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Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia | [hide]This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. | This article lends undue weight to certain ideas, incidents, or controversies. (December 2013) | This article is outdated. (December 2013) | This article needs additional citations for verification. (October 2014) | | |

Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs | Governments of opium-producing Parties are required to "purchase and take physical possession of such crops as soon as possible" after harvest to prevent diversion into the illicit market. | Signed | 30 March 1961 | Location | New York City | Effective | 8 August 1975 [1] | Condition | 40 ratifications | Parties | 185[1] | Depositary | Secretary-General of the United Nations | Languages | Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish | Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs at Wikisource |
The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961 is an international treaty to prohibit production and supply of specific (nominally narcotic) drugs and of drugs with similar effects except under licence for specific purposes, such as medical treatment and research. As noted below, its major effects included updating the Paris Convention of 13 July 1931 to include the vast number of synthetic opioids invented in the intervening thirty years and a mechanism for more easily including new ones. From 1931 to 1961, most of the families of synthetic opioids had been developed, including drugs in whatever way related to methadone, pethidine, morphinans and dextromoramide and related drugs; research on fentanyls and piritramide was also nearing fruition at that point.
Earlier treaties had only controlled opium, coca, and derivatives such as morphine, heroin and cocaine. The Single Convention, adopted in 1961, consolidated those treaties and broadened their scope to include cannabis and drugs whose effects are similar to those of the drugs specified. The Commission on Narcotic Drugs and the World Health Organization were empowered to add, remove, and transfer drugs among the treaty's four schedules of controlled substances. The International Narcotics Control Board was put in charge of administering controls on drug production, international trade, and dispensation. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) was delegated the Board's day-to-day work of monitoring the situation in each country and working with national authorities to ensure compliance with the Single Convention. This treaty has since been supplemented by the Convention on Psychotropic Substances, which controls LSD, MDMA, and other psychoactive pharmaceuticals, and the United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, which strengthens provisions against money laundering and other drug-related offenses.
As of February 2015, the Single Convention has 185 state parties. The Holy See plus all member states of the United Nations are state parties, with the exception of Chad, East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa, South Sudan, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.[citation needed]
* 1 Influence on domestic legislation * 2 History * 3 Medical and other drug uses * 4 Penal provisions * 5 Possession for personal use * 6 Schedules of drugs * 7 Power structure * 8 Limitation of scope * 9 Regulation of cannabis * 9.1 Cultivation * 9.2 Rescheduling proposals * 10 List of controlled narcotic drugs * 10.1 Statistics * 10.2 Schedule I * 10.3 Schedule II * 10.4 Schedule III (light subset of Schedules I and II) * 10.5 Schedule IV (stricter subset of Schedule I) * 10.6 Scheduled elsewhere * 10.7 Opioids not scheduled * 10.8 See also * 11 Related treaties * 11.1 Predecessor treaties * 11.2 Supplementary treaties * 12 See also * 13 References * 14 External links * 15 Notes
Influence on domestic legislation
Since the Single Convention is not self-executing, Parties must pass laws to carry out its provisions, and the UNODC works with countries' legislatures to ensure compliance. As a result, most of the national drug statutes in the UNODC's legal library share a high degree of conformity with the Single Convention and its supplementary treaties, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the 1988 United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.[citation needed]

Russian Minister of Interior Affairs Boris Gryzlov told the State Duma that "total prohibition" of illicit drug use was "not the government's own initiative...but rather the result of our responsibility to implement the UN drug conventions of 1961, 1971, and 1988."
The Single Convention has been used as the basis for the standardization of national drug-control laws. In particular, the United States' Controlled Substances Act of 1970 and the United Kingdom's Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 were designed to fulfill treaty obligations.[citation needed] Both Acts include analogous schemes of drug Scheduling, along with similar procedures for adding, removing, and transferring drugs among the Schedules. The Controlled Substances Act follows the Single Convention's lead in granting a public health authority a central role in drug-scheduling decisions. It also includes a provision mandating that federal authorities control all "drugs of abuse" in accordance with the strictness required by the Single Convention(21 U.S.C. § 811(d)[dead link]).
The League of Nations adopted several drug control treaties prior to World War II, specifying uniform controls on addictive drugs such as cocaine and opium, and its derivatives. However, the lists of substances to be controlled were fixed in the treaties' text; consequently, it is necessary to periodically amend or supersede the conventions through the introduction of new treaties to keep up with advances in chemistry. In a 1954 interview with Harry J. Anslinger, who was the United States Commissioner Of Narcotics at the time, the cumbersome process of conference and state-by-state ratification could last for a period of numerous decades.[2]
A Canadian Senate committee report notes, "The work of consolidating the existing international drug control treaties into one instrument began in 1948, but it was 1961 before an acceptable third draft was ready."[3] That year, the UN Economic and Social Council convened a plenipotentiary conference of 73 nations for the adoption of a single convention on narcotic drugs. That meeting was known as the United Nations Conference on Narcotic Drugs. Canadian William B. McAllister, Q.C., notes that the participating states organized themselves into five distinct caucuses:[3] * Organic states group: As producers of the organic raw materials for most of the global drug supply, these countries had been the traditional focus of international drug control efforts. They were open to socio-cultural drug use, having lived with it for centuries. While India, Turkey, Pakistan and Burma took the lead, the group also included the coca-producing states of Indonesia and the Andean region of South America, the opium- and cannabis-producing countries of South and Southeast Asia, and the cannabis-producing states in the Horn of Africa. They favored weak controls because existing restrictions on production and export had directly affected large segments of their domestic population and industry. They supported national control efforts based on local conditions and were wary of strong international control bodies under the UN. Although essentially powerless to fight the prohibition philosophy directly, they effectively forced a compromise by working together to dilute the treaty language with exceptions, loopholes and deferrals. They also sought development aid to compensate for losses caused by strict controls. * Manufacturing states group: This group included primarily Western industrialized nations, the key players being the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Switzerland, the Netherlands, West Germany, and Japan. Having no cultural affinity for organic drug use and being faced with the effects that drug abuse was having on their citizens, they advocated very stringent controls on the production of organic raw materials and on illicit trafficking. As the principal manufacturers of synthetic psychotropics, and backed by a determined industry lobby, they forcefully opposed undue restrictions on medical research or the production and distribution of manufactured drugs. They favored strong supranational control bodies as long as they continued to exercise de facto control over such bodies. According to W.B. McAllister's Drug Diplomacy in the Twentieth Century, their strategy was essentially to "shift as much of the regulatory burden as possible to the raw-material-producing states while retaining as much of their own freedom as possible." * Strict control group: These were essentially non-producing and non-manufacturing states with no direct economic stake in the drug trade. The key members were France, Sweden, Brazil, and the Republic of China. Most of the states in this group were culturally opposed to drug use and suffered from abuse problems. They favored restricting drug use to medical and scientific purposes and were willing to sacrifice a degree of national sovereignty to ensure the effectiveness of supranational control bodies. They were forced to moderate their demands in order to secure the widest possible agreement. * Weak control group: This group was led by the Soviet Union and often included its allies in Europe, Asia and Africa. They considered drug control a purely internal issue and adamantly opposed any intrusion on national sovereignty, such as independent inspections. With little interest in the drug trade and minimal domestic abuse problems, they refused to give any supranational body excessive power, especially over internal decision-making. * Neutral group: This was a diverse group including most of the African countries, Central America, sub-Andean South America, Luxembourg and the Vatican. They had no strong interest in the issue apart from ensuring their own access to sufficient drug supplies. Some voted with political blocs, others were willing to trade votes, and others were truly neutral and could go either way on the control issue depending on the persuasive power of the arguments presented. In general, they supported compromise with a view to obtaining the broadest possible agreement.
These competing interests, after more than eight weeks of negotiations, finally produced a compromise treaty. Several controls were watered down; for instance, the proposed mandatory embargoes on nations failing to comply with the treaty became recommendatory. The 1953 New York Opium Protocol, which had not yet entered into force, limited opium production to seven countries; the Single Convention lifted that restriction, but instituted other regulations and put the International Narcotics Control Board in charge of monitoring their enforcement. A compromise was also struck that allowed heroin and some other drugs classified as particularly dangerous to escape absolute prohibition.[4]
The Single Convention created four Schedules of controlled substances and a process for adding new substances to the Schedules without amending the treaty. The Schedules were designed to have significantly stricter regulations than the two drug "Groups" established by predecessor treaties. For the first time, cannabis was added to the list of internationally controlled drugs. In fact, regulations on the cannabis plant – as well as the opium poppy, the coca bush, poppy straw and cannabis tops – were embedded in the text of the treaty, making it impossible to deregulate them through the normal Scheduling process. A 1962 issue of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs' Bulletin on Narcotics proudly announced that "after a definite transitional period, all non-medical use of narcotic drugs, such as opium smoking, opium eating, consumption of cannabis (hashish, marijuana) and chewing of coca leaves, will be outlawed everywhere. This is a goal which workers in international narcotics control all over the world have striven to achieve for half a century."[4]
An 3 August 1962 Economic and Social Council resolution ordered the issuance of the Commentary on the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.[5] The legal commentary was created by the United Nations Secretary-General's staff (specifically, Adolf Lande, former Secretary of the Permanent Central Narcotics Board and Drug Supervisory Body), operating under a mandate to give "an interpretation of the provisions of the Convention in the light of the relevant conference proceedings and other material."[6] The Commentary contains the Single Convention's legislative history and is an invaluable aid to interpreting the treaty.

The Single Convention was the first international treaty to prohibit cannabis.
The Single Convention entered into force on 13 December 1964, having met Article 41's requirement of 40 ratifications. As of 1 January 2005, 180 states were Parties to the treaty.[7] Others, such as Cambodia, have committed to becoming Parties.[8]
On 21 May 1971, the UN Economic and Social Council called a conference of plenipotentiaries to consider amendments to the Single Convention. The conference met at the United Nations Office at Geneva from 6 to 24 March 1972, producing the 1972 Protocol Amending the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. The amendments entered into force on 8 August 1975.[7]
On 11 November 1990, mechanisms for enforcing the Single Convention were expanded significantly by the entry into force of the United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, which had been signed at Vienna on 20 December 1988. The Preamble to this treaty acknowledges the inadequacy of the Single Convention's controls to stop "steadily increasing inroads into various social groups made by illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances". The new treaty focuses on stopping organized crime by providing for international cooperation in apprehending and convicting gangsters and starving them of funds through forfeiture, asset freezing, and other methods. It also establishes a system for placing precursors to Scheduled drugs under international control. Some non-Parties to the Single Convention, such as Andorra, belong to this treaty and thus are still under the international drug control regime.
Medical and other drug uses

Under Article 37, "Any drugs, substances and equipment used in or intended for the commission of any of the offenses . . . shall be liable to seizure and confiscation."
The Single Convention repeatedly affirms the importance of medical use of controlled substances. The Preamble notes that "the medical use of narcotic drugs continues to be indispensable for the relief of pain and suffering and that adequate provision must be made to ensure the availability of narcotic drugs for such purposes". Articles 1, 2, 4, 9, 12, 19, and 49 contain provisions relating to "medical and scientific" use of controlled substances. In almost all cases, parties are permitted to allow dispensation and use of controlled substances under a prescription, subject to record-keeping requirements and other restrictions.
The Single Convention unambiguously condemns drug addiction, however, stating that "addiction to narcotic drugs constitutes a serious evil for the individual and is fraught with social and economic danger to mankind". It takes a prohibitionist approach to the problem of drug addiction, attempting to stop all non-medical, non-scientific use of narcotic drugs. Article 4 requires nations to limit use and possession of drugs to medicinal and scientific purposes. Article 49 allows countries to phase out coca leaf chewing, opium smoking, and other traditional drug uses gradually, but provides that "the use of cannabis for other than medical and scientific purposes must be discontinued as soon as possible."
