UN Drug Watchdog Speaks Out on Meth Problem
> 3/1/2006 10:39:54 AM

The US is facing a meth epidemic, but now reports from the United Nations' International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) is calling methamphetamine a "pandemic." While the drug's use has seen catastrophic increases in North America and South-East Asia, the INCB says that the illicit manufacture of the drug has now spread to previously unaffected areas such as Africa, Eastern Europe and Oceania.  This new trend has been primarily fueled by the relative ease of diverting legal ephedrine and psuedoephedrine shipments to these areas.

While bulk purchases of both substances have been restricted in international trade, a loophole allows for "pharmaceutical preparations containing those substances" to continue to slip through.  With these products in hand, the manufacture of methamphetamine becomes a possibility for even an amateur chemist.  The solution, the INCB says, is for each country to report its requirements of ephedrine and psuedoephedrine, therefore preventing illicit imports of bulk product.

The meth situation in the US has been growing for some time.  While states have taken steps to prevent the manufacture of the drug by limiting the sale of pharmaceutical products that contain the necessary ephedrine or psuedoephedrine, there has not been significant energy expended on cutting off the head of the snake.  (Montana has been the one pleasant surprise, with prevention efforts coming from the private sectors.)  Demand for the drug remains high, and as long as that is the case dealers will find a way to get the drugs into the US and into the hands of users.  The INCB is one more on a long list of national and international agencies that recognize the danger that meth presents.  Their call for reforms will hopefully create greater awareness in the international community which in turn can fuel greater cooperation toward fighting this problem.

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