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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 20th century has witnessed the spread of narcotics to the entire world. In the past narcotics in the natural economy were confined to territories where drug-bearing plants were grown. By the end of century drug addiction has become a world-wide socially dangerous trend.

Narco-dealers making fabulous profits infect more and more people and even entire social groups with drug addiction. Narcotics have long since gone beyond the borders of traditional drug-producing areas and have infiltrated all the countries of the world, exerting its malicious effect on their peoples. It has affected social, economic, political and biological aspects of life.

Statistics is constantly reporting the spread of drug addiction and the growth in the number of drug addicts on file at medical institutions, as well as the rise in officially recorded drug-related crimes.

Drug abuse has become a real plague of the 20th century in many countries of the world and may become the plague of this country in particular.

The pleasurable sensations of comfort and satisfaction that a person experiences using narcotics is much greater than that of alcohol thus making the repetition necessary. Consequently, dependence on drugs and the desire to enlarge the dose or experiment with the new and more powerful drugs increases. Gradually the desire for dope becomes so overwhelming that it degrades the addict's individuality. The transition from experimentation to dependence is no longer a secret for it has been studied thoroughly. Profit seeking dealers expand the drug market at any cost by supplying drugs to more and more addicts taking advantage of their weaknesses.

Drug sales are the closing stage in drug trafficking. Drug trade earns huge profits that cover the costs of cultivating drug-bearing plants, producing (or illegally acquiring from medical institutions) transportation, sale expenses, and the bribery of officials, including those of the law enforcement agencies. Since illegal drug trafficking is extremely advantageous in terms of illegal profit accumulation and so harmful and immoral it must be regarded by the entire world community as a socially dangerous phenomenon. Some countries qualify its certain manifestations as a heinous crime.

Throughout this century international organizations have been paying much attention to actions against drug abuse. For example, in 1909 the Shanghai Opium Commission approved documents to restrict drug trafficking between countries. The international opium conference held in the Hague between 1911 and 1912 worked out, for the first time in history, the drug convention of 1912. The conference on opium held in Geneva between 1924 and 1925 approved, on February 11, 1925, an Agreement under which opium was made a government monopoly. The second Geneva conference on opium passed a convention on February 19, 1925, under which narcotics were to be produced only for the purpose of meeting the countries' legal demand for them. Besides this convention stipulated the extension of the list of drugs. On July 13, 1931, an international convention limiting the production of drugs and regulating their distribution was approved in Geneva. It came into force in 1933. A convention of actions against the illegal trade in hard drugs was signed in Geneva on June 26, 1936. It made international prosecution for drug-related crimes possible and introduced punishments for such crimes compared with the previous conventions.

In 1946, the UN Economic and Social Council passed a resolution that provided for the international drug control and for the establishment of a drug commission for this purpose. On November, 19 1946, the UN General Assembly passed resolution 54/1 which endorsed a Protocol on Drugs. It was signed at Lake Success on December 11, 1946. At the initiative of the Drug Commission, a protocol extending the international control over drugs set forth by the 1931 convention, was signed at the third UN General Assembly session in Paris on November 19, 1948. A Protocol on Control over opium poppy, consisting of the Preamble and the Final Act, was signed in New York at the UN opium conference on June 23, 1953. The UN conference in New York in 1961 approved a Uniform Drug Convention and in 1971 in Vienna a special diplomatic conference passed a convention that stipulated the establishment of a control over psychotropic preparations. The UN conference in Vienna in 1988 adopted a convention of actions against the illegal trafficking of drugs and psychotropic substances. In keeping with the decisions of the G Seven heads of state and governments and of the European Commission Chairman, the 15th top-level economic summit in Paris set up a special group in July 1989 to deal with the laundering of drug money. Upon this group's recommendations, the International Drug Control Council called on all the governments to approve, among other things, legislative acts against attempts to launder money obtained from drug sales and to ensure their effective use. The list of international antidrug conferences and their drug-prevention documents alone, as well as the establishment of special international bodies and organizations to carry out their decisions, is a graphic illustration of how serious the world community's effort to oppose drug abuse has been. The case in point is the Republic of Azerbaijan where actions aimed to prevent and erode drug addiction have been taken perennially in the last few years. Complementary to them are, comprehensive legal, economic and social reforms now underway in the Republic.