The discontinuation of these prohibited uses is intended to be achieved by cutting off supply. Rather than calling on nations to prosecute drug users, the treaty focuses on traffickers and producers. As of 2013, 234 substances are controlled under the Single Convention.[9]
Penal provisions
Article 36 requires Parties to criminalize "cultivation, production, manufacture, extraction, preparation, possession, offering, offering for sale, distribution, purchase, sale, delivery on any terms whatsoever, brokerage, dispatch, dispatch in transit, transport, importation and exportation of drugs contrary to the provisions of this Convention," as well as "[i]ntentional participation in, conspiracy to commit and attempts to commit, any of such offences, and preparatory acts and financial operations in connexion with the offences referred to in this article".
The Article also provides for extradition of drug offenders, although a Party has a right to refuse to extradite a suspect if "competent authorities consider that the offense is not sufficiently serious." A 1971 amendment to the Article grants nations the discretion to substitute "treatment, education, after-care, rehabilitation and social reintegration" for criminal penalties if the offender is a drug abuser. A loophole in the Single Convention is that it requires Parties to place anti-drug laws on the books, but does not clearly mandate their enforcement, except in the case of drug cultivation.[10]
Drug enforcement varies widely between nations. Many European countries, including the United Kingdom, Germany, and, most famously, the Netherlands, do not prosecute all petty drug offenses. Dutch coffee shops are allowed to sell small amounts of cannabis to consumers. However, the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport's report, Drugs Policy in the Netherlands, notes that large-scale "[p]roduction and trafficking are dealt with severely under the criminal law, in accordance with the UN Single Convention. Each year the Public Prosecutions Department deals with an average of 10,000 cases involving infringements of the Opium Act."[11] Some of the most severe penalties for drug trafficking are handed down in certain Asian countries, such as Malaysia, which mandate capital punishment for offenses involving amounts over a certain threshold. Singapore mandates the death penalty for trafficking in 15 g (half an ounce) of heroin, 30 g of cocaine or 500 g of cannabis.[12] Most nations, such as France and the United States, find a middle ground, imposing a spectrum of sanctions ranging from probation to life imprisonment for drug offenses.
The Single Convention's penal provisions frequently begin with clauses such as "Subject to its constitutional limitations, each Party shall . . ." Thus, if a nation's constitution prohibited instituting the criminal penalties called for by the Single Convention, those provisions would not be binding on that country. However, Professor Cindy Fazey's A Growing Market: The Domestic Cultivation of Cannabis points out, "Whilst this strategy may be practical politics for some countries, critics will ask why it has taken almost half a century to discover that the UN conventions conflict with a constitutional principle. The argument is particularly difficult to deploy for countries like Britain, where constitutional principles are not formalized or codified to any significant degree." However the current move in Switzerland to enshrine cannabis decriminalization in the national constitution by popular initiative could profit from this rule.
Possession for personal use

Different nations have drawn different conclusions as to whether the treaty requires criminalization of drug possession for personal use.
It is unclear whether or not the treaty requires criminalization of drug possession for personal use. The treaty's language is ambiguous, and a ruling by the International Court of Justice would probably be required to settle the matter decisively. However, several commissions have attempted to tackle the question. With the exception of the Le Dain Commission, most have found that states are allowed to legalize possession for personal use.
The Canadian Le Dain Commission of Inquiry into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs' 1972 report cites circumstantial evidence suggesting that states must prohibit possession for personal use:[13]
It has generally been assumed that "possession" in Article 36 includes possession for use as well as possession for the purpose of trafficking. This is a reasonable inference from the terms of Article 4, which obliges the parties "to limit exclusively to medical and scientific purposes the production, manufacture, export, import, distribution of, trade in, use and possession of drugs." There is also Article 33, which provides that "The Parties shall not permit the possession of drugs except under legal authority." [...] On the face of Article 26 it would not be unreasonable to argue that what is contemplated is possession for the purpose of trafficking rather than possession for use, and that the requirements of the article are satisfied if the former kind of possession is made a penal offense. The prevailing view, however, is that the word "possession" in Article 36 includes simple possession for use.
However, LeDain himself concludes
The costs to a significant number of individuals, the majority of whom are young people, and to society generally, of a policy of prohibition of simple possession are not justified by the potential for harm of cannabis and the additional influence which such a policy is likely to have upon perception of harm, demand and availability. We, therefore, recommend the repeal of the prohibition against the simple possession of cannabis.[14]
The Canadian Department of National Health and Welfare's 1979 report, The Single Convention and Its Implications for Canadian Cannabis Policy, counters with circumstantial evidence to the contrary:[15]
The substantive argument in support of simple possession falling outside the scope of Article 36 is founded on the assumption that it is intended to insure a penal response to the problem of illicit trafficking rather than to punish drug users who do not participate in the traffic. (See United Nations, 1973:112; Noll, 1977:44–45) The Third Draft of the Single Convention, which served as the working document for the 1961 Plenipotentiary Conference, contained a paragraph identical to that which now appears as Article 36, subparagraph 1(a). This paragraph was included in a chapter entitled Measures Against Illicit Traffickers, but the format by which the Third Draft was divided into chapters was not transferred to the Single Convention, and this, apparently, is the sole reason why this chapter heading, along with all others, was deleted. (See United Nations, 1973:112) Article 36 is still located in that part of the Convention concerned with the illicit trade, sandwiched between Article 35 (Action Against the Illicit Traffic) and Article 37 (Seizure and Confiscation). In addition, it should be noted that the word "use," suggesting personal consumption rather than trafficking, appears in conjunction with "possession" in Article 4 (which pertains to non-penal "general obligations"), but not in the penal provisions of Article 36.
The Sackville Commission of South Australia concluded in 1978 that:
. . . the Convention does not require signatories to make either use or possession for personal use punishable offenses ... This is because ‘use’ is not specifically covered by Article 36 and the term ‘possession’ in that Article and elsewhere can be read as confined to possession for the purpose of dealing".
The American National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse reached a similar conclusion in 1972, finding "that the word 'possession' in Article 36 refers not to possession for personal use but to Possession as a link in illicit trafficking."
The Canadian Department of National Health and Welfare report cites the Commentary itself in backing up its interpretation:[15]
The official Commentary on the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961, as prepared by the office of the U.N. Secretary-General, adopts a permissive interpretation of possession in Article 36. It notes that whether or not the possession of drugs (including prohibited forms of cannabis) for personal use requires the imposition of penal sanctions is a question which may be answered differently in different countries. Further, the Commentary notes that parties which interpret Article 36 as requiring a punitive legal response to simple possession, may undoubtedly choose not to provide for imprisonment of persons found in such possession, but to impose only minor penalties such as fines or even censure (since possession of a small quantity of drugs for personal consumption may be held not to be a serious offense under article 36... and only a serious offense is liable to adequate punishment particularly by imprisonment or other penalties of deprivation of liberty.
The Bulletin on Narcotics attempted to tackle the question in 1977:[16]
Since some confusion and misunderstanding had existed in the past and some instances still persist in respect of the legal position laid down in the international treaties concerning the relationship between penal sanctions and drug abuse, some clarifying remarks are called for. These were already offered at the XIth International Congress on Penal Law. 5 They were reiterated at the Fifth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders. 6 The international treaties in no way insist on harsh penal sanctions with regard to drug abuse, as is sometimes alleged by persons criticising the international drug control system; the treaties are much more subtle and flexible than sometimes interpreted.
First of all, Article 4 of the Single Convention contains the general obligations for Parties to this Convention to "take such legislative and administrative measures as may be necessary, subject to the provisions of this Convention, to limit exclusively to medical and scientific purposes the production, manufacture, export, import, distribution of, trade in, use and possession of drugs." From the contents of this provision it is clear that use of drugs and their possession for personal consumption has also to be limited by legislation and administrative measures exclusively to medical and scientific purposes. Consequently, "legalization" of drugs in the sense of making them freely available for non-medical and non-scientific purposes-as it is sometimes demanded by public mass media and even experts in discussions on the subject-is without any doubt excluded and unacceptable under the present international drug control system as established by the international treaties. The question, however, remains whether Parties are obliged by the international treaties to apply penal sanctions for unauthorized use and unauthorized possession of drugs for personal consumption. It is on this point that confusion still exists and clarification is needed.
It is a fact that "use" (or "personal consumption") is not enumerated amongst the punishable offences in accordance with paragraph 1 of Article 36 of the Single Convention. Although, as mentioned above, Parties are required to limit the use of drugs exclusively to medical and scientific purposes, the Single Convention does not require them to attain the goal by providing penal sanctions for unauthorized "use" or "personal consumption" of drugs.
Unauthorized "possession" of drugs is mentioned in paragraph 1 of Article 36, but from the context it is clear that, as stated in the Official Commentary by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, "possession" of drugs for personal consumption is not to be considered a "punishable offence" by a Party to the Single Convention. The whole international drug control system envisages in its penal provisions the illicit traffic in drugs; this also holds true for the 1972 Protocol Amending the Single Convention and for the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances. As there is no obligation to provide penal sanctions for "use" in the sense of personal consumption and "possession" of drugs for personal consumption, any criticism levelled against the international drug control system by protagonists in favour of the so-called "liberalization" or decriminalization or "de-penalization" of use and possession of drugs for personal consumption is quite beside the point.
Schedules of drugs
The Single Convention's Schedules of drugs range from most restrictive to least restrictive, in this order: Schedule IV, Schedule I, Schedule II, Schedule III. The list of drugs initially controlled was annexed to the treaty. Article 3 states that in order for a drug to be placed in a Schedule, the World Health Organization must make the findings required for that Schedule, to wit: * Schedule I – The substance is liable to similar abuse and productive of similar ill effects as the drugs already in Schedule I or Schedule II, or is convertible into a drug. * Schedule II – The substance is liable to similar abuse and productive of similar ill effects as the drugs already in Schedule I or Schedule II, or is convertible into a drug. * Schedule III – The preparation, because of the substances which it contains, is not liable to abuse and cannot produce ill effects; and the drug therein is not readily recoverable. * Schedule IV – The drug, which is already in Schedule I, is particularly liable to abuse and to produce ill effects, and such liability is not offset by substantial therapeutic advantages.
Schedule I, according to the Commentary, is the category of drugs whose control provisions "constitute the standard regime under the Single Convention."[5] The principal features of that regime are: * Limitation to medical and scientific purposes of all phases of narcotics trade (manufacture, domestic trade, both wholesale and retail, and international trade) in, and of the possession and use of, drugs; * Requirement of governmental authorization (licensing or state ownership) of participation in any phase of the narcotics trade and of a specific authorization (import and export authorization) of each individual international transaction; * Obligation of all participants in the narcotics trade to keep detailed records of their transactions in drugs; * Requirement of a medical prescription for the supply or dispensation of drugs to individuals; * A system of limiting the quantities of drugs available, by manufacture or import or both, in each country and territory, to those needed for medical and scientific purposes.
