Narcotics Control Board Warns against 'Permissive' View of Drugs

UN Chronicle, March 1984 | Go to article overview

Narcotics Control Board Warns against 'Permissive' View of Drugs


With drug abuse having reached unprecedented dimensions, especially among the young, the Board stated: "There are disquieting signs that in the face of the magnitude of the problem, determination may sometimes be giving way to permissiveness. Circles in certain countries apparently assume that to permit unrestricted use of some drugs, regarded by them as less harmful, would permit better control of other drugs which they deem more perilous to health. To adopt such an attitude would be retrogressive".

The Board's report (document E/INCB/1983/1, Sales No. E.83.XI.6), presented to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs at its February session in Vienna, reminds Governments that "non-medical consumption of cannabis is illegal under the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and that no Party to the Convention can authorize such use without being in violation of the Convention".

The Board also expressed the concern that:

"The magnitude of the damage caused by drug abuse to individuals and their families on the one hand and to countries' social fabrics on the other is such as to necessitate sustained and determined counteraction. Addiction strikes at random, but when it reaches young people it affects countries' futures. Illicit drug use and trafficking not only adversely affect economic development in many countries, but also contribute to the spreading of crime, violence and corruption. It is particularly sad that in many regions where narcotic plants are illicitly grown, there are recurrent food shortages which could have been alleviated, if plants for human nutrition had been cultivated instead of plants for human destruction".

The Board emphasized that any viable approach to correcting this situation "needs necessarily to emphasize the establishment of alternative income possibilities for farmers and the eradication of illicit narcotic crops as alternative crops are marketed".

The fact that the illicit growth of narcotic plants has not decreased overall is another reason for concern. There have been decreases in some areas but any reduction in one region in a given year has been more than offset by increases elsewhere. …

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