At the end of 1992, the Republic of Azerbaijan joined the 1988 UN convention of actions against the illegal trafficking of drugs and psychotropic substances. The new Constitution passed at President Aliev's initiative and approved by national referendum on November 12th, 1995, as well as several legislative acts, have paved the way for new steps in the campaign against narcotics, specifically by switch over from declarations to real action. The decision to draw up a new nationwide program of action against narcotics taken in Azerbaijan on April 4th, 1996 is of fundamental importance. It is in line with the norms of international law. No less significant is the President's decree on measures to battle drug addiction and the illegal sale of drugs. Also important is the establishment of a government commission to act against drug addiction and the illegal trafficking of drugs. Among its members are Cabinet Ministers, leading government officials and heads of law-enforcement agencies. On August 27, 1996, a seminar on measures to prevent drug addiction was held in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. It was attended by the Assistant to the UN Secretary General and the Executive Director of the UN Drug Control Program (UNDCP) Mr.Georgio Giacomelli. From February 17 to 21, 1997, the 32nd session of the sub-commission dealing with drug trafficking in the Near and Middle East and other drug-related issues was held in Baku. This meeting was organized by UNDCP. The government of Azerbaijan and the Azerbaijani anti-drug commission were also active at that meeting. The present-day attitude in Azerbaijan towards the proliferation of drugs on its territory can be seen in such actions as the decision to make the anti-narcotic campaign a state policy. The importance attached to this issue in Azerbaijan, in spite of its serious economic and financial difficulties, is also revealed in the country's drug prevention and eradication measures. Further evidence is in the stand taken by the Republic's leadership to prevent any manifestations of drug use and the Republic's policy demanding that all government and law enforcement agencies be accountable for the results of their clamp down on drugs.

Azerbaijan has every reason to say that it is in a position to check the spread of narcotics and stop attempts to draw the Republic into the drug trafficking. The barrier to this will be set by the country's political stability achieved through the self-sacrificing efforts of the nation and its President, through government control of the steps to wipe out organized crime, the country's centuries old outlook, its ancient history, national traditions and customs, and the rich cultural heritage of its people.

In his opening speech at the 32nd session of the UNDCP sub-commission in Baku, President Aliev stressed that his country supported a quick solution of world problems and that it would continue marching in the first ranks of the movement against drug addiction and the drugs trade, that posed a grave danger to the world community.

A lot of people today are drawn into the process of illegal drug trafficking: from those engaged in cultivating drugs or producing medical preparations containing drugs, to drug salesmen and dealers engaged in money-laundering. At times these people form groups which are termed organized criminal groups or associations by the criminal code. On the one hand, these groups take control of drug-related crimes and draw people who commit such crimes on their own. And on the other hand, they establish firm organizational ties among themselves forming drug cartels in order to monopolize drug trafficking in the vast regions of the world. This shows that there is a continuous blending process between narcotics and organized crime. These and other factors reviewed in this book characterize the highest degree of danger that narcotics represent. They prove the pressing need to increase worldwide action against narcotics. This action calls for the use of all possible means: political, legal, economic, and medical among others.

The antidrug campaign is a big drain on the material resources of the country. It involves large spending on various programs such as preventive Medicare, law-enforcement, legal and economic measures, and other. If this spending is to be rational and effective, a range of measures should be outlined with the utmost precision and professionally implemented.

All this calls for a comprehensive analysis of the existing situation and of the possible opposition by drug dealers. As the owners of enormous wealth, which sometimes exceeds the budgets of some countries, drug dealers are able to influence government policies, especially in small countries. This influence is ensured mainly by bribing top government officials in the legislative or the executive branches. As a result, criminals get a chance to interfere in law-making from the outset. The bribery of the law enforcement officers and of the officers of the court, among others, makes it possible to cover up drug deals, prevent exposed members of the criminal associations involved in these deals from prosecution or substantially curtail their prison terms.

Unlike the United States and other wealthy countries, smaller nations are in no position to allocate sufficient sums from their budgets to carry out effective antidrug projects. Research-based guidance may to a certain extent make up for the lack of necessary funding. And here government-supported antidrug programs may play an essential role.

The study of drug abuse has always been prominent in the study of law. Many booklets, articles, serious text-books, and monographs are devoted to narcotics. It is as hard to cover all aspects of the problem, even in the most profound study, as it is to establish absolute truth, especially, since reality keeps creating new problems all the time.

This book is the product of research over many years. The generalizations, conclusions, proposals and tenets offered here are based on the practical accomplishments of campaigns against narcotics put into practice, chiefly, by law enforcement and law-making agencies both at the domestic and international scene. The prevention and eradication of narcotics in Azerbaijan largely depends on their comprehensive solutions.

The key solution lies in the need to pool international efforts in eradicating drug addiction and narco-business. In the present-day world with its integration processes it is impossible to do away with drug addiction in any one country. Yet there is no way for the world community to regard itself free from the problem even at a time when drugs will be a peril only in one particular country. An intensive and continuous buildup of the world community's joint effort against narcotics is a top priority objective of the world at large.

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