UNDP > Speeches & Statements > in Belarus
Statement by Ms. Cihan Sultanoglu, UN Resident Coordinator in Belarus, at INCB Report 2006 presentation, 1 March 2007
1 March 2007
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me a great pleasure to present you today two important reports - Annual Report of the International Narcotics Control Board for 2006 and the Drug Abuse and Illegal Drug Trafficking Report which was prepared and published with support from the Programme of Assistance for the Prevention of Drug Abuse and Drug Trafficking in Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova (BUMAD).
Mr. Vladimir Maksimchuk, Chief Narcologist of the Ministry of Health of Belarus and one of the authors of the national report and Mr. Oleg Pekarski, Head of the Department of Drug Control and Combating Human Trafficking of the Ministry of Interior will elaborate more thoroughly on the National Report. I would like to tell you a little bit bout the Report prepared by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), the independent monitoring body for the implementation of the UN international drug control conventions.
This year, the increasing trend of counterfeit medicines and the danger posed by unregulated markets is the focus of the Annual Report of the Vienna-based International Narcotics Control Board. The Report also reviews worldwide illicit drug production, trafficking and abuse trends. Other highlights include the widespread misuse of prescription and weight loss drugs.
In its Annual Report, INCB warns that the flood of counterfeit medicines now available in many countries can have fatal consequences for consumers. The Board calls on Member States to enforce legislation to ensure that narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances are not illegally manufactured or diverted from licit manufacture and distribution channels to unregulated markets.
The existence of unregulated markets means that substan¬dard, and sometimes even lethal medication is sold to the unsuspecting consumer. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 25-50 % of medicines consumed in developing countries are believed to be counterfeit.
Speaking about regional aspects of illicit trafficking and abuse trends, the authors of the Report state that cannabis continues to be the most commonly abused drug in Europe. According to European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction estimates, about 6 % of the adult pop¬ulation in the member States of the European Union has tried cannabis once in their lifetime.
Unfortunately, Europe has become the second largest illicit market for cocaine in the world and continues to be one of the main illicit markets in the world for stimulants. The illicit manufacture of methamphetamine appears to be taking place on a small scale but is growing.
Heroin abuse has remained largely stable and even declined in Western and Central Europe, while the level of abuse of opiates has increased in Eastern Europe, and particularly in the Commonwealth of Independent States.
According to government reports, in 2006, the market for illicit drugs in Belarus experienced a major shift, from heroin to synthetic drugs. The availability of methadone and amphetamine-type stimulants on the local markets has gradually increased. Methadone has gradually replaced heroin as the most commonly abused substance.
At the same time, the Board notes with satisfaction that the Government continues to be committed to fighting drug trafficking and abuse and gives high priority to improving in a timely manner the legislative bases and updating its drug control policy, as reflected in the adoption of a new national drug control programme in 2006, and the initiatives of Belarus to improve regional cooperation.
The Board notes with appreciation that Belarus has built up a strong law enforcement system and attaches great importance to efforts to resolve the problem of increasing trafficking in synthetic drugs and precursors. A number of well-coordinated law enforcement activities have taken place in Belarus, resulting in the detection of some illicit laboratories with substantial capacity for manufacturing methadone and amphetamine-type stimulants.
The Board encourages the Government to continue its efforts in that area, with a view to addressing the increasing activities of organized criminal groups, especially those activities related to drug trafficking. The Government should further strengthen customs and border guard services in order to increase their capabilities to prevent the smuggling of illicit drugs into Belarus, in particular through the Russian Federation, with which Belarus shares an unguarded border, and through other neighboring counties.
Let me remind you that in February the third phase of the BUMAD Programme was launched in Belarus, which builds on the previous work under the stages of the Programme. BUMAD-3 will help to strengthen national capacities on counteracting illicit drug smuggling through the state border and inside the country, and will add to comprehensive prevention of drug addiction among children and young people, with mass media involved. We hope that working together with governmental organizations, NGOs, educational entities and mass media, we will manage to rein in the drug problem.
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