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Break the link between illicit drugs and social media: UN-backed report |


In its annual report, published on Thursday, INCB notes growing evidence of a link between exposure to social media and drug use, disproportionately affecting people’s lives. young people, major users of social media platforms and an age group with relatively high rates of drug use. abuse.

The report also calls for the private sector to moderate and self-regulate their platforms and to limit advertising and promotion of non-medical drug use.

As well as social media platforms, criminals are exploiting a variety of other digital tools, such as digital currencies, mobile payments and e-wallet services, to make international money transfers easy. easier and faster, while allowing them to hide the source of the illicit funds and maximize profits.


Substance use among adolescents is a serious problem worldwide.

© UNICEF / Giacomo Pirozzi

Substance use among adolescents is a serious problem worldwide.

Societies destroyed by drug trafficking

The INCB report warns that organized crime rings continue to rake in millions of dollars from drug trafficking, with negative consequences for society and economic development, from corruption and bribery exposure, to increased organized crime, violence, poverty and inequality.

To combat the negative effects and human costs of trafficking, the organization recommends that governments address all stages of drug trafficking – from production and cultivation, to sale and concealment of profits. illicit profits – and sharing intelligence on organized crime at the international level.

“INCB considers illicit financial flows worthy of special attention and monitoring because drug trafficking is a highly lucrative industry for organized crime groups,” said INCB President Jagjit Pavadia. INCB president, Jagjit Pavadia said. “These groups rely on illicit financial flows to expand and sustain their criminal activities.”


In Cambodia, cannabis is often laced with heroin and consumed by addicts.  (file 2014)

© UNICEF / John Vink

In Cambodia, cannabis is often laced with heroin and consumed by addicts. (file 2014)

Developing countries are the hardest hit

These flows divert resources away from initiatives to reduce poverty and promote economic and social development, which are having a disproportionate impact on developing countries, where the need is greatest. capital to promote economic growth and reduce inequality.

In African countries, for example, the costs of organized crime are particularly high: an estimated $88.6 billion, which is about 3.7% of the continent’s gross domestic product – and close to the total inflows. official development assistance capital and foreign direct investment annually. – lost to illicit financial flows every year.

This leads to a drain on public resources and undermines efforts to raise capital for development.
Legalized cannabis wholesale ‘against drug conventions’

The anonymization and dependence of cannabis in many countries is considered by the INCB to be cause for concern, with Ms. Pavadia stressing that “the legalization of the non-medical use of cannabis is contrary to conventions on the control of cannabis.” drug control”.

In its report, the Narcotics Commission stressed the need for a common understanding of the concepts of legalization, differentiation and dependence in accordance with drug control conventions, and emphasized the importance of importance of a balanced and proportionate response to drug-related offenses as a guide of principle in criminal justice matters, respecting human rights and the public welfare.


An 18-year-old girl sleeps next to her newborn baby at a women's addiction shelter in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

© UNICEF / Shehzad Noorani

An 18-year-old girl sleeps next to her newborn baby at a women’s addiction shelter in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

‘Significant shortcomings’

Criminals continue to have easy access on the legal market to the precursors and chemicals needed to produce illegal drugs.

INCB calls for improved controls and regulations governing the sale of precursors, citing a survey it conducted in 2021, which revealed significant shortcomings in controlling production. , trading and distributing chemicals in the country.



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