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Other Organizational Measures to Combat Narcotics

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)


Narcotics can be overcome only if approaches to anti-narcotics activity are fundamentally revised, its concrete trends are mapped out and the control over the end results achieved by each ministry and department, responsible for curbing this social evil.

Up-to-date scales and forms of narcotics proliferation show that the measures, applied within the framework of established structures, are not particularly successful. There is no proper interaction between the ministries and the departments, called upon to handle these matters; work is carried out far too often formally without essential drive, consistence, and organization; the system of preventive, therapeutic, and rehabilitative help remains inadequate; and anti-narcotic campaign is ineffective.

For this reason, organizational medical and law enforcement steps can and must be backed by measures to resist drug abuse in all spheres and at all levels of state power to avoid their imbalance and flaws in the all-out anti-narcotics crusade.

The practical experience of daily anti-narcotics activity calls for a significant impact from the top government agencies.

It is at this level that measures should be adopted for creating and implementing a single national strategy against narcotics. For this end, a single permanent executive body, empowered to control narcotics and capable of coordinating comprehensive actions daily against drug addiction and drug-related crimes must be created. The formation of such a body, representing all the ministries and departments concerned, will make it possible to organize a prompt and permanent government action against narcotics, coordinate efforts of government agencies, and other organizations, as well as individuals, and maintain contact with international organizations.

Lawmaking Measures

It is important to revitalize government-sponsored efforts toward hammering out a single anti-narcotics legislation, matching international standards, including 1) a law on the `control over the legal distribution of narcotics, strong substances, precursors, and 2) on the responsibility for such offences as: drugs extortion; illegal actions with government-owned chemicals and special equipment and their use to make drugs; 3) organizational forms of perpetrating drug-related crimes; 4) various commercial and financial operations on money laundering.

Due to the latter, it is necessary to give law enforcement agencies more authority to get from banks and other institutions and organizations necessary data on accounts and other financial transactions of persons, suspected of unlawful actions with narcotics.

Besides, it appears reasonable to amend the current legislation by expanding authority and creating appropriate conditions for law-enforcement agencies (police) to a) conduct searches of luggage, including carry-on luggage , of passengers at all kinds of transport facilities, b) check controlled shipments and cargoes, c) check state purchases of drugs, d) conduct medical examinations of citizens, e) set a more flexible procedure of placing drug addicts for medical treatment, f) a more flexible system of administrative detaining and arresting of citizens, and g) to practice more extensively the protocol form of pre-trial materials preparation.

The signing by the Republic of Azerbaijan of the current international conventions (the 1961 Uniform Convention on Drugs, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic, and agreements on actions against illegal incomes and money laundering, etc.) could step up the campaign against narco-business and make it more effective.

Organizational Measures at Government Level

It would be expedient to carry out a number of organizational anti-narcotics measures at government level. They include:

- a)creating a stable system of information for regional law-enforcement agencies about treaties, agreements, and protocols, concluded and signed by countries, governments, and departments, about procedures and requirements of signing such documents, about Interpol National Central Bank's opportunities to combat specific types of crimes, and about requests' formulation requirements;

- putting the NCB on round-the-clock duty to meet local requests;

- speeding up the creation of effective border customs control and adopting measures against the use of a country as a transit point to ship drugs to other regions;

- toughening control over the production and supplies of drug-bearing substances in chemical pharmacology and other areas, where they are used for lawful purposes.

A positive solution should be found to the issue of opening more medical centers, improving anti-drug addiction therapy, and manufacturing and acquiring more effective medicines, which involves much government spending and a search for sources of funding. Simultaneously, special government-financed short and long term comprehensive medical programs should be worked out and put into effect to block the consumption and sale of drugs; really re-socialize drug addicts; stop AIDS from spreading; spare no effort toward revitalizing non-governmental organizations' activity, aimed at reducing the demand for narcotics.

Measures to Train Personnel

One should bear in mind that in most cases, the first contact with drug addicts, that is with seriously ill people, is made by the officers of law enforcement (police) agencies who have neither practical nor psychological skills of dealing with ill persons. But even a physician is required alongside professional knowledge, to display ethical norms, which quite often are crucial for the recovery of mentally imbalanced patients. For this reason, it is especially urgent and important to draw up teaching aides and methodological recommendations for law- enforcement agencies, not only on the tactics but also on the ethics of dealing with drug addicts, especially young ones. It is necessary to put the experience, gained by the police in anti-drug addiction prophylactic actions, into practice as soon as possible.

