International Drug Trade
For many decades, the world has been locked in the war against drugs. The fact of the matter is, illegal drugs still exist in resilient transnational networks of smuggling, which are even now beginning to make use of the dark web and other darknet markets. In the 2000s, Afghanistan changed the global scene of international drug trade when their nation emerged as the unchallenged number one producer of opiates, placing a staggering 90%+ of opiate production in the golden crescent region then and afterwards according to US estimates from 2014. The issue of international drug trade is a complicated one, drug laws vary from nation to nation, and so do too their respective abilities to combat the issue. What is important to the delegation of Japan is that, while facing this issue, free trade must be upheld, and nations must be willing to cooperate.
The delegation of Japan also feels the need to point out the sources of these drugs, which are most notably the golden crescent of Afghanistan, the golden triangle of Southeast Asia, and South America. Japan understands the motivation that other countries have to attack this issue at its source. For example, the “UNODC One Concerted Approach for Europe, West and Central Asia”, a group of programs which have placed significant focus on targeting production and transit through these regions, as opposed to dealing with it in the receiving nations. Nonetheless, the delegation of Japan sees however that this issue is one which needs to be solved at the receiving ends rather than the source regions.
The delegation of Japan finds the most intelligent approach is to first rid the receiving nations concentrated in Europe and North America of their demand for illegal substances, opiates and cocaine most notably. The best way to go about this would be to improve drug and health education from a young age, as well as bolstering the strength of law enforcement, especially in the realm of drug control. Limiting prescription opioids could be beneficial as well. Finally, better rehabilitation for former drug users would be in order. Japan also believes in border security as an important aspect of stifling this trade. Improved border security in transit nations such as those in central and western Asia, as well as Central America would be best. Japan believes in concentrating the effort to undermine the international drug trade in key areas of its function as opposed to burning through resources and time with solutions that are simply too broad. Japan also wishes to maintain strong free trade, and believes that increased paranoia about what enters countries, especially those which are close trading partners of Japan, may potentially weaken Japan’s recent bout of economic prosperity. The delegation of Japan would also suggest less diversion of effort towards source nations for these substances as opposed to those on the receiving end of the drug trade. Driving causes beyond the scope of the standalone issue of drug trade, such as poverty and corruption, fuel the production of these substances far more than anticipated. For example, in Afghanistan, opium is produced because it is profitable, cheaper to grow than wheat, often serves as some of the only means by which poor farmers can make a reasonable living according to Afghan drug trade researcher and expert, William Byrd. If these farmers were to face a crackdown by their government, there exists due fear that they would lean in favor of the Taliban, a group known for rivaling the Afghan government and one which already controls significant opium producing territory. If foreign demand decreased for opium, farmers would gradually return to producing more historically characteristic crops such as wheat. It is also likely that if heroin and cocaine production in specific regions of the world were shut down, they would begin in new regions as long as a demand from receiving countries continued to exist.
Ultimately, the international drug trade is a plague to the modern developed world, but most importantly is an issue equally from the modern developed world as it is from those less developed countries that produce opium and cocaine. Producing countries such as Afghanistan have a much lower degree of control over the disconnected rural population, and as result, due to a combination of poverty, corruption, groups like the Taliban, and large-scale organized crime, are helpless to this virus. Developed countries on the other hand such as those of western Europe and North America are not helpless and must be willing to focus on specific solutions rather than vague, unconcentrated ones which lessen any lasting impact that could result. Developed countries must resolve the demand for drugs in the ways suggested and focus more on starving drug production from the receiving end. When developed nations say they will stop opium or cocaine production at their sources, they are attempting to cure the symptoms of instability in these producing nations, rather than the disease of instability itself.
- Ian Brown