Schedule II drugs are regulated only slightly less strictly than Schedule I drugs. The Commentary confirms, "Drugs in Schedule II are subject to the same measures of control as drugs in Schedule I, with only a few exceptions":[5] * The drugs are not subject to the provisions of Article 30, paragraphs 2 and 5, as regards the retail trade. * Governments are thus not bound to prevent the accumulation of drugs in Schedule II in the possession of retail distributors, in excess of the quantities required for the normal conduct of business. * Medical prescriptions for the supply or dispensation of these drugs to individuals are not obligatory. * Such drugs are also exempted from the provision – which in fact is no more than a suggestion – concerning the use of official prescription forms in the shape of counterfoil books issued by the competent governmental authorities or by authorized professional associations. * Parties to the Single Convention need not require that the label under which a drug in Schedule II is offered for sale in the retail trade show the exact content by weight or percentage.
Schedule III "contains preparations which enjoy a privileged position under the Single Convention, i.e. are subject to a less strict regime than other Preparations," according to the Commentary.[5] Specifically: * Government authorizations are not required for each import or export of preparations in Schedule III. The import certificate and export authorization system laid down in Article 31, paragraphs 4 to 15, which governs the international transactions in drugs and their preparations, does not apply to the preparations in Schedule III. * The only estimates and statistical returns that a Party need furnish to the INCB in reference to Schedule III preparations are estimates of the quantities of drugs to be utilized for the compounding of preparations in Schedule III, and information on the amounts of drugs actually so used.
Schedule IV is the category of drugs, such as heroin, that are considered to have "particularly dangerous properties" in comparison to other drugs (ethanol is left unregulated). According to Article 2, "The drugs in Schedule IV shall also be included in Schedule I and subject to all measures of control applicable to drugs in the latter Schedule" as well as whatever "special measures of control"; each Party deems necessary. This is in contrast to the U.S. Controlled Substances Act, which has five Schedules ranging from Schedule I (most restrictive) to Schedule V (least restrictive), and the Convention on Psychotropic Substances, which has four Schedules ranging for Schedule I (most restrictive) to Schedule IV (least restrictive).
Under certain circumstances, Parties are required to limit Schedule IV drugs to research purposes only:
(b) A Party shall, if in its opinion the prevailing conditions in its country render it the most appropriate means of protecting the public health and welfare, prohibit the production, manufacture, export and import of, trade in, possession or use of any such drug except for amounts which may be necessary for medical and scientific research only, including clinical trials therewith to be conducted under or subject to the direct supervision and control of the Party.
The Commentary explains two situations in which this provision would apply:
For a considerable period of time – and still at the time of writing – there has been no significant diversion of legally manufactured drugs from legal trade into illicit channels; but if a Government were unable to prevent such a diversion of drugs in Schedule IV, a situation would arise in which the measures of prohibition mentioned in subparagraph (b) would be "the most appropriate means of protecting the public health and welfare". Whether this was or was not the case would be left to the judgement of the Party concerned whose bona fide opinion on this matter could not be challenged by any other Party.
Another situation in which measures of prohibition would be "appropriate" for the protection of public health and welfare might exist where the members of the medical profession administered or prescribed drugs in Schedule IV in an unduly extensive way, and other less radical measures, such as warnings by public authorities, professional associations or manufacturers, were ineffective. It may however be assumed that such a situation could rarely if ever arise.
The Commentary notes that "Whether the prohibition of drugs in Schedule IV (cannabis and cannabis resin, desomorphine, heroin, ketobemidone) should be mandatory or only recommended was a controversial question at the Plenipotentiary Conference." The provision adopted represents "a compromise which leaves prohibition to the judgement, though theoretically not to the discretion, of each Party." The Parties are required to act in good faith in making this decision, or else they will be in violation of the treaty.
Power structure
The Single Convention gives the UN Economic and Social Council's Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) power to add or delete drugs from the Schedules, in accordance with the World Health Organization's findings and recommendations. Any Party to the treaty may request an amendment to the Schedules, or request a review of the Commission's decision. The Economic and Social Council is the only body that has power to confirm, alter, or reverse the CND's scheduling decisions. The United Nations General Assembly can approve or modify any CND decision, except for scheduling decisions.
The CND's annual meeting serves as a forum for nations to debate drug policy. At the 2005 meeting, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia and Iran rallied in opposition to the UN's zero-tolerance approach in international drug policy. Their appeal was vetoed by the United States, while the United Kingdom delegation remained reticent.[17] Meanwhile, U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy Director John Walters clashed with United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa on the issue of needle exchange programs. Walters advocated strict prohibition, while Costa opined, "We must not deny these addicts any genuine opportunities to remain HIV-negative."[18]
The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) is mandated by Article 9 of the Single Convention to "endeavour to limit the cultivation, production, manufacture and use of drugs to an adequate amount required for medical and scientific purposes, to ensure their availability for such purposes and to prevent illicit cultivation, production and manufacture of, and illicit trafficking in and use of, drugs." The INCB administers the estimate system, which limits each nation's annual production of controlled substances to the estimated amounts needed for medical and scientific purposes.
Article 21 provides that "the total of the quantities of each drug manufactured and imported by any country or territory in any one year shall not exceed the sum of" the quantity: * Consumed, within the limit of the relevant estimate, for medical and scientific purposes; * Used, within the limit of the relevant estimate, for the manufacture of other drugs, of preparations in Schedule Ill, and of substances not covered by this Convention; * Exported; * Added to the stock for the purpose of bringing that stock up to the level specified in the relevant estimate; and * Acquired within the limit of the relevant estimate for special purposes.
Article 21 bis, added to the treaty by a 1971 amendment, gives the INCB more enforcement power by allowing it to deduct from a nation's production quota of cannabis, opium, and coca the amounts it determines have been produced within that nation and introduced into the illicit traffic. This could happen as a result of failing to control either illicit production or diversion of licitly produced opium to illicit purposes.[19] In this way, the INCB can essentially punish a narcotics-exporting nation that does not control its illicit traffic by imposing an economic sanction on its medicinal narcotics industry.
The Single Convention exerts power even over those nations that have not ratified it. The International Narcotics Board states:[20]
The fact that the system generally works well is mainly due to the estimates system that covers all countries whether or not parties to the Convention. Countries are under an obligation not to exceed the amounts of the estimates confirmed or established by the INCB.
Article 14 authorizes the INCB to recommend an embargo on imports and exports of drugs from any noncompliant nations. The INCB can also issue reports critical of noncompliant nations, and forward those reports to all Parties. This happened when the United Kingdom reclassified cannabis from Class B to class C, eliminating the threat of arrest for possession.[21] See Cannabis reclassification in the United Kingdom.
The most controversial decisions of the INCB are those in which it assumes the power to interpret the Single Convention. Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Spain continue to experiment with medically supervised injection rooms, despite the INCB's objections that the Single Convention's allowance of "scientific purposes" is limited to clinical trials of pharmaceutical grade drugs and not public health interventions.[22] These European nations have more leverage to disregard the Board's decisions because they are not dependent on licit psychoactive drug exports (which are regulated by the Board). As international lawyer Bill Bush notes, "Because of the Tasmanian opium poppy industry, Australia is more vulnerable to political pressure than, say, Germany."[22]
The INCB is an outspoken opponent of drug legalization. Its 2002 report rejects a common argument for drug reform, stating, "Persons in favour of legalizing illicit drug use argue that drug abusers should not have their basic rights violated; however, it does not seem to have occurred to those persons that drug abusers themselves violate the basic rights of their own family members and society." The report dismisses concerns that drug control conflicts with principles of limited government and self-determination, arguing, "States have a moral and legal responsibility to protect drug abusers from further self-destruction." The report takes a majoritarian view of the situation, declaring, "Governments must respect the view of the majority of lawful citizens; and those citizens are against illicit drug use."[23]
Article 48 designates the International Court of Justice as the arbiter of disputes about the interpretation or application of the Single Convention, if mediation, negotiation, and other forms of alternative dispute resolution fail.
Limitation of scope
The Single Convention allows only drugs with morphine-like, cocaine-like, and cannabis-like effects to be added to the Schedules. The strength of the drug is not relevant; only the similarity of its effects to the substances already controlled. For instance, etorphine and acetorphine were considered sufficiently morphine-like to fall under the treaty's scope, although they are many times more potent than morphine. However, according to the Commentary:[24]
The Office of Legal Affairs of the United Nations ruled, in an opinion given to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs at its twenty-third session, that barbiturates, tranquillizers and amphetamines were outside the scope of the Single Convention. It pointed out that there was an understanding at all stages of the drafting of the Single Convention, in particular at the Plenipotentiary Conference of 1961 which adopted that treaty, that the Convention was not applicable to these three types of substances, although the effects of amphetamines have some degree of similarity to cocaine, and those of barbiturates and tranquillizers to morphine.
Since cannabis is a hallucinogen (although some dispute this), the Commentary speculates that mescaline, psilocybin, tetrahydrocannabinol, and LSD could have been considered sufficiently cannabis-like to be regulated under the Single Convention; however, it opines, "It appears that the fact that the potent hallucinogenics whose abuse has spread in recent years have not been brought under international narcotics control does not result from legal reasons, but rather from the view of Governments that a regime different from that offered by the Single Convention would be more adequate." That different regime was instituted by the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances. The Convention on Psychotropic Drugs' scope can include any drug not already under international control if the World Health Organization finds that: * The substance has the capacity to produce "[a] state of dependence" AND "[c]entral nervous system stimulation or depression, resulting in hallucinations or disturbances in motor function or thinking or behaviour or perception or mood"; or * The substance has the capacity to produce similar abuse and similar ill effects as LSD or one of the other controlled substances enumerated in Convention; or * There is sufficient evidence that the substance is being or is likely to be abused so as to constitute a public health and social problem warranting the placing of the substance under international control.
The reason for sharply limiting the scope of Single Convention to a few types of drugs while letting the Convention on Psychotropic Drugs cover the rest was concern for the interests of industry. Professor Cindy Fazey's The Mechanics and Dynamics of the UN System for International Drug Control explains, "concerted efforts by drug manufacturing nations and the pharmaceutical industry ensured that the controls on psychotropics in the 1971 treaty were considerably looser than those applied to organic drugs in the Single Convention."[25]
A failed 24 March 2003 European Parliament committee report noted the disparity in how drugs are regulated under the two treaties:[26][27]
The 1971 Convention, which closely resembles the Single Convention, establishes an international control which is clearly less rigorous for the so-called 'psychotropic' substances, generally produced by the pharmaceutical industry. . . The parallel existence of the Single Convention and the 1971 Convention have led to certain illogical effects such as the fact that a plant (cannabis) containing at most 3% of a principal element is dealt with more severely than the pure substance at 100% (tetrahydrocannabinol or THC).
For this reason, the European Parliament, Transnational Radical Party, and other organizations have proposed removing cannabis and other drugs from the Single Convention and scheduling them under the Convention on Psychotropic Substances.[28]
Furthermore, the provisions of the Single Convention regarding the national supply and demand of opium to make morphine contribute to the global shortage of essential poppy-based pain relief medicines. According to the Convention, governments can only request raw poppy materials according to the amount of poppy-based medicines used in the two preceding years. Consequently, in countries where underprescription is chronic due to the high prices of morphine and lack of availability and medical training in the prescription of poppy-based drugs, it is impossible to demand enough raw poppy materials from the INCB, as the Convention's regulating body, to meet the country's pain relief needs. As such, 77% of the world's poppy-based medicine supplies are used by only six countries (See: Fischer, B J. Rehm, and T Culbert, “Opium based medicines: a mapping of global supply, demand and needs” in Spivack D. (ed.) Feasibility Study on Opium Licensing in Afghanistan, Kabul, 2005. p. 85–86.[29]). Many critics of the Convention cite this as one of its primary limitations and the World Health Organisation is currently attempting to increase prescription of poppy-based drugs and to help governments of emerging countries in particular alter their internal regulations to be able to demand poppy-based medicines according to the Convention's provisions (see the WHO "Assuring Availability of Opioid Analgesics for Palliative Care"[30]). The Senlis Council, a European drug policy thinktank, proposes creating a second-tier supply system that would complement the existing system without altering the balance of its relatively closed supply and demand system. The Council, who support licensing poppy cultivation in Afghanistan to create Afghan morphine, believe the opium supply in this country could go a long way to easing the pain relief needs of sufferers in emerging countries by producing a cheap poppy-based medicine solution (see [The Senlis Council]: "Poppy for Medicine."[31]
Regulation of cannabis

Articles 23 and 28 of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs require cannabis-producing nations to have a government agency that controls cultivation.
