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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 international community sees narcotics as one of the most dangerous social evils. International legal acts, as well as national legislations, including that of the Republic of Azerbaijan, contain numerous norms regulating actions against narcotics bound to suppress and prevent it. Moves are made to perfect and update these norms so that they could counteract new forms and methods of committing drug-related crimes. Naturally enough, legal regulations trail after criminal thought in these and other criminal offenses.

To narrow the gap between the rapid advancement of criminal know-how and the introduction of the new anti-crime legislation there is a need to monitor the spread of narcotics, assess it, watch its dynamics, forecast its progress and carry out appropriate research. Monitoring and research are to help pinpoint the sensitive spots of drug abuse and work out new legal norms and methods for dealing with them.

Highly important is the application of legal norms and the planning of various measures aiming to oppose narcotics.

The new social, economic and climatic conditions, its geographic and geopolitical position, as well as its newly gained sovereignty have put the Republic of Azerbaijan face to face with the most pressing problem of drug abuse.

Private business has been made legal in the new social and economic conditions. Under the guise of legally established private enterprises underground drug manufacturing laboratories and drug trade hideouts (houses, apartments) have begun functioning as unoffical operational reports confirm. Illegal efforts to produce and sell drugs and the tendency for their proliferation demand emergency antidrug legislation. Illegally-operating drug-producing and drug-selling companies present a much bigger threat to society than all other drug-related ventures do, now that they (a) spread new varieties of and increasingly more hazardous drugs, (b) increase, drug production and sales manyfold , (c) promote an organized system of narcobusiness and, consequently, the takeover of drug-trafficking by organized criminal groups, (d) take monopoly control of drug-trafficking and reap super-profits in this field, (e) take drug-trafficking operations beyond the national borders and make use of their foreign connections for the acquisition, manufacture, transportation, sending, smuggling and sale of drugs. Their activities prompt many related crimes.

All this calls for moves to update the Azerbaijanian Criminal Code with articles on legal responsibility for the production and sale of drugs which must be considered to belong to the categories of serious and most serious criminal offenses punishable by ten to fifteen years of imprisonment and the confiscation of property.

The climatic conditions on the territory of Azerbaijan favor the natural growth and cultivation of drug-bearing plants which may be, or are already, used for the purpose of drug production. This calls for the need to constantly perfect methods of exposing and destroying such plants, both those that are wild and those that are raised, which, in turn, calls for a wide range of financial and organizational efforts.

Its geographic and geopolitical position makes the Republic of Azerbaijan a convenient trans-shipment point on the road from Asia to Russia, other former Soviet republics and on to Europe. The Azerbaijanian government, its law-enforcement agencies, in particular, must, as a result, check illegal attempts to take drugs across the national border, bolster up its customs services and see to it that they upgrade their performance and work in close cooperation with the territorial and traffic police and other agencies expected to carry out programs of action against narcotics.

The newly gained independence requires that the Republic of Azerbaijan confront two problems directly related to narcotics and efforts to overcome it.

First of all, borders between Azerbaijan and other former Soviet republics show the highest degree of transparency, i.e. border-crossing presents almost no problem. Given the geographic and geopolitical position of Azerbaijan, the transparency of the national border aggravates the problem of drug-smuggling and calls for the need to essentially fortify the border and better customs control along it.

Secondly, there is the problem of international relations in the field of narcotics and international efforts to deal with it. There are two angles to this second problem. Now that it has gained sovereignty, Azerbaijan has to assume upon itself the functions of establishing and maintaining international relations, especially since it represents a sort of a link in the chain that ties drug- producers and drug-consuming regions together. When the Republic of Azerbaijan was a constituent part of the Soviet Union, these functions were performed by the Soviet Union as a whole. Its new status compels Azerbaijan to do what any sovereign nation must do to promote relations with other countries and the international community as a whole, represented by the United Nations, in the examined sphere as well. Azerbaijan must, as a result, take independent decisions on whether it should join international conventions, seal international agreements and attend international fora that focus on questions of narcotics among others and measures of combating it. It is important for Azerbaijan therefore to train some experts of its own who will specialize both in international relations and problems of combating drug abuse.

The second angle of this problem lies in the fact that once being a part of the Soviet Union, Azerbaijan neither faced nor could possibly face obstacles concerning the jurisdiction of its anti-crime effort, including crimes committed on territories of different Soviet republics. Now that they are sovereign nations, the former Soviet republics have national borders which, transparent as they are, make legal action against criminal elements possible only in the context of international relations and in keeping with international agreements. This, naturally, complicates the timely launching of operational and investigative actions aimed at solving criminal cases including those of drug-trafficking.

This book has hopefully convinced the reader that drug abuse presents a serious threat to society, that all programs of action to overcome it should be given maximum attention and questions arising from their implementation should be approached comprehensively and on a scientifically based foundation. This is what this book has aimed to accomplish.

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