School: Williamston High School
Topic: International Drug Trade
Delegate: Molly Bowling
Drug production, trafficking and consumption affects every country in the world. Despite forty years of US-led international drug control efforts that prioritize eradication of production, interdiction of traffic, and criminalization of consumption, overall drug production, trafficking and consumption have remained consistently steady. Even in cases where eradication programs have lowered levels of production in one country, production is simply pushed into another country – this phenomenon is known as the “balloon effect”. This was the case in the 1980s and 1990s with coca production in Peru, Colombia and Bolivia and with opium production in Burma and Afghanistan. The resilience of the global drug market has led to drug trafficking becoming the world’s primary revenue source for organized crime and the illicit drug industry now accounts for an estimated $320 billion dollars annually. The United States and the United Nations, both of which have a great deal of influence on international drug laws, maintain a criminal justice rather than health-oriented approach. They also continue to promote ineffective eradication and interdiction policies in countries where drugs are produced. This sets the overall tone for global drug policy, so that the international community is locked into a model that promotes lucrative illicit markets dominated by organized crime.
The supply and abuse of drugs effects every country all over the world in one way or another. Drug use in Europe has been expanding over the past three decades, but Sweden is a notable exception. Drug use levels among students are lower than in the early 1970s. The key to the Swedish success is that the Government has taken the drug problem seriously and has pursued policies adequate to address it. Both demand reduction and supply reduction policies play an important role in Sweden. In addition, the Government monitors the drug situation, examines the policy from time to time and makes adjustments where they are needed. Sweden is not located along major drug trafficking routes, and unemployment, including youth unemployment, is below the European average which reduces the risks of substance abuse. It is belived that the generally positive situation of Sweden is a result of the policy that has been applied to address the problem.
Sweden has a zero tolerance policy for drugs and they encourage other countries to implement the same ideals. This has worked very well for Sweden in the past and it is still continuing to work today. We rely heavily on law enforcement, prevention, and abstinence-based treatment. This policy model emerged in the 1960s, following the rise in drug use that was observed across much of the developed world at that time. This has proven to drop the drug rate in our country and we believe it will work in others. We also want to implement help centers for those in need. This will allow those addicted to know that they have options to get clean and find help.