The Single Convention places the same restrictions on cannabis cultivation that it does on opium cultivation. Article 23 and Article 28 require each Party to establish a government agency to control cultivation. Cultivators must deliver their total crop to the agency, which must purchase and take physical possession of them within four months after the end of harvest. The agency then has the exclusive right of "importing, exporting, wholesale trading and maintaining stocks other than those held by manufacturers."
In the United States, the National Institute on Drug Abuse fulfills that function. NIDA administers a contract with the University of Mississippi to grow a 1.5 acre (6,000 m²) crop of cannabis every other year; that supply comprises the only licit source of cannabis for medical and research purposes in the United States.[32] Similarly, in 2000, Prairie Plant Systems was awarded a five-year contract to grow cannabis in the Flin Flon mine for Health Canada, that nation's licit cannabis cultivation authority.[33]
Article 28 specifically excludes industrial hemp from these regulations, stating, "This Convention shall not apply to the cultivation of the cannabis plant exclusively for industrial purposes (fibre and seed) or horticultural purposes." Hemp-growing countries include China, Romania, France, Germany, Netherlands, UK, and Hungary.[34]
Rescheduling proposals
There is some controversy over whether cannabis is "particularly liable to abuse and to produce ill effects" and whether that "liability is not offset by substantial therapeutic advantages," as required by Schedule IV criteria. In particular, the discovery of the cannabinoid receptor system in the late 1980s revolutionized scientific understanding of cannabis' effects, and much anecdotal evidence has come to light about the drug's medical uses. The Canadian Senate committee's report notes,[35]
At the U.S.’s insistence, cannabis was placed under the heaviest control regime in the Convention, Schedule IV. The argument for placing cannabis in this category was that it was widely abused. The WHO later found that cannabis could have medical applications after all, but the structure was already in place and no international action has since been taken to correct this anomaly.
The Commentary points out the theoretical possibility of removing cannabis from Schedule IV:[5]
Those who question the particularly harmful character of cannabis and cannabis resin may hold that the Technical Committee of the Plenipotentiary Conference was under its own criteria not justified in placing these drugs in Schedule IV; but the approval of the Committee's action by the Plenipotentiary Conference places this inclusion beyond any legal doubt. Should the results of the intensive research which is at the time of this writing being undertaken on the effects of these two drugs so warrant, they could be deleted from Schedule IV, and these two drugs, as well as extracts and tinctures of cannabis, could be transferred from Schedule I to Schedule II.
Cindy Fazey, former Chief of Demand Reduction for the United Nations Drug Control Programme, has pointed out that it would be nearly impossible to loosen international cannabis regulations. Even if the Commission on Narcotic Drugs removed cannabis from Schedule IV of the Single Convention, prohibitions against the plant would remain imbedded in Article 28 and other parts of the treaty. Fazey cited amendment of the Articles and state-by-state denunciation as two theoretical possibilities for changing cannabis' international legal status, while pointing out that both face substantial barriers.[36]
In a 2002 interview, INCB President Philip O. Emafo condemned European cannabis decriminalization measures:[37]
It is possible that the cannabis being used in Europe may not be the same species that is used in developing countries and that is causing untold health hazards to the young people who are finding themselves in hospitals for treatment. Therefore, the INCB's concern is that cannabis use should be restricted to medical and scientific purposes, if there are any. Countries who are party to the Single Convention need to respect the provisions of the conventions and restrict the use of drugs listed in Schedules I to IV to strictly medical and scientific purposes.
However, Kathalijne Buitenweg on the European Parliament's Committee on Citizens' Freedoms and Rights, Justice and Home Affairs issued a report on 24 March 2003 criticizing the Single Convention's scheduling regime:[26][27]
These schedules show that the main criterion for the classification of a substance is its medical use. In view of the principle according to which the only licit uses is those for medical or scientific purposes (art. 4), plants or substances deprived of this purpose are automatically considered as particularly dangerous. Such is the case for cannabis and cannabis resin which are classified with heroin in group IV for the sole reason that they lack therapeutic value. A reason which is in any event disputable, since cannabis could have numerous medical uses.
There have been several lawsuits over whether cannabis' Schedule IV status under the Single Convention requires total prohibition at the national level. In 1970, the U.S. Congress enacted the Controlled Substances Act to implement the UN treaty, placing marijuana into Schedule I on the advice of Assistant Secretary of Health Roger O. Egeberg. His letter to Harley O. Staggers, Chairman of the House Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, indicates that the classification was intended to be provisional:[38]
Some question has been raised whether the use of the plant itself produces "severe psychological or physical dependence" as required by a schedule I or even schedule II criterion. Since there is still a considerable void in our knowledge of the plant and effects of the active drug contained in it, our recommendation is that marijuana be retained within schedule I at least until the completion of certain studies now underway to resolve the issue.
The reference to "certain studies" is to the then-forthcoming National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse. In 1972, the Commission released a report favoring decriminalization of marijuana. The Richard Nixon administration took no action to implement the recommendation, however. In 1972, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws filed a rescheduling petition under provisions of the Act. The government declined to initiate proceedings on the basis of their interpretation of U.S. treaty commitments. A federal Court ruled against the government and ordered them to process the petition (NORML v. Ingersoll 497 F.2d 654 (1974)). The government continued to rely on treaty commitments in their interpretation of scheduling related issues concerning the NORML petition, leading to another lawsuit (NORML v. DEA 559 F.2d 735 (1977)). In this decision, the Court made clear that the Act requires a full scientific and medical evaluation and the fulfillment of the rescheduling process before treaty commitments can be evaluated. See Removal of cannabis from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.
Cannabis leaves (as opposed to buds) are a special case. The Canadian Health Protection Branch's Cannabis Control Policy: A Discussion Paper found that, while the Single Convention requires nations to take measures against the misuse of, and illicit traffic in, cannabis buds, a ban is not required on licit production, distribution, and use of the leaves.[15]
The Single Convention defines "cannabis" as the flowering or fruiting tops of the cannabis plant (excluding the seeds and leaves when not accompanied by the tops) from which the resin has not been extracted. (Art. 1, s-para. 1(b)) It is generally accepted that this definition permits the legalization of the leaves of the cannabis plant, provided that they are not accompanied by the flowering or fruiting tops. However, uncertainty arises by virtue of paragraph 3 of Article 28 which requires parties to the Convention to "adopt such measures as may be necessary to prevent the misuse of, and illicit traffic in, the leaves of the cannabis plant." In summary, it appears that parties are not obliged to prohibit the production, distribution and use of the leaves (since they are not drugs, as defined the Convention), although they must take necessary, although unspecified, measures to prevent their misuse and diversion to the illicit trade.
List of controlled narcotic drugs
Source: INCB Yellow List (50th edition, December 2011)
Contains 119 positions in Schedules I and II, generalization clauses (with 2 exclusions in Schedule I) and 2 specific generalizations in Schedule I. 17 positions from Schedule I are repeated in Schedule IV, and some preparations of Schedule I and Schedule II drugs are in Schedule III. [show]More statistics |
Schedule I
Contains 109 positions, generalization clause (with 2 exclusions) and 2 specific generalizations (1 for ecgonine and 1 for pentavalent nitrogen morphine derivatives). [show]More statistics |
Cannabis (listed as a single position): * cannabis — the flowering or fruiting tops of the cannabis plant (resin not extracted) * cannabis resin — the separated resin, crude or purified, obtained from the cannabis plant * extracts and tinctures of cannabis
Coca leaf, cocaine and ecgonine: * coca leaf — the leaf of the coca bush (plant material), except a leaf from which all ecgonine, cocaine and any other ecgonine alkaloids have been removed * cocaine (methyl ester of benzoylecgonine) — an alkaloid found in coca leaves or prepared by synthesis from ecgonine * ecgonine, its esters and derivatives which are convertible to ecgonine and cocaine
Natural opioids sources: * opium — the coagulated juice of the opium poppy, plant species Papaver somniferum L. * concentrate of poppy straw — the material arising when poppy straw (all parts of the opium poppy except the seeds, after mowing) has entered into a process for the concentration of its alkaloids when such material is made available in trade
Note on preparations: all preparations made direct from opium are considered to be opium (preparations), if the preparations are not made direct from opium itself but are obtained by a mixture of opium alkaloids (as is the case, for example, with pantopon, omnopon and papaveretum) they should be considered as morphine (preparations)
Natural opioids: * oripavine * morphine — the principal alkaloid of opium and of opium poppy * thebaine — an alkaloid of opium; also found in Papaver bracteatum
Semisynthetic opioids: * acetorphine * benzylmorphine * codoxime * desomorphine * dihydroetorphine * dihydromorphine * drotebanol * etorphine * heroin * hydrocodone * hydromorphinol * hydromorphone * methyldesorphine * methyldihydromorphine * metopon * myrophine * nicomorphine * oxycodone * oxymorphone * thebacon
Some morphine derivatives, including some natural metabolites of morphine and codeine: * morphine methobromide and other pentavalent nitrogen morphine derivatives, including in particular the genomorphine derivatives, one of which is genocodeine (codeine-N-oxide) * genomorphine (morphine-N-oxide) * normorphine
Synthetic opioids — morphinan derivatives: * levomethorphan * levophenacylmorphan * levorphanol * norlevorphanol * phenomorphan * racemethorphan * racemorphan
Synthetic opioids — fentanyl and derivatives: * acetyl-alpha-methylfentanyl * alfentanil * alpha-methylfentanyl * alpha-methylthiofentanyl * beta-hydroxyfentanyl * beta-hydroxy-3-methylfentanyl * fentanyl * 3-methylfentanyl * 3-methylthiofentanyl * para-fluorofentanyl * remifentanil * sufentanil * thiofentanyl
Synthetic 4-phenylpiperidine opioids — pethidines (meperidines): * anileridine * benzethidine * difenoxin * diphenoxylate * etoxeridine * furethidine * hydroxypethidine * morpheridine * pethidine * pethidine intermediate A * norpethidine (pethidine intermediate B) * pethidinic acid (pethidine intermediate C) * phenoperidine * piminodine * properidine
Synthetic 4-phenylpiperidine opioids — prodines: * allylprodine * alphameprodine * alphaprodine * betameprodine * betaprodine * desmethylprodine (MPPP) * PEPAP * trimeperidine
Synthetic 4-phenylpiperidine opioids — ketobemidones: * ketobemidone
Synthetic open chain opioids — amidones: * dipipanone * isomethadone * methadone * methadone intermediate (4-cyano-2-dimethylamino-4,4-diphenylbutane) * normethadone * norpipanone * phenadoxone
Synthetic open chain opioids — methadols: * acetylmethadol * alphacetylmethadol * alphamethadol * betacetylmethadol * betamethadol * noracymethadol * dimepheptanol
Synthetic open chain opioids — moramides: * dextromoramide * levomoramide (scheduled despite being inactive isomer) * racemoramide * moramide intermediate (2-methyl-3-morpholino-1,1-diphenylpropane carboxylic acid)
Synthetic open chain opioids — thiambutenes: * diethylthiambutene * dimethylthiambutene * ethylmethylthiambutene
Synthetic open chain opioids — phenalkoxams: * dimenoxadol * dioxaphetyl butyrate
Synthetic open chain opioids — ampromides: * diampromide * phenampromide
Synthetic opioids — benzimidazoles: * clonitazene * etonitazene
Synthetic opioids — benzomorphans: * metazocine * phenazocine
Synthetic opioids — pirinitramides: * bezitramide * piritramide
Synthetic opioids — phenazepanes: * proheptazine
Other synthetic opioids: * tilidine
* the isomers, unless specifically excepted, of the drugs in this Schedule whenever the existence of such isomers is possible within the specific chemical designation; * the esters and ethers, unless appearing in another Schedule, of the drugs in this Schedule whenever the existence of such esters or ethers is possible; * the salts of the drugs listed in this Schedule, including the salts of esters, ethers and isomers as provided above whenever the existence of such salts is possible.
