Narcotics have gripped various communities since centuries ago. It can be said that the issue of narcotics and their usage in different countries has historical roots. This series of programs will briefly touch upon the history of this destructive phenomenon and how it spread all over the world. Stay tuned for the 1st part.
According to existing documents, human beings have known narcotics since 4000 BC. Opium was first produced from poppy gum. The name opium is derived from Greek word “opos” meaning juice which was taken from the Sanskrit word “ahipena”. Narcotics were first used as medicine but they gradually got their recreational usage. As time passed, various types of narcotics lost their medical usage and little by little became a global calamity. These illicit drugs have encompassed all countries and are being used by almost every age group and social class. This worldwide prevalence has caused states and international bodies to focus their attention on narcotics and how to curtail its trafficking and abuse. The United Nations Program of Action has described narcotics as “ominous disaster” and called for serious struggle of the countries against it. The global establishments have been pursuing their activities more seriously to save the world people from the products of opium poppy but the smuggling of illicit drugs has been on the rise. Today, illicit drugs are the most lucrative illegal trade; hence, it is essential to launch a global attempt to eradicate it.
A brief review shows that the highest mortality rate resulting from the consumption of narcotics takes place in North America. Statistics say that out of 1 million, 164 die due to the abuse of illicit drugs. Oceania and Africa stand in the next ranks after North America in consumption of narcotics. Up until a few decades ago, the recognized narcotics were limited to heroine, hashish, opium and opium residue. Then, cocaine was added to the list as a narcotic derivative of cocoa. The consumption of each of these substances causes a scope of effects ranging from painkilling to creation of artificial joy and psychological hallucination. The latter two types are caused by consumption of substances like marijuana and ecstasy.
Nowadays, human beings are more concerned due to the increase of narcotics consumption as there are more industrial types of illicit drugs available to various age groups at much more cheap prices. Drug traffickers always try to spread addiction among communities and, through manipulation on raw materials of narcotics like crack cocaine in secret labs, to create handier and easily consumable substances to allure target groups towards more consumption. Dr. Parviz Afshar, spokesman of Iran Drug Control Headquarters, warned on a new substance called, “handkerchief” which is a cloth plunged in a strong narcotic. This substance is 20-80 times stronger than cannabis and that’s why it is more hallucinatory and leads the consumer to death very soon. This official said that the effect of handkerchief is like marijuana but much stronger. Dr. Afshar added that NPS (New Psychoactive Substances) will probably be presented in the form of perfumes or inhalants at parties and gatherings. The consumption of this substance will affect the brain of the consumer after a while; but in comparison with classic substances, it can lead him to loss of skills and even death.
Narcotics, as a destructive calamity, have gripped human community. The spread of illicit drugs to non-western communities has its especial causes which stem from social and economic woes. It can be said that narcotics threaten the physical, hygienic, psychological, social and cultural life of societies. Although it is said that the consumption of classical narcotics has decreased in some regions of the world, the abuse of new psychotropic and industrial substances has been on the rise. The United Nations, in its reports, has expressed concern over the situation of narcotics in the world and called for broadening of global cooperation to conclude conventions on struggle against drug abuse.
According to the recent statistics, there are 240-300 million addicts throughout the world. The UN 2015 report on the state of illicit drugs shows that the number of addicts has increased to 247 million compared with 2011 which was 240 million. 29 million of these addicts are in critical condition. Thomas Pitches, specialist at United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), said that the UN 2015 report had put its prime focus on treatment of consumers but it was known that only 6 million of the consumers in the world receive the medicament they need.
Former Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, Jan Eliasson, believed that the threats related to narcotics have global dimensions. He added that the drug trafficking has fomented insecurity and instability in many regions of the world.
As per reliable reports, many terrorist groups in the world have garnered their financial needs through illegal economic transactions such as drug trafficking.
The expansion of production and smuggling of narcotics has caused deep concern in the world. Designation of June 29 as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, is a serious reminder of the importance and momentum given to the phenomenon. Drug abuse is the destroyer of communities. The reason for the increase of concern over this ominous phenomenon is the fact that the issue of narcotics has become a very complex issue. It has already targeted various strata and age groups of every society especially the youths.