Polish scientists identify three groups of young drug addicts: 1) those who can but do not want to stop using drugs; 2) those who would like to give up drugs but cannot do so on their own; 3) and those who do not want and can not drop the ruinous dependence[153].

The principles of treating representatives of each of these groups differ considerably. The experience of drug addicts' treatment shows that two opposite trends dominate in the systems accepted up to date. The first prefers tolerance, partnership, and medical treatment, excluding coercion and punishment. The second envisages tough regimentation toward drugs addicts. However, there is one requirement that is common for both systems - indispensable compliance with the principle of voluntary consent.

There are several varieties of pedagogics as industrial, military, agricultural, and medical. The latter, also called orthopedagogics, deals with upbringing children with defects. In the field of criminological prophylaxis, essential is the role of resocialization, i.e. of the educational effect on persons, poorly adapted to life in society. According to the criminological literature, "the basic goal in penitentiaries, is to create conditions for the social adaptation of persons after their prison term is over." [154]. All these sources of knowledge should be made instrumental in combating drug abuse.

At the government level, interdepartmental programs involving a wide range of experts and the media should be worked out and implemented on educational and prophylactic campain among the population.

Foreign Experience in Prophylactics.

Foreign experience deserves attention in this respect. Poland, for one, attaches great significance to public anti-drug addiction campaigns. Specialists are convinced that drug abuse should be addressed by the public organizations and individuals[155], among them - wellknown scientists, artists, writers, and clerics.

The catholic church plays a special role. Maximilian Conbeg's Society has all parishes offered to its program of temperance, urging them to abstain not only from drugs but from all unnatural desires. The program has been backed across the board. Each diocese has priests specially trained to render professional aid to drug addicts and to help them return to society.

The Catholic University offers a course of lectures which are to help drug addicts; the newly organized Drug Prevention Society has basic activities coinciding with that of the government and its main tasks are to treat drug addicts, return them to society and prevent drug-related crimes. The Society provides therapy for drug afflicted persons, and recommendations on how to regain the healthy way of life. The Polish Psychiatrists' Society has an anti-drug addiction commission, pursuing mainly scientific objectives.

The Monar youth movement immensely contributes to the anti-drug campaign sparing no effort to return drug addicts to society by interacting with medics. Religious and public organizations are actively involved in anti-narcotics campaigns in other countries, too.

At the same time, it is only within the framework of a government-sponsored program that all issues, pertaining to the destruction of drug-bearing crops, must be addressed. For that it is necessary to create independent agencies, furnished with advanced equipment, aircraft, motor vehicles and other means. Such agencies can be allowed appropriate functions only after clearance by a team of ecological experts. Here-in, strict criminal responsibility must be enforced for carrying out such actions that destroy the environment and harm flora and founa. There must be compensation.

The solution of this issue depends upon the possibility of deploying the armed forces. In the USA the army plays a key role in monitoring drug trafficking routes. The Defense Department carries out the following measures against criminal narco-business:

- searching for drug-bearing crops, secret laboratories, storages and drug distribution points;

- discovering and destroying sources of producing drugs (cocain, marijuana, etc);

- putting under control all possible routes of smuggling drugs into the country (by sea, by air, across land border);

- assisting state law-enforcement agencies in exposing the channels of drug proliferation by using intelligence sensors and photo equipment in border territories;

- coordinating operations to intercept ships and aircraft, suspected of illegal drugs shipment;

- patrolling the coast by interceptor planes, ships, posting radars, balloon systems to monitor low-flying objects, etc.;

- measures to get enlisted and non-enlisted army personnel cut drugs consumption.

In 1990, the military, using search equipment, capable of locating submerged cables and pipelines, discovered an underground tunnel at the border with Mexico, a tunnel through which huge consignments of drugs were smuggled into the USA. In the last few years, four anti-narcotics techniques have been in focus: computerized systems, advanced means of communication, field laboratory analyzers, remote chemical detectors (photo-acoustic and laser spectroscopes for locating specific drug production sites.) Experts regard as promising instruments for checking baggage and cargo containers. These instruments operate on nonlinear radar principles.