Isomers specifically excluded (both synthetic non-opioids being morphinan derivatives): * dextromethorphan * dextrorphan
Schedule II
Contains 10 positions and generalization clause. [show]More statistics |
Natural opioids: * codeine — alkaloid contained in opium and poppy straw
Semisynthetic opioids: * acetyldihydrocodeine * dihydrocodeine * ethylmorphine * nicocodine * nicodicodine * pholcodine
Natural codeine metabolite: * norcodeine
Synthetic open chain opioids — phenalkoxams: * dextropropoxyphene
Synthetic open chain opioids — ampromides: * propiram
* the isomers, unless specifically excepted, of the drugs in this schedule whenever the existence of such isomers is possible within the specific chemical designation; * the salts of the drugs listed in this schedule, including the salts of the isomers as provided above whenever the existence of such salts is possible.
Schedule III (light subset of Schedules I and II)
Preparations of narcotic drugs exempted from some provisions: 1. *acetyldihydrocodeine, * codeine, * dihydrocodeine, * ethylmorphine, * nicocodine, * nicodicodine, * norcodeine, * pholcodine
(when compounded with one or more other ingredients and containing not more than 100 milligrams of the drug per dosage unit and with a concentration of not more than 2.5 per cent in undivided preparations) 2. propiram (containing not more than 100 milligrams of propiram per dosage unit and compounded with at least the same amount of methylcellulose) 3. dextropropoxyphene (for oral use containing not more than 135 milligrams of dextropropoxyphene base per dosage unit or with a concentration of not more than 2.5 per cent in undivided preparations, provided that such preparations do not contain any substance controlled under the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances) 4. *cocaine (containing not more than 0.1 per cent of cocaine calculated as cocaine base) * opium or morphine (containing not more than 0.2 per cent of morphine calculated as anhydrous morphine base and compounded with one or more other ingredients and in such a way that the drug cannot be recovered by readily applicable means or in a yield which would constitute a risk to public health) * difenoxin (containing, per dosage unit, not more than 0.5 milligram of difenoxin and a quantity of atropine sulfate equivalent to at least 5 per cent of the dose of difenoxin) 5. diphenoxylate (containing, per dosage unit, not more than 2.5 milligrams of diphenoxylate calculated as base and a quantity of atropine sulfate equivalent to at least 1 per cent of the dose of diphenoxylate) 6. Pulvis ipecacuanhae et opii compositus (Dover's powder) * 10 per cent opium in powder; * 10 per cent ipecacuanha root (currently used to produce syrup of ipecac, an emetic), in powder well mixed with * 80 per cent of any other powdered ingredient containing no drug. * preparations conforming to any of the formulas listed in this Schedule and mixtures of such preparations with any material which contains no drug.
Schedule IV (stricter subset of Schedule I)
Contains 17 positions from Schedule I (see note on cannabis) and generalization clause. [show]More statistics |
Cannabis (listed as a single position, cannabis extracts and tinctures are in Schedule I, but not in Schedule IV): * cannabis — the flowering or fruiting tops of the cannabis plant (resin not extracted) * cannabis resin — the separated resin, crude or purified, obtained from the cannabis plant
Semisynthetic opioids: * acetorphine * desomorphine * etorphine * heroin
Synthetic opioids — fentanyl and derivatives: * acetyl-alpha-methylfentanyl * alpha-methylfentanyl * alpha-methylthiofentanyl * beta-hydroxyfentanyl * beta-hydroxy-3-methylfentanyl * 3-methylfentanyl * 3-methylthiofentanyl * para-fluorofentanyl * thiofentanyl
Synthetic 4-phenylpiperidine opioids — prodines: * desmethylprodine (MPPP) * PEPAP
Synthetic 4-phenylpiperidine opioids — ketobemidones: * ketobemidone
And the salts of the drugs listed in this schedule whenever the formation of such salts is possible.
Scheduled elsewhere
Cannabinoids (natural and synthetic) and opioids (synthetic and semisynthetic) are scheduled by Convention on Psychotropic Substances.
Natural cannabinols (synthetic cannabinoids omitted): * tetrahydrocannabinol, the following isomers and their stereochemical variants: * 7,8,9,10-tetrahydro-6,6,9-trimethyl-3-pentyl-6H-dibenzo[b,d]pyran-1-ol * (9R,10aR)-8,9,10,10a-tetrahydro-6,6,9-trimethyl-3-pentyl-6H-dibenzo[b,d]pyran-1-ol * (6aR,9R,10aR)-6a,9,10,10a-tetrahydro-6,6,9-trimethyl-3-pentyl-6H-dibenzo[b,d]pyran-1-ol * (6aR,10aR)-6a,7,10,10a-tetrahydro-6,6,9-trimethyl-3-pentyl-6H-dibenzo[b,d]pyran-1-ol * 6a,7,8,9-tetrahydro-6,6,9-trimethyl-3-pentyl-6H-dibenzo[b,d]pyran-1-ol * (6aR,10aR)-6a,7,8,9,10,10a-hexahydro-6,6-dimethyl-9-methylene-3-pentyl-6H-dibenzo[b,d]pyran-1-ol * delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol — (6aR,10aR)-6a,7,8,10a-tetrahydro-6,6,9-trimethyl-3-pentyl-6H-dibenzo[b,d]pyran-1-ol, and its stereochemical variants (dronabinol is the international non-proprietary name, although it refers to only one of the stereochemical variants of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, namely (−)-trans-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol)
Semisynthetic agonist–antagonist opioids: * buprenorphine
Synthetic agonist-antagonist opioids — benzomorphans: * pentazocine
Synthetic open chain opioids having also stimulant effects: * lefetamine
Opioids not scheduled
Some opioids currently or formerly used in medicine are not scheduled by UN conventions, for example: * tramadol * tapentadol * nalbuphine (agonist-antagonist opioid) * butorphanol (agonist-antagonist opioid)
There are of course many opioid designer drugs, not used in medicine
Controlled Substances Act
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Controlled Substances Act | | Long title | An Act to amend the Public Health Service Act and other laws to provide increased research into, and prevention of, drug abuse and drug dependence; to provide for treatment and rehabilitation of drug abusers and drug dependent persons; and to strengthen existing law enforcement authority in the field of drug abuse. | Acronyms (colloquial) | CSA | Enacted by | the 91st United States Congress | Effective | October 27, 1970 | Citations | Public Law | 91-513 | Statutes at Large | 84 Stat. 1236 a.k.a. 84 Stat. 1242 | Codification | Titles amended | 21 U.S.C.: Food and Drugs | U.S.C. sections created | 21 U.S.C. ch. 13 § 801 et seq. | Legislative history | * Introduced in the House as H.R. 18583 by Harley O. Staggers (D–WV) on September 10, 1970 * Committee consideration by Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee * Passed the House on September 24, 1970 (342-7) * Passed the Senate on October 7, 1970 (54-0) * Reported by the joint conference committee on October 13, 1970; agreed to by the House on October 14, 1970 (passed) and by the Senate on October 14, 1970 (passed) * Signed into law by President Richard Nixon on October 27, 1970 | Major amendments | Hillory J. Farias and Samantha Reid Date-Rape Prevention Act of 2000 | United States Supreme Court cases | Gonzales v. Raich
United States v. Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative |
The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) is the statute prescribing federal U.S. drug policy under which the manufacture, importation, possession, use and distribution of certain substances is regulated. It was passed by the 91st United States Congress as Title II of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 and signed into law by President Richard Nixon.[1] The Act also served as the national implementing legislation for the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.
The legislation created five Schedules (classifications), with varying qualifications for a substance to be included in each. Two federal agencies, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Food and Drug Administration, determine which substances are added to or removed from the various schedules, although the statute passed by Congress created the initial listing. Congress has sometimes scheduled other substances through legislation such as the Hillory J. Farias and Samantha Reid Date-Rape Prevention Act of 2000, which placed gamma hydroxybutyrate in Schedule I. Classification decisions are required to be made on criteria including potential for abuse (an undefined term),[2][3] currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and international treaties.
* 1 History * 2 Enforcement authority * 3 Treaty obligations * 4 Schedules of controlled substances * 5 Schedule I controlled substances * 6 Schedule II controlled substances * 7 Schedule III controlled substances * 8 Schedule IV controlled substances * 9 Schedule V controlled substances * 10 Federal regulation of pseudoephedrine and ephedrine * 11 Alternatives to scheduling * 12 Criticism * 13 See also * 14 Notes
Regulation of therapeutic goods in the United States | | Prescription drugs
Over-the-counter drugs | Law[show] | Government agencies[show] | Process[show] | International coordination[show] | Non-governmental organizations[show] | * v * t * e |
The nation first outlawed addictive drugs in the early 1900s and the International Opium Convention helped lead international agreements regulating trade.[4][5][6] The Food and Drugs Act of 1906 was the beginning of over 200 laws concerning public health and consumer protections. Others were the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (1938), and the Kefauver Harris Amendment of 1962.[7]
In 1969, President Richard Nixon announced that the Attorney General, John N. Mitchell, was preparing a comprehensive new measure to more effectively meet the narcotic and dangerous drug problems at the federal level by combining all existing federal laws into a single new statute. The CSA did not only combine existing federal drug laws but it also changed the nature of federal drug law policies, expanded the scope of federal drug laws and expanded Federal law enforcement as pertaining to controlled substances.
Part F of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 established the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse—known as the Shafer Commission after its chairman, Raymond P. Shafer—to study cannabis abuse in the United States.[8] During his presentation of the commission's First Report to Congress, Shafer recommended the decriminalization of marijuana in small amounts, saying,
[T]he criminal law is too harsh a tool to apply to personal possession even in the effort to discourage use. It implies an overwhelming indictment of the behavior which we believe is not appropriate. The actual and potential harm of use of the drug is not great enough to justify intrusion by the criminal law into private behavior, a step which our society takes only with the greatest reluctance.
