures among population groups considered to be at a risk, and educational and preventive activity by means of mass media.

As far as the national anti-drug program of the Republic of Azerbaijan is concerned, it is important not to list but to elucidate all the legal measures against drug addiction. It is necessary to emphasize that anti-drug measures are enacted by civil, family, labor, administrative, criminal and other legislation. In case of a conflict between legislative norms of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the norms of international law contained in ratified conventions and agreements, the international law takes precedent.

Special attention should be paid to law-making measures devoted to combating drug addiction. It is expedient to include in the national program provisions regulating legal drug turnover, regulations for the treatment, and rehabilitation of drug addicts. It is necessary to develop and pass the law on the responsibility for laundering drug money ensure and to treatment of drug patients grown drug-bearing plants for personal use at therapy centers or narcological hospitals, who have made, bought or kept drugs or have sown without selling them, rather than making them face criminal responsibility.

Economic and financial measures in the national program should provide for funding to actually put this program into effect. It should also ensure the functioning of the law-enforcement agencies engaged in the anti-drug programs, of narcological institutions and drug control services, as well as support for persons who use fields where drug-bearing crops had been cultivated earlier but later destroyed. Also the program should develop provisions about the application of financial measures against the laundering of drug money.

When it comes to organizational measures, it would be expedient to single out purely organizational and also informational, analytical, and material- technical ones.

It seems that priorities of the program should be to strengthen subunits of the law enforcement agencies, and of narcological centers, specializing in programs against drug abuse; to set up drug control agencies, encourage anti-drug programs by the greatest number of agencies, organizations, and mass media. The priority is promoting cooperation between all agencies and organizations engaged in combating drug abuse; in establishing a research center for studying problems of combating drug addiction, in training and up-grading the qualifications of specialists, expected to work in their field; and in setting up a data bank on drug addiction.

All of the above listed informational, analytical and technical measures should be included in the national program to combat drug addiction in the Republic of Azerbaijan. A special fund needs to be started to support such projects as building medical institutions, a study center, and the law enforcement agencies furnished with the most modern equipment.

This system of measures to combat drug abuse examined here with the ranking of these measures, will make it possible to set specific deadlines for putting stipulated provisions into practice and will define the responsibility for their implementation, if this system becomes a part of the national program. The time frame for the implementation of this extensive program should be no less than 3 years with annual reports from all those involved. This will help ensure a more effective realization of all its provisions.

This system and the classification of measures against drug abuse indicate how difficult and complicated the job of combating drugs is. It calls for much effort, constant improvement and a considerable resources.


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