September 16, 2019
 In Opioid Crisis

Country: Albania
Delegate Name: William Moore

Opioids are potent painkillers derived from opium. They include tramadol, morphine, and codeine, of which are commonly prescribed for trauma injuries, and pain relief for diseases like cancer. Furthermore, heroin, an illegal and highly addictive drug, is also derived from opium. In Europe, heroin is the most common opioid killer in Europe, with the number of people being treated for heroin-related problems being around 14,000 in 2019 alone. Of course, this statistic is from before the pandemic, where an increase in the use of painkillers increased virtually everywhere in the world where they were accessible (the number of people who died from opioid overdose in the United States increased by 120% alone), feeding into this crisis.
While Europe’s opioid epidemic is less severe than several other areas of the world, especially compared to the United States, there is no denying its presence. Though most European countries can be satisfied with most European countries’ approaches, being regarded as realistic and balanced, it is still a prominent crisis in need of attentive action. Prominent politician, Thomas Seyler states, “the trend is pretty stable or declining. We are not in a major epidemic phase. But we have to keep in mind the limitations of these indicators.” Differentiating from these moderate statistics, there is a large opioid, and overall drug crisis in Albania. According to the World Drug Report 2022 from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Albania is the seventh leading cultivator of cannabis in the world, after Morocco, Afghanistan, Spain, Netherlands, Pakistan, and Lebanon.
Albania came first in the Southeast European region, suggesting we have a significant cannabis cultivation trade, either meaning that it is exported or used internally. After Albania came Turkey, Romania, and Bulgaria. In addition with this, there is an active transshipment point for Albanian narco trafficking organizations moving other illicit drugs, such as cocaine and heroin from countries, such as Turkey and several other South American and Asian countries. Last month, a report by the European Centre for Drug Monitoring found that since 2017, Albanian criminal groups have expanded but also become more sophisticated, working with imports and the distribution of cocaine from Latin America into Europe. “For years, international cocaine importers worked separately from wholesalers and gangs distributing drugs on the streets. However, an Albanian-speaking criminal network abandoned this model and established control over imports and distribution,” the report read. The Albanian government has long claimed it is winning the war against drug cultivation in the country, but concerns remain that this is not the case. Furthermore, there are increasing reports of Albanian drug traffickers exporting their production to other European countries. For example, setting up grow houses in residential properties in the UK, Germany, Austria, and others. Albania is also mentioned in the so-called Balkan route for heroin, which starts from Pakistan, passes through Syria, Turkey, Greece, Albania, and ends in Western European countries. Albania has pledged their efforts to work with the UN to work to improve these prominent issues not only in Albania and Europe, but also with worldwide allies.