Rufus King notes that this stratagem was similar to that used by Harry Anslinger when he consolidated the previous anti-drug treaties into the Single Convention and took the opportunity to add new provisions that otherwise might have been unpalatable to the international community.[9] According to David T. Courtwright, "the Act was part of an omnibus reform package designed to rationalize, and in some respects to liberalize, American drug policy." (Courtwright noted that the Act became, not libertarian, but instead repressionistic to the point of tyrannical, in its intent.) It eliminated mandatory minimum sentences and provided support for drug treatment and research.[10] King notes that the rehabilitation clauses were added as a compromise to Senator Jim Hughes, who favored a moderate approach. The bill, as introduced by Senator Everett Dirksen, ran to 91 pages. While it was being drafted, the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, to be passed by state legislatures, was also being drafted by the Department of Justice; its wording closely mirrored the Controlled Substances Act.[9]
Since its enactment in 1970, the Act has been amended several times:[11] * The Medical Device Amendments of 1976. * The Psychotropic Substances Act of 1978 added provisions implementing the Convention on Psychotropic Substances. * The Controlled Substances Penalties Amendments Act of 1984. * The Chemical Diversion and Trafficking Act of 1988 (implemented August 1, 1989 as Article 12) added provisions implementing the United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances that went into force on November 11, 1990. * The Anabolic Steroids Act, passed as part of the Crime Control Act of 1990, which placed anabolic steroids into Schedule III[12]:30 * The Domestic Chemical Diversion and Control Act of 1993 (effective on April 16, 1994) in response to the methamphetamine trafficking. * The Federal Analog Act. * The Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2008[13] * The Electronic Prescriptions for Controlled Substances (EPCS) 2010.
DEA Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) rule that was published in the Federal Register on 3/31/2010 and became effective on 6/1/2010. Wikipedia link: Source: Drug Enforecement Administration (DEA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ). To view the entire EPCS CFR DEA rule (Title 21, document citation 75, FR, Start Page 16235):
(An official version of this publication may be obtained directly from the Government Printing Office (GPO))
The Wikipedia link for the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR):
Effective October 6, 2014, hydrocodone combination products (HCP), have been reclassified from Schedule III to Schedule II drugs.[14]
Enforcement authority
The Drug Enforcement Administration was established in 1973, combining the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD) and Customs’ drug agents.[15] Proceedings to add, delete, or change the schedule of a drug or other substance may be initiated by the DEA, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), or by petition from any interested party, including the manufacturer of a drug, a medical society or association, a pharmacy association, a public interest group concerned with drug abuse, a state or local government agency, or an individual citizen. When a petition is received by the DEA, the agency begins its own investigation of the drug.
The DEA also may begin an investigation of a drug at any time based upon information received from laboratories, state and local law enforcement and regulatory agencies, or other sources of information. Once the DEA has collected the necessary data, the Deputy Administrator of DEA,[16] requests from HHS a scientific and medical evaluation and recommendation as to whether the drug or other substance should be controlled or removed from control. This request is sent to the Assistant Secretary of Health of HHS. Then, HHS solicits information from the Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration and evaluations and recommendations from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and, on occasion, from the scientific and medical community at large. The Assistant Secretary, by authority of the Secretary, compiles the information and transmits back to the DEA a medical and scientific evaluation regarding the drug or other substance, a recommendation as to whether the drug should be controlled, and in what schedule it should be placed.
The medical and scientific evaluations are binding to the DEA with respect to scientific and medical matters. The recommendation on scheduling is binding only to the extent that if HHS recommends that the substance not be controlled, the DEA may not control the substance. Once the DEA has received the scientific and medical evaluation from HHS, the DEA Administrator will evaluate all available data and make a final decision whether to propose that a drug or other substance be controlled and into which schedule it should be placed. Under certain circumstances, the Government may temporarily schedule[17] a drug without following the normal procedure. An example is when international treaties require control of a substance. In addition, 21 U.S.C. § 811(h) allows the Attorney General to temporarily place a substance in Schedule I "to avoid an imminent hazard to the public safety". Thirty days' notice is required before the order can be issued, and the scheduling expires after a year; however, the period may be extended six months if rulemaking proceedings to permanently schedule the drug are in progress. In any case, once these proceedings are complete, the temporary order is automatically vacated. Unlike ordinary scheduling proceedings, such temporary orders are not subject to judicial review.
The CSA also creates a closed system of distribution[18] for those authorized to handle controlled substances. The cornerstone of this system is the registration of all those authorized by the DEA to handle controlled substances. All individuals and firms that are registered are required to maintain complete and accurate inventories and records of all transactions involving controlled substances, as well as security for the storage of controlled substances.
Treaty obligations
The Congressional findings in 21 USC §§ 801(7), 801a(2), and 801a(3) state that a major purpose of the CSA is to "enable the United States to meet all of its obligations" under international treaties. The CSA bears many resemblances to these Conventions. Both the CSA and the treaties set out a system for classifying controlled substances in several Schedules in accordance with the binding scientific and medical findings of a public health authority. Under 21 U.S.C. § 811 of the CSA, that authority is the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). Under Article 3 of the Single Convention and Article 2 of the Convention on Psychotropic Substances, the World Health Organization is that authority.
The domestic and international legal nature of these treaty obligations must be considered in light of the supremacy of the United States Constitution over treaties or acts and the equality of treaties and Congressional acts. In Reid v. Covert the Supreme Court of the United States addressed both these issues directly and clearly holding:
[N]o agreement with a foreign nation can confer power on the Congress, or on any other branch of Government, which is free from the restraints of the Constitution.
Article VI, the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, declares:
"This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof, and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; . . ."
There is nothing in this language which intimates that treaties and laws enacted pursuant to them do not have to comply with the provisions of the Constitution. Nor is there anything in the debates which accompanied the drafting and ratification of the Constitution which even suggests such a result. These debates, as well as the history that surrounds the adoption of the treaty provision in Article VI, make it clear that the reason treaties were not limited to those made in "pursuance" of the Constitution was so that agreements made by the United States under the Articles of Confederation, including the important peace treaties which concluded the Revolutionary War, would remain in effect. It would be manifestly contrary to the objectives of those who created the Constitution, as well as those who were responsible for the Bill of Rights—let alone alien to our entire constitutional history and tradition—to construe Article VI as permitting the United States to exercise power under an international agreement without observing constitutional prohibitions. In effect, such construction would permit amendment of that document in a manner not sanctioned by Article V. The prohibitions of the Constitution were designed to apply to all branches of the National Government, and they cannot be nullified by the Executive or by the Executive and the Senate combined.
There is nothing new or unique about what we say here. This Court has regularly and uniformly recognized the supremacy of the Constitution over a treaty. For example, in Geofroy v. Riggs, 133 U. S. 258, 133 U. S. 267, it declared:
"The treaty power, as expressed in the Constitution, is in terms unlimited except by those restraints which are found in that instrument against the action of the government or of its departments, and those arising from the nature of the government itself and of that of the States. It would not be contended that it extends so far as to authorize what the Constitution forbids, or a change in the character of the government, or in that of one of the States, or a cession of any portion of the territory of the latter, without its consent."
This Court has repeatedly taken the position that an Act of Congress, which must comply with the Constitution, is on a full parity with a treaty, and that, when a statute which is subsequent in time is inconsistent with a treaty, the statute to the extent of conflict renders the treaty null. It would be completely anomalous to say that a treaty need not comply with the Constitution when such an agreement can be overridden by a statute that must conform to that instrument.[19]
According to the Cato Institute, these treaties only bind (legally obligate) the United States to comply with them as long as that nation agrees to remain a state party to these treaties. The U.S. Congress and the President of the United States have the absolute sovereign right to withdraw from or abrogate at any time these two instruments, in accordance with said nation's Constitution, at which point these treaties will cease to bind that nation in any way, shape, or form.[20]
A provision for automatic compliance with treaty obligations is found at 21 U.S.C. § 811(d), which also establishes mechanisms for amending international drug control regulations to correspond with HHS findings on scientific and medical issues. If control of a substance is mandated by the Single Convention, the Attorney General is required to "issue an order controlling such drug under the schedule he deems most appropriate to carry out such obligations," without regard to the normal scheduling procedure or the findings of the HHS Secretary. However, the Secretary has great influence over any drug scheduling proposal under the Single Convention, because 21 U.S.C. § 811(d)(2)(B) requires the Secretary the power to "evaluate the proposal and furnish a recommendation to the Secretary of State which shall be binding on the representative of the United States in discussions and negotiations relating to the proposal."
Similarly, if the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs adds or transfers a substance to a Schedule established by the Convention on Psychotropic Substances, so that current U.S. regulations on the drug do not meet the treaty's requirements, the Secretary is required to issue a recommendation on how the substance should be scheduled under the CSA. If the Secretary agrees with the Commission's scheduling decision, he can recommend that the Attorney General initiate proceedings to reschedule the drug accordingly. If the HHS Secretary disagrees with the UN controls, however, the Attorney General must temporarily place the drug in Schedule IV or V (whichever meets the minimum requirements of the treaty) and exclude the substance from any regulations not mandated by the treaty, while the Secretary is required to request that the Secretary of State take action, through the Commission or the UN Economic and Social Council, to remove the drug from international control or transfer it to a different Schedule under the Convention. The temporary scheduling expires as soon as control is no longer needed to meet international treaty obligations.
This provision was invoked in 1984 to place Rohypnol (flunitrazepam) in Schedule IV. The drug did not then meet the Controlled Substances Act's criteria for scheduling; however, control was required by the Convention on Psychotropic Substances. In 1999, an FDA official explained to Congress:
Rohypnol is not approved or available for medical use in the United States, but it is temporarily controlled in Schedule IV pursuant to a treaty obligation under the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances. At the time flunitrazepam was placed temporarily in Schedule IV (November 5, 1984), there was no evidence of abuse or trafficking of the drug in the United States.[21]
The Cato Institute's Handbook for Congress calls for repealing the CSA, an action that would likely bring the United States into conflict with international law, were the United States not to exercise its sovereign right to withdraw from and/or abrogate the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and/or the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances prior to repealing the Controlled Substances Act.[20] The exception would be if the U.S. were to claim that the treaty obligations violate the United States Constitution. Many articles in these treaties—such as Article 35 and Article 36 of the Single Convention—are prefaced with phrases such as "Having due regard to their constitutional, legal and administrative systems, the Parties shall . . ." or "Subject to its constitutional limitations, each Party shall . . ." According to former United Nations Drug Control Programme Chief of Demand Reduction Cindy Fazey, "This has been used by the USA not to implement part of article 3 of the 1988 Convention, which prevents inciting others to use narcotic or psychotropic drugs, on the basis that this would be in contravention of their constitutional amendment guaranteeing freedom of speech".[22]
Schedules of controlled substances
Placing a drug or other substance in a certain Schedule or removing it from a certain Schedule is primarily based on 21 USC §§ 801, 801a, 802, 811, 812, 813, and 814. Every schedule otherwise requires finding and specifying the "potential for abuse" before a substance can be placed in that schedule.[23] The specific classification of any given drug or other substance is usually a source of controversy, as is the purpose and effectiveness of the entire regulatory scheme.
The term "controlled substance" means a drug or other substance, or immediate precursor, included in schedule I, II, III, IV, or V of part B of this subchapter. The term does not include distilled spirits, wine, malt beverages, or tobacco, as those terms are defined or used in subtitle E of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.
—21 U.S.C. § 802(6)[24]
Some have argued that this is an important exemption, since alcohol and tobacco are the two most widely used drugs in the United States.[25][26] Also of significance, the exclusion of alcohol includes wine which is sacramentally used by many major religious denominations in the United States.
Schedule I controlled substances
Main article: List of Schedule I drugs (US)
Schedule I substances are those that have the following findings: A. The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse. B. The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. C. There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.[27]
No prescriptions may be written for Schedule I substances, and such substances are subject to production quotas by the DEA.
