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Global Illicit Drug Trends 2001 - A Report By The United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (UN-ODCCP)

A Review By Terence T. Gorski
GORSKI-CENAPS Web Publications
Published On: July 10, 2001          Updated On: August 07, 2001
© Terence T. Gorski, 2001

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Global Illicit Drug Trends 2001
A Report By 
The United Nations Office for 
Drug Control and Crime Prevention 

Read A Critical Review Of The UN-ODCCP

The United Nations published a new report entitled Global Illicit Drug Trends 2001 - A Report By The United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (UN-ODCCP).  This report is the result of recommendations made by a UN General Assembly Resolution in 1998 (General Assembly Resolution S-20/2 and S-20/3) calling for significant progress toward the control of supply and demand for illicit drugs by the year 2008.  It was noted that this objective could only be achieved by means of the "balanced approach," which means giving demand reduction as a much attention as supply reduction.

The main limitation of this report stem from the lack of reliable and systematic data to assess the drug problem and to monitor progress.  This data is difficult to obtain because current world policy makes drug production, distribution, possession, and use a serious crime.  This means accurate information is not available.  This report is based upon The Annual Report Questionnaire sent by governments to the UNDCP by governments in 2000.  The questionnaire results have two main limitations:  

1.    It's not systematic enough both in terms of the content and the number of countries responding; and 

2.    Most countries lack adequate monitoring systems required to produce reliable, comprehensive, and internationally comparable data.

In spite of these limitations, this report represents the best available information on the progress of international efforts to control both the supply of and demand for illicit drugs.

Understanding Clandestine Synthetic Drugs

Introduced as licit drugs at the end of the 19th century, synthetic drugs as a clandestine phenomena, related mainly to the so called "designer drugs," only became an issue of global concern over the start in the early 1990's.  In many ways the production of designer drugs was motivated by increased international efforts to control the flood of illicit plant-based drugs such as cocaine or heroine.  As the enforcement effort to control the plant-based drugs increased in the presence of a steady to growing demand for mind-altering drugs, drug traffickers investing in creating, producing and distributing drugs that would meet the demand while being technically outside of the range of drug control efforts and thus easier to produce and distribute without interference from international drug warriors.

The Demand Side:

Clandestine synthetic drugs  are spreading rapidly as part of mass youth culture.  They are attractive to consumers for three reasons:

1.   They are profiled by drug distributors with a modern and contemporary image and are presented as being benign or harmless.

2.   As with other drugs of abuse, they produce a highly desirable immediate mind-altering effect.   The most popular synthetic drugs drugs are psychotropic stimulants that are designed to enhance performance (or at least provide a stimulating and energizing effect that creates the illusion of enhanced performance) and facilitate interpersonal relationships by creating altered states of mood, emotion, and consciousness that improve  their communication and intensify feelings of intimacy and close interpersonal connectedness.

3.   International demand reduction efforts have been based in large part upon a denial of the pleasant and apparently beneficial effects of these drugs and an exaggeration of the addiction potential and harmful effects associated with their use.  This has diminished the credibility of prevention efforts.

4.   The threat and reality of harsh punishment imposed upon users keeps people who suffer adverse side affects, over-dose, or become addicted from seeking help.  It also discourages peers who are concerned about the harmful effects these drugs are having on their friends and loved ones from intervening by encouraging them to seek treatment.

The Supply Side:

On the supply side, these drugs are relatively easy to produce locally and to transport and sell.  The starting materials are widely available and have other legitimate uses making it difficult to outlaw them or make them illegal.  The manufacturing process is simple, easy to teach and learn, and requires basic and inexpensive equipment.  The chemical formulas are relatively easy to adapt and change making it possible to both customize the effects to consumer preferences and technically alter the composition to avoid prosecution under current drug laws.  The constantly evolving chemical composition leads to a perpetually changing array of starting materials  and end products that make these substances difficult to control legally.

Supply & Demand Dynamics

This combination of high demand and ready availability make clandestine synthetic drugs a very strong candidate for assuming an increasing share of the world-wide drug markets.  It also makes it difficult to successfully control these substances through traditional supply-control strategies  involving enforcement.  On a practical level, the successful reduction in use will be most effective by focusing more efforts on demand reduction through prevention, early intervention, and treatment methodologies.  This is unlikely because of the size and momentum of the supply reduction infrastructure based upon paramilitary policing and military efforts and the lack of an international infrastructure for prevention, early intervention and treatment.

Main Centers of Illicit Opium Production

<To Be Continued>

Terry Gorski and other member of the GORSKI-CENAPS Team are Available To Train & Consult On Areas Related To Recovery & Relapse Prevention
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About the Author

Terence T. Gorski is internationally recognized for his contributions to Relapse Prevention Therapy. The scope of his work, however, extends far beyond this. A skilled cognitive behavioral therapist with extensive training in experiential therapies, Gorski has broad-based experience and expertise in the chemical dependency, behavioral health, and criminal justice fields.

To make his ideas and methods more available, Gorski opened The CENAPS Corporation, a private training and consultation firm of founded in 1982.  CENAPS is committed to providing the most advanced training and consultation in the chemical dependency and behavioral health fields.

Gorski has also developed skills training workshops and a series of low-cost book, workbooks, pamphlets, audio and videotapes. He also works with a team of trainers and consultants who can assist individuals and programs to utilize his ideas and methods.
Terry Gorski is available for personal and program consultation, lecturing, and clinical skills training workshops. He also routinely schedules workshops, executive briefings, and personal growth experiences for clinicians, program managers, and policymakers.

Mr. Gorski holds a B.A. degree in psychology and sociology from Northeastern Illinois University and an M.A. degree from Webster's College in St. Louis, Missouri.  He is a Senior Certified Addiction Counselor In Illinois.  He is a prolific author who has published numerous books, pamphlets and articles.  Mr. Gorski routinely makes himself available for interviews, public presentations, and consultant.  He has presented lectures and conducted workshops in the U.S., Canada, and Europe.  

For books, audio, and video tapes written and recommended by Terry Gorski contact: Herald House - Independence Press, P.O. Box 390 Independence, MO 64055.  Telephone: 816-521-3015 0r 1-800-767-8181.  His publication website is

Terry Gorski and Other Members of the GORSKI-CENAPS Team Are Available To Train & Consult On Areas Related To Addiction, Recovery, & Relapse Prevention
Gorski - CENAPS, 17900 Dixie Hwy, Homewood, IL 60430, 708-799-5000,,

This article is copyrighted by Terence To Gorski.  Permission is given to reproduce this article if the following conditions are met:  (1) The authorship of the article is properly referenced and the internet address is given;  (2) All references to the following three websites are retained when the article is reproduced -,,,; (3) If the article is published on a website a reciprocal link to the four websites listed under point two is provided on the website publishing the article.

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