It is similarly urgent to organize comprehensive, fundamental studies of drug abuse, going beyond specific issues for a narrow circle of departmental experts. The government could put Azerbaijan's Academy of Sciences in charge of such studies and attract foreign scientists and experts to this work. It would be expedient to take stock of the results of accomplished studies already available in Azerbaijan (and if possible abroad), implemented and not implemented projects, methods, recommendations, advanced technologies, technical equipment, and ways of applying scientific achievements in the anti-narcotics campaign and create data banks on this basis.

Organization of Comprehensive Studies

By combining the efforts of scientists and experts it would be possible to avoid haste with setting up new creative teams and, instead, apply to the database for information, learn its source and its author, and decide whether it's simpler to use it rather than carry out studies anew. Such an approach would be quite beneficial for those whose work has so far been wasted and for those who urgently need scientific information.

This would also speed up the process of solving a number of drug problems by cutting the time for scientific research and decreasing inevitable material costs.

Functions of the Head Branch of the Anti-Narcotics Agency

Changes in the given situation call for an appropriate effective response, a revision of the content and volume of work, correction of functions carried out at the departmental level.

Particularly responsible is the role of the head branch of the agency integrated in the Ministry of Internal Affairs which studies, analyzes, sums up and monitors information on narcotics in the country, informs appropriate institutions and departments about it, sets priorities in actions against narcotics, adopts measures to attain them, and carries out other managerial functions. This agency also arranges and takes part in concrete anti-narcotics campaigns. These include measures to prevent the illegal growth of drug-bearing crops (plan, organize, and carry out POPPY operations, etc.); to curb theft of drugs and highly effective medicinal substances; discover underground laboratories (develop, plan and carry out Doping operations); uncover the most sophisticated crimes (by taking direct part in investigative and search actions upon arrival on site, providing methodological, informational and technical aid); expose persons and criminal gangs with inter-regional and international narco-business links; join other services in carrying out preventive operations at airports, railway stations, customs offices to detain criminals, check the baggage, eliminate drug trafficking channels; upgrade work toward preventing and exposing drug-related crimes.

The volume of applicable law measures at this level bears a selective nature, being much inferior to the volume of managerial and other functions. It would be more rational and effective however to rid these branches completely of any forms of direct involvement in preventing, exposing, and curbing crimes and thereby extend managerial functions by raising demands for professional leadership and service management by augmenting the staff functions of these branches and limiting their role in exposing and curbing crimes to appropriate qualified essential methods and effective control.

Perfecting Internal Affairs Ministry Work

To make law-enforcement agencies anti-drug trafficking activity more efficient, the Internal Affairs Ministry could:

- draft comprehensive anti-drug addiction programs;

- perfect the departmental normative basis, create methods and analysis teaching aids and video-films;

- participate in the work to bring republican anti-narcotics legislation in line with the international acts;

- create a normative-legal basis to ensure a mechanism for bilateral and multilateral international cooperation;

- work out, create, and introduce in day-to-day activity a mechanism of control over the emerging narcotic situation and coordinate reaction to its changes;

- adopt measures to provide the branches with appropriate equipment and special devices;

- create automated information-search systems with wide-ranging possibilities to combat criminal narco-business;.

- set out short and long term guidelines;

- determine resources for the target-oriented organizational, informative, promptly investigative and material-technical support of areas with wide-spread drug abuse and rampant crime;

- control the formation of local branches and their activities;

- organize interaction between law-enforcement (police) agencies, serving at areas where drugs are grown, trafficked, and consumed;

- coordinate various branches' activity to carry out joint measures toward exposing criminal gangs with inter-regional contacts and carrying out prophylactic measures on air, sea, river, and auto transport;

- form a computer data banks on drug trafficking at republican and international levels;

- follow the USA and other countries' experience in setting up special mobile units, armed with the most advanced military hardware and teach methods and ecologically safe technologies of drug crops' destruction;

- promote law-enforcement (police) agencies' cooperation with customs, national security agencies, army and border troops;

- educate territorial agencies on various methods of work;

- plan cooperation with foreign agencies in preventing drugs and raw material for narcotics from being smuggled in from other regions practicing a specific form of controllable supplies envisaged by the 1988 UN Convention and exert control over such cooperation;

- organize and control scientific research and apply it;

- to study, sum up, and apply positive foreign experience;

One should bear in mind that the campaign against narcotics is part of the universal action against organized crime. Efficiency at the local level makes it possible to expose not only drug-related crimes but also felonies, especially those involving violence and theft.

If all these organizational measures are put into practice, the campaign against narcotics in the Republic of Azerbaijan will be more effective.


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