September 16, 2019
 In Opioid Crisis

Country: Ecuador
Delegate Name: Sierra Turner

Half of a million people died because of drug overdose in 2019, mostly due to opioids. As opioids were legally prescribed in pain treatment for chronic pain, use of opioids has only increased since 2019. Since these drugs are so highly addictive, there are many who overuse and misuse opioids. When heroin is regularly used, people develop a tolerance, because of this tolerance, they tend to want more frequent and/or higher doses of the drug. When there is continued use of the drug, people develop a substance use disorder (SUD), which can cause many issues, such as being unable to function properly in various different environments, and health problems. An SUD can be severe or mild, the most severe being addiction, which can lead to overdose and death.

The production of all plants that can be used to produce drugs is illegal in Ecuador. In 2013, the Ecuadorian military destroyed 62,000 lilac poppies that have been known to serve as the primary material for heroin and opium. The legal possession limit in Ecuador is 4 g for opium and 100 mg for heroin, although many source their drugs through illegal methods. To prevent people from using illegal trafficking, Ecuador has taken control of strategic points, such as the Guayaquil Port to investigate containers that could carry drugs. In 2021, Ecuador had confiscated 210 tons, dealing a harsh blow to narcotrafficking. This has resulted in a population largely free from opioid addiction.

To combat the opioid crisis, Ecuador would like to focus more of its anti-narcotics police towards finding and destroying lilac poppy plantations across the country, as well as taking control of various more ports. Ecuador will choose to be more strict with licenses on who can prescribe opium to patients. Ecuador will insist on lowering the legal possession limit of opium and heroin in its country, in hopes that less substance made legal to have, will make it harder for people to develop a tolerance and in turn, will stop people from wanting higher and/or more frequent doses of the drug. Ecuador hopes to work closely with Columbia and Peru to further resolve this issue.