Topic: Opioid Crisis
Delegate Name: Alexandra DaSilva
Guatemala believes that the opioid crisis is a particularly serious public health crisis that must be dealt with. The number of drug overdose deaths has increased by almost 30% from 2019 to 2020, with 75% of overdose deaths involving an opioid. A significant amount of opioid-related deaths involve the use of illicit opioids. Illicit opioids include heroin and illegally produced fentanyl, the use of which is increasing. The distribution and use of these illicit drugs is a primarily international problem, as there is an ever-increasing rise in addictions. Often, the spread of opioid addictions is caused by not-properly prescribing of opioids and the incorrect storage and disposal of these opioids.
Guatemala recognizes that it is an active producer of illicit drugs, but has one of the lowest opioid consumption in Latin America, along with Honduras and Bolivia. However, 8% of the GDP in Guatemala is related to drug trafficking, and simply removing drug trafficking from its economy would further weaken an already unstable economy.
Collaborative efforts between nations and jurisdictions are crucial to minimizing the spread of opioids, their misuse, and the distribution of illicit drugs. Guatemala encourages efforts for law enforcement to target large-scale opioid distribution. However, other structures and jobs should be created and used to replace the gap in the economy Guatemala and many other countries would face from the depreciation of drug trafficking. Guatemala also calls for reducing exposure to prescription opioids and refining clinical practice guidelines. This is to ensure patients are able to have access to safer pain treatment when the risks of opioids outweigh the benefits. Prevention is critical in order to prevent increases in the distribution of illicit opioid drugs. Expanding access to safer and more effective pain medication minimizes the distribution and demand of opioids, therefore preventing the spread of illicit drugs.