Under the DEA's interpretation of the CSA, a drug does not necessarily have to have the same "high potential for abuse" as heroin, for example, to merit placement in Schedule I:
[W]hen it comes to a drug that is currently listed in schedule I, if it is undisputed that such drug has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision, and it is further undisputed that the drug has at least some potential for abuse sufficient to warrant control under the CSA, the drug must remain in schedule I. In such circumstances, placement of the drug in schedules II through V would conflict with the CSA since such drug would not meet the criterion of "a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States." 21 USC 812(b). (emphasis added)[28]
—Drug Enforcement Administration, Notice of denial of petition to reschedule marijuana (2001)
Sentences for first-time, non-violent offenders convicted of trafficking in Schedule I drugs can easily turn into de facto life sentences when multiple sales are prosecuted in one proceeding.[29] Sentences for violent offenders are much higher[citation needed].
Drugs in this schedule include: * αMT (alpha-methyltryptamine), an anti-depressant from the tryptamine family; first developed in the Soviet Union and marketed under the brand name Indopan. * BZP (benzylpiperazine), a synthetic stimulant once sold as a designer drug. It has been shown to be associated with an increase in seizures if taken alone.[30] Although the effects of BZP are not as potent as MDMA, it can produce neuroadaptions that can cause an increase in the potential for abuse of this drug.[31] * Cathinone, an amphetamine-like stimulant found in the shrub Catha edulis (khat). * DMT (dimethyltryptamine), a naturally-occurring psychedelic drug that is widespread throughout the plant kingdom and endogenous to the human body. DMT is the main psychoactive constituent in the psychedelic South American brew, ayahuasca, for which the UDV are granted exemption from DMT's schedule I status on the grounds of religious freedom. * Etorphine, a semi-synthetic opioid possessing an analgesic potency approximately 1,000–3,000 times that of morphine. * GHB, a general anaesthetic and treatment for narcolepsy-cataplexy and alcohol withdrawal with minimal side-effects[32] and controlled action but a limited safe dosage range. It was placed in Schedule I in March 2000 after widespread recreational use led to increased emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and deaths.[33] This drug is also listed in Schedule III for limited uses, under the trademark Xyrem. * Heroin (diacetylmorphine), which is used in some European countries as a potent pain reliever in terminal cancer patients, and as second option, after morphine (it is about twice as potent, by weight, as morphine). * LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), a semi-synthetic psychedelic drug famous for its involvement in the counterculture of the 1960s. * Marijuana and its cannabinoids. Pure (–)-trans-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol is also listed in Schedule III for limited uses, under the trademark Marinol. Ballot measures in several states such as Colorado, Washington, Oregon and others have made allowances for recreational and medical use of marijuana and/or have decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana – such measures operate only on state laws, and have no effect on Federal law. Despite such ballot measures, and multiple studies showing medicinal benefits, marijuana nevertheless remains on Schedule I, effective across all U.S. states and territories.[28][29] * MDMA ("ecstasy"), a stimulant, psychedelic, and entactogenic drug which initially garnered attention in psychedelic therapy as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The medical community originally agreed upon placing it as a Schedule III substance, but the government denied this suggestion, despite two court rulings by the DEA's administrative law judge that placing MDMA in Schedule I was illegal. It was temporarily unscheduled after the first administrative hearing from December 22, 1987 – July 1, 1988.[34] * Mescaline, a naturally-occurring psychedelic drug and the main psychoactive constituent of peyote (Lophophora williamsii), San Pedro cactus (Echinopsis pachanoi), and Peruvian torch cactus (Echinopsis peruviana). * Methaqualone (Quaalude, Sopor, Mandrax), a sedative that was previously used for similar purposes as barbiturates, until it was rescheduled. * Peyote (Lophophora williamsii), a cactus growing in nature primarily in northeastern Mexico; one of the few plants specifically scheduled, with a narrow exception to its legal status for religious use by members of the Native American Church. * Psilocybin and psilocin, naturally-occurring psychedelic drugs and the main psychoactive constituents of psilocybin mushrooms. * Controlled substance analogs intended for human consumption (as defined by the Federal Analog Act)
Schedule II controlled substances
Main article: List of Schedule II drugs (US)
Schedule II substances are those that have the following findings: A. The drug or other substances have a high potential for abuse B. The drug or other substances have currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, or currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions C. Abuse of the drug or other substances may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.[27]
Except when dispensed directly by a practitioner, other than a pharmacist, to an ultimate user, no controlled substance in Schedule II, which is a prescription drug as determined under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 USC 301 et seq.), may be dispensed without the written prescription of a practitioner, except that in emergency situations, as prescribed by the Secretary by regulation after consultation with the Attorney General, such drug may be dispensed upon oral prescription in accordance with section 503(b) of that Act (21 USC 353 (b)). With exceptions, an original prescription is always required even though faxing in a prescription in advance to a pharmacy by a prescriber is allowed.[35] Prescriptions shall be retained in conformity with the requirements of section 827 of this title. No prescription for a controlled substance in schedule II may be refilled.[36] Notably no emergency situation provisions exist outside the Controlled Substances Act's "closed system" although this closed system may be unavailable or nonfunctioning in the event of accidents in remote areas or disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes. Acts which would widely be considered morally imperative remain offenses subject to heavy penalties.[37]
These drugs vary in potency: for example fentanyl is about 80 times as potent as morphine (heroin is roughly four times as potent). More significantly, they vary in nature. Pharmacology and CSA scheduling have a weak relationship.
Because refills of prescriptions for Schedule II substances are not allowed, it can be burdensome to both the practitioner and the patient if the substances are to be used on a long-term basis. To provide relief, in 2007, 21 C.F.R. 1306.12 was amended (at 72 FR 64921) to allow practitioners to write up to three prescriptions at once, to provide up to a 90-day supply, specifying on each the earliest date on which it may be filled.[38]
Drugs in this schedule include: * Cocaine (used as a topical anesthetic) * Methylphenidate (Ritalin), Methylphenidate HCl (Concerta), and Dexmethylphenidate (Focalin): treatment of ADHD, narcolepsy, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome * Amphetamine (originally placed on Schedule III, but moved to Schedule II in 1971): treatment of ADHD, narcolepsy * Amphetamine mixed salts (Adderall), Dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine) and Lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse): treatment of ADHD, narcolepsy * Methamphetamine and Dextromethamphetamine (Desoxyn): treatment of ADHD, obesity * Opium and opium tincture (Laudanum): treatment as a potent antidiarrheal * Fentanyl and most other strong pure opioid agonists, i.e. levorphanol, opium * Methadone: treatment of heroin addiction, extreme chronic pain * Oxycodone (semi-synthetic opioid; active ingredient in Percocet, OxyContin, and Percodan) * Oxymorphone (semi-synthetic opioid; active ingredient in Opana) * Morphine * Hydromorphone (semi-synthetic opioid; active ingredient in Dilaudid, Palladone) * Pure codeine and any drug for non-parenteral administration containing the equivalent of more than 90 mg of codeine per dosage unit; * Hydrocodone In any formulation as of October 2014 (Examples include Vicodin, Lortab, Norco, Tussionex); * Secobarbital (Seconal) * Pethidine (USAN: Meperidine; Demerol) * Pure diphenoxylate * Phencyclidine (PCP); * Short-acting barbiturates, such as pentobarbital, Nembutal; * Nabilone (Cesamet) A synthetic cannabinoid. An analogue to dronabinol (Marinol) which is a Schedule III drug. * Tapentadol (Nucynta) A drug with mixed opioid agonist and norepinepherine re-uptake inhibitor activity.
Schedule III controlled substances
Main article: List of Schedule III drugs (US)
Schedule III substances are those that have the following findings: A. The drug or other substance has a potential for abuse less than the drugs or other substances in schedules I and II. B. The drug or other substance has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. C. Abuse of the drug or other substance may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence.[27]
Except when dispensed directly by a practitioner, other than a pharmacist, to an ultimate user, no controlled substance in schedule III or IV, which is a prescription drug as determined under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 USC 301 et seq.), may be dispensed without a written or oral prescription in conformity with section 503(b) of that Act (21 USC 353 (b)). Such prescriptions may not be filled or refilled more than six months after the date thereof or be refilled more than five times after the date of the prescription unless renewed by the practitioner.[36] A prescription for controlled substances in Schedules III, IV, and V issued by a practitioner, may be communicated either orally, in writing, or by facsimile to the pharmacist, and may be refilled if so authorized on the prescription or by call-in.[35] Control of wholesale distribution is somewhat less stringent than Schedule II drugs. Provisions for emergency situations are less restrictive within the "closed system" of the Controlled Substances Act than for Schedule II though no schedule has provisions to address circumstances where the closed system is unavailable, nonfunctioning or otherwise inadequate.
Drugs in this schedule include: * Anabolic steroids (including prohormones such as androstenedione); the specific end molecule testosterone in many of its forms (Androderm, AndroGel,Testosterone Cypionate and Testosterone Enanthate)are labeled as scheduled III while low-dose testosterone when compounded with estrogen derivatives have been exempted (from scheduling) by the FDA[39] * Intermediate-acting barbiturates, such as talbutal or butalbital; * Buprenorphine (semi-synthetic opioid; active in Suboxone, Subutex) * Dihydrocodeine when compounded with other substances, to a certain dosage and concentration. * Ketamine, a drug originally developed as a safer, shorter-acting replacement for PCP (mainly for use as a human anesthetic) but has since become popular as a veterinary and pediatric anesthetic; * Xyrem, a preparation of GHB used to treat narcolepsy. Xyrem is in Schedule III but with a restricted distribution system. All other forms of GHB are in Schedule I; * Marinol, synthetically prepared tetrahydrocannabinol (officially referred to by its INN, dronabinol) used to treat nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, as well as appetite loss caused by AIDS; * Paregoric, an antidiarrheal and anti-tussive, which contains opium combined with camphor (which makes it less addiction-prone than laudanum, which is in Schedule II); * Phendimetrazine Tartrate, a stimulant synthesized for use as an anorexiant; * Benzphetamine HCl (Didrex), a stimulant designed for use as an anorexiant; * Fast-acting barbiturates such as secobarbital (Seconal) and pentobarbital (Nembutal), when combined with one or more additional active ingredient(s) not in Schedule II (e.g., Carbrital (no longer marketed), a combination of pentobarbital and carbromal). * Ergine (lysergic acid amide), listed as a sedative but considered by some to be psychedelic.[40][41] An inefficient precursor to its N,N-diethyl analogue, LSD, ergine occurs naturally in the seeds of the common garden flowers Turbina corymbosa, Ipomoea tricolor, and Argyreia nervosa.

