Drug crime syndicates challenge State authorities
Drug-related crime has taken on new dimensions with trafficking syndicates now holding enough financial power to challenge State authorities in some South American countries. This was revealed in the 1987 annual report of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), released in January in Vienna. The ever-increasing world-wide drug menace also entails the added risk of the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). In some parts of the United States and Europe every second AIDS patient has contracted the disease due to intravenous abuse. Some Governments have introduced or are considering methadone maintenance programmes to provide a substitute for herone. "In giving the fight against AIDS priority over the fight against drug abuse, some Governments are allowing the distribution of free needles to addicts", the report states. Such prophylactic measures, however, should be in line with interational drug control efforts and should not promote or facilitate drug abuse.
On a positive note, the Board states that almost all attempts to divert legally-produced psychotropic substances into illegal channels have been prevented lately, because of closer co-operation between exporting countries and relevant international institutions.
These successes have been possible primarily because most countries now export psychotropic substances only if import requests are accompanied by assessments of medical requirements.
Reviewing the world-wide situation, the Board says that illegal production and trafficking of drugs have reached alarming proportions and "are financed and masterminded by criminal organizations with international links and with accomplices in financial circles".
In some areas of South and Central America, alliances between traffickers and guerrillas present "a formidable threat to regional security", says the Board. Several campaigns to reduce cultivation and trafficking of coca leaf in Bolivia and other Andean countries...