The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), an independent UN-backed agency, is calling on governments to do more to regulate social media platforms that glorify drug-related negative behavior and encourage the sale of controlled substances.
In its annual report, released on Thursday, the INCB indicates that there is a link between exposure to social media and drug use. A disproportionate number of young people, the main users of social media, are involved in substance abuse.
The report also calls on the private sector to moderate, self-regulate, and promote the promotion of non-medical uses of their platforms. drugs to limit. In addition to social media platforms, criminals also use many other digital tools, such as digital currencies, mobile payments and e-wallet services, which make the international transfer of money easier and faster and allow them to maximize the origin of illicit funds and profits.
Societies undermined by drug trafficking
Organized crime gangs continue to rake in millions of dollars from drug trafficking, the INCB report warns. This has negative consequences for societies and economic development, ranging from corruption and bribery to increased organized crime, violence, poverty and inequality.
To counter the negative effects of the trade, the organization recommends that governments tackle all stages of drug trafficking — from production and cultivation to sale and concealment of illicit profits — and share information about organized crime internationally.
Follow the money
“The INCB believes that tracking illicit financial flows deserves special attention and scrutiny, as drug trafficking is a very lucrative industry for organized crime groups,” INCB chairman Jagjit Pavadia said. “These groups depend on illicit financial flows to expand and sustain their criminal activities.”
Developing countries are hit hardest. Many financial flows go through initiatives to reduce poverty and promote social and economic development. This has a disproportionate effect on developing countries, where there is the greatest need for funds to promote economic growth and reduce inequality.
In African countries, for example, the cost of organized crime is particularly high: an estimated $88,6 billion, about 3,7 percent of the continent's gross domestic product — and nearly the same amount as the combined annual influx of official development assistance. and foreign direct investment – is lost every year to illicit financial flows. This drains public resources and undermines efforts to mobilize resources for development.
Legalization of cannabis in violation of drug conventions
The decriminalization and decriminalization of cannabis in many countries is identified by the INCB as a cause for concern. In the report, the Narcotics Board emphasizes the need for a collective understanding of the concepts of legalization, decriminalization and decriminalization in accordance with drug control conventions. Only in this way can there be a balanced and proportionate response to drug-related crimes in criminal cases with respect for human rights and the common good.
Easy access to precursors
Criminals still have easy access on the legal market to precursors, the chemicals needed to make illegal drugs. The INCB is pushing for improved controls and regulations on the sale of precursors, citing an investigation the organization conducted in 2021 that revealed significant deficiencies in controls over the domestic production, trade and distribution of the chemicals.
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