September 16, 2019
 In Articles


Special Political and Decolonization Committee


International Drug Trade




Praneet Gundepudi


            While the issue of illicit drug trade may be an international issue, the specificity of a state’s individual situation makes it such that the issue must be handled at a state-specific level. Drug trade and drug usage follow a common philosophy that extends across all cultures; legality and scarcity change the appeal of usage and facilitation. While participation in the three major conventions concerning drugs — the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and the Convention on Psychotropic Substances — is imperative in the controlling aspect of the illicit drug trade, control is only half of the battle. The only way to eradicate an issue is to attack it from the source, and that is determining the reasoning behind the ever-increasing influx and seizure of drugs, especially heroin. While prior conventions have set the precedent of the role of the International Criminal Police Organization to identify and control drug traffickers (Resolution III of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs), and financial provisions have been made for nations, and the success of the resolutions and policies have been proven, none of the prior conferences have addressed the demand-driven nature of the international drug trade market, and in order to capitalize on the success of prior conferences, successive ones must address the situational uniqueness of each nation as well as how to control the demand-driven market.


            Portugal, among other states, has had the severe domestic struggle of controlling rampant drug usage, trafficking, and addiction in the post-WWII time period. Portugal decided to take the health-related approach by attempting to solve the health issues related to drug usage rather than the usage, itself, and thus established the 2001 decriminalization law. By decriminalizing drugs and replacing incarcerating punishment with mandatory health facility participation, Portugal, as a nation, dropped from one of the worst drug epidemics in the world to having a drug-induced death rate that is five times lower than the European Union average. Inadvertently, though, the drug usage and facilitation in Portugal dropped as well. This is due to the adverse effect decriminalization of drugs had on usage rates. Even though it produced no immediate results, in the long run, the demand for opiates decreased which decreased the volume of the drug trade. Additionally, much of drug usage and trade involves relapses, and by combatting that with education and health counseling, the popularity of the drug trade decreases as well. Portugal is also a member and signatory of all three of the aforementioned resolutions derived from the conventions, and the participation of all nations within those is imperative to combat the drug trade in accordance with demand-attacking policies.


            Portugal urges all states to accept the policies set forth by the resolutions made at the three aforementioned states as it sets precedents for the action of the International Criminal Police Organization to identify and pursue drug traffickers. Additionally, it must be recognized that all nations may be dealing with unique situations, and given that, nations must submit long term plans to an oversight committee for ratification that deals with the reduction of their drug production or importation depending on whether they are an import or export constituent. Portugal also strongly suggests incentives for all nations to decriminalize their highly abused drugs as Portugal’s domestic success is indicative of the beneficial properties decriminalization has. By decriminalizing drugs and decreasing the demand for drugs, the industry decreases in popularity at the domestic level, but also, and more importantly, at the international level.

  • Praneet Gundepudi