Schedule IV controlled substances
Main article: List of Schedule IV drugs (US)
"Placement on schedules; findings required Schedule IV substances are those that have the following findings: A. The drug or other substance has a low potential for abuse relative to the drugs or other substances in schedule III B. The drug or other substance has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States C. Abuse of the drug or other substance may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to the drugs or other substances in schedule III[27]
Control measures are similar to Schedule III. Prescriptions for Schedule IV drugs may be refilled up to five times within a six-month period. A prescription for controlled substances in Schedules III, IV, and V issued by a practitioner, may be communicated either orally, in writing, or by facsimile to the pharmacist, and may be refilled if so authorized on the prescription or by call-in.[35]
Drugs in this schedule include: * Benzodiazepines, such as alprazolam (Xanax), chlordiazepoxide (Librium), clonazepam (Klonopin), diazepam (Valium); Lorazepam (Ativan): * temazepam (Restoril) (note that some states require specially coded prescriptions for temazepam); * flunitrazepam (Rohypnol) (note that flunitrazepam is not used medically in the United States); * The benzodiazepine-like Z-drugs: zolpidem (Ambien), zopiclone (Imovane), eszopiclone (Lunesta), and zaleplon (Sonata) (zopiclone is not commercially available in the U.S.); * Chloral hydrate, a sedative-hypnotic; * Long-acting barbiturates such as phenobarbital; * Some partial agonist opioid analgesics, such as pentazocine (Talwin); * The stimulant-like drug modafinil (sold in the U.S. as Provigil) as well as its (R)-enantiomer armodafinil (sold in the U.S. as Nuvigil); * Difenoxin, an antidiarrheal drug, such as when combined with atropine (Motofen) (difenoxin is 2–3 times more potent than diphenoxylate, the active ingredient in Lomotil, which is in Schedule V); * Tramadol (Ultram); * Soma (carisoprodol) has become a Schedule IV medication as of 11 January 2012[42]
Schedule V controlled substances
Main article: List of Schedule V drugs (US)
Schedule V substances are those that have the following findings: A. The drug or other substance has a low potential for abuse relative to the drugs or other substances in schedule IV B. The drug or other substance has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States C. Abuse of the drug or other substance may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to the drugs or other substances in schedule IV.[27]
No controlled substance in schedule V which is a drug may be distributed or dispensed other than for a medical purpose.[36] A prescription for controlled substances in Schedules III, IV, and V issued by a practitioner, may be communicated either orally, in writing, or by facsimile to the pharmacist, and may be refilled if so authorized on the prescription or by call-in.[35]
Drugs in this schedule include: * Cough suppressants containing small amounts of codeine (e.g., promethazine+codeine); * Preparations containing small amounts of opium or diphenoxylate (used to treat diarrhea); * Some anticonvulsants, such as pregabalin (Lyrica), lacosamide (Vimpat) and retigabine (ezogabine) (Potiga/Trobalt); * Pyrovalerone (used to treat chronic fatigue and as an appetite suppressant for weight loss); * Some centrally-acting antidiarrheals, such as diphenoxylate (Lomotil) when mixed with atropine (to make it unpleasant for people to grind up, cook, and inject). Difenoxin with atropine (Motofen) has been moved to Schedule IV. Without atropine, these drugs are in Schedule II.
Federal regulation of pseudoephedrine and ephedrine
See also: Pseudoephedrine → National Legislation → United States
Due to pseudoephedrine (PSE) and ephedrine being widely used in the manufacture of methamphetamine, the U.S. Congress passed the Methamphetamine Precursor Control Act which places restrictions on the sale of any medicine containing pseudoephedrine. That bill was then superseded by the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005, which was passed as an amendment to the Patriot Act renewal and included wider and more comprehensive restrictions on the sale of PSE-containing products. This law requires[43] customer signature of a "log-book" and presentation of valid photo ID in order to purchase PSE-containing products from all retailers.[44]
Additionally, the law restricts an individual to the retail purchase of no more than three packages or 3.6 grams of such product per day per purchase – and no more than 9 grams in a single month. A violation of this statute constitutes a misdemeanor. Retailers now commonly require PSE-containing products to be sold behind the pharmacy or service counter. This affects many preparations which were previously available over-the-counter without restriction, such as Actifed and its generic equivalents.
Alternatives to scheduling
The UK Science and Technology Select Committee published a 2006 report which suggested that the current system of recreational drug classification in the UK was arbitrary and unscientific and that a more scientific measure of harm should be used for classifying drugs. The new classification system suggested that heroin, cocaine, alcohol, benzodiazepines, methamphetamine, and tobacco have a high or a very high risk of harm or abuse potential, whilst cannabis, LSD, and Ecstasy were all below the two legal drugs in harm or abuse potential.[45]
A 2007 report by the The Lancet, in the UK published a journal about researchers having introduced an alternative method for drug classification.[46] This new system uses a "nine category matrix of harm, with an expert Delphic procedure, to assess the harms of a range of illicit drugs in an evidence-based fashion." The new classification system suggested that alcohol and tobacco were in the mid-range of harm, while cannabis, LSD, and MDMA were all less harmful than the two legal drugs.[47]
There has been criticism against the schedule classifications of the listed drugs and substances in the CSA, citing undefined terms.[2][3] Some criticism has arisen due to research that has found several substances on the list of schedule I drugs have medical uses and low abuse potential, despite a schedule I listing requiring that a drug has both a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use.[48][49] One such example is the legalization of medical marijuana in over 20 states
Drug laws and drug crimes have gotten lots of attention in the past decade. Laws in every state and at the federal level prohibit the possession, manufacture, and sale of certain controlled substances -- including drugs like marijuana, methamphetamine, ecstasy, cocaine, and heroin. (For more on a related topic, see Substance Abuse Treatment for Defendants Facing Drug and Other Charges.)
Putting aside political arguments over the so-called "war on drugs," it isn't hard to see why controlled substances are the focus of so much attention from legislators and law enforcement. It's estimated that drug and alcohol abuse costs society over $110 billion a year -- through accidental death and injuries, health care, dependency treatment, criminal behavior, and more. (To read about a shift in the federal government’s approach to drug crime under President Obama, see the blog post Morally Mandatory.)
Illegal Drugs vs. Legal Drugs
The legality of a drug often depends on how it is being used -- or what it is being used for. For example, amphetamines are used to treat attention deficit disorder, barbiturates help treat anxiety, and marijuana can help alleviate cancer-induced nausea. But unprescribed and unsupervised use of these substances (and many others) is thought to present a danger to individuals and to society in general. So, for decades, lawmakers have stepped in to regulate the use, abuse, manufacture, and sale of illegal drugs.
Federal, State, and Local Drug Laws
Though there is a longstanding federal strategy in place to combat the abuse and distribution of controlled substances, each state also has its own set of drug laws. One key difference between the two is that while the majority of federal drug convictions are obtained for trafficking, the majority of local and state arrests are made on charges of possession. Out of these state and local arrests, over half are for the possession of marijuana.
Another difference between federal and state drug laws is the severity of consequences after a conviction. Federal drug charges generally carry harsher punishments and longer sentences. State arrests for simple possession (i.e. possession without intent to distribute the drug) tend to be charged as misdemeanors and usually involve probation, a short term in a local jail, or a fine -- depending on the criminal history and age of the person being charged.
Get More information about drug laws
To learn more about the laws and penalties associated with drug use and possession as well as state specific drug possession laws, see Drug Possession Laws & Drug Charges.
Drug Crimes: Charges and Terminology
In both the federal and state criminal justice systems, most of the cases stem from charges of possession, manufacturing, or trafficking of controlled substances. Below you'll find a brief overview of these offenses, as well as an explanation of some key terms related to drug crimes.
Controlled Substance
When a federal or state government classifies a certain substance as "controlled," it generally means that the use and distribution of the substance is governed by law. Controlled substances are often classified at different levels or "schedules" under federal and state statutes. For example, under the federal Controlled Substances Act, marijuana is listed as a "Schedule I controlled substance," cocaine is listed under Schedule II, anabolic steroids under Schedule III, and so on. The list includes a number of medications that are fairly common -- you'll find cough medicine containing low levels of codeine classified under Schedule V.
Distribution and Trafficking
As a drug charge, "distribution" usually means that a person is accused of selling, delivering, or providing controlled substances illegally. This charge is often used if someone tries to sell drugs to an undercover officer. Trafficking generally refers to the illegal sale and/or distribution of a controlled substance. Despite the name, trafficking has less to do with whether the drugs cross state lines, and more to do with the amount of drugs involved.
The consequences of a conviction for distribution and trafficking vary significantly depending on: * the type and amount of the controlled substances(s) involved * the location where the defendant was apprehended (for example, bringing an illegal substance into the country carries higher penalties, as does distributing drugs near a school or college), and * the defendant's criminal history.
Sentences for distribution and trafficking generally range from 3 years and a significant fine to life in prison -- with trafficking carrying higher sentences.
Under federal and state drug laws, the government can charge a person for playing a part in the cultivation or manufacture of a controlled substance. Cultivation includes growing, possessing, or producing naturally occurring elements in order to make illegal controlled substances. These elements include cannabis seeds, marijuana plants, etc. A person can also be charged for producing or creating illegal controlled substances through chemical processes or in a laboratory. Substances created this way include LSD, cocaine, methamphetamine, etc.
The most common drug charge -- especially in arrests made under local drug laws -- involves possession of a controlled substance. Generally, for a possession conviction, the government (usually in the form of a district attorney) must prove that the accused person: * knowingly and intentionally possessed a controlled substance * without a valid prescription, and * in a quantity sufficient for personal use or sale.
A possession charge can be based on actual or "constructive" possession of a controlled substance. Constructive possession means that even if the defendant doesn't actually have the drugs on their person (in a pocket, for example), a possession charge is still possible if the defendant had access to and control over the place where the drugs were found (a locker, for example). This is important to note because, unlike DUI/DWI laws, the government does not have to actually prove that someone is using a controlled substance in order to charge them with possession. The theory of constructive possession is often used when illegal drugs are found in a car during a traffic stop.
It is also usually illegal to possess paraphernalia associated with drug use, such as syringes, cocaine pipes, scales, etc. In fact, being found in possession of these objects -- without any actual drugs -- may be enough for a person to be charged with a misdemeanor or felony.
Drug charges often start with possession, but then overlap with other offenses. For example, if the police find marijuana plants in X's storage room, X can be charged with possession of the marijuana and of cultivation equipment. If the amount of the plants is large enough, X can also face distribution, trafficking, or manufacturing charges.
Charges for simple possession are often less serious than charges for possession with an intent to distribute. The difference here does not necessarily turn on an actual intent to distribute, but on the amount of the substance found in the defendant's possession (i.e. smaller amounts are usually charged as misdemeanors, while larger amounts can be used to suggest felony possession with an intent to distribute).
Diversion. Many states allow diversion for first-time offenders charged with simple possession of illegal drugs. Diversion allows offenders to maintain a clean criminal record by pleading guilty and then completing a prescribed substance abuse program and not committing additional offenses. At the conclusion of the diversionary period (18 months is common) the guilty please is vacated, the case is dismissed, and the offender can legally claim never to have been arrested or convicted of a crime.
"Search and Seizure" Laws
The most common defense to a drug charge -- especially drug possession charges -- is a claim that a police officer overstepped search and seizure laws in detaining a person and obtaining evidence. If a defendant in a criminal case (usually through a criminal defense attorney) can prove that the police violated the defendant's Fourth Amendment rights in finding and seizing drug evidence, that evidence may not be admissible in a criminal case against the defendant. (To learn more about illegal search and seizure and your Fourth Amendment rights, see Nolo's article Understanding Search and Seizure Law.)
Illegal drug trade
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"Drug dealer" redirects here. For the legal drug trade, see Legal drug trade. | [hide]This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. | This article may be unbalanced towards certain viewpoints. (February 2010) | This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. (March 2011) | | |

International drug routes
Drug dealing is the exchange of illegal drugs for payment. The illegal drug trade is a global black market dedicated to the cultivation, manufacture, distribution and sale of drugs that are subject to drug prohibition laws. Most jurisdictions prohibit trade, except under license, of many types of drugs through the use of drug prohibition laws.
A UN report has stated that "the global drug trade generated an estimated US$321.6 billion in 2003."[1] With a world GDP of US$36 trillion in the same year, the illegal drug trade may be estimated as nearly 1% of total global trade. Consumption of illegal drugs is widespread globally.
* 1 History * 2 Legal penalties * 3 Effects of the illegal drug trade on societies * 3.1 Violent crime * 4 Illegal cocaine trade via West Africa * 5 Main drug trafficking route in Asia * 6 Online * 7 Profits * 8 Drug cartels in the Western Hemisphere * 8.1 Background * 8.2 The United States * 8.2.1 Background * 8.2.2 Political impact * 8.2.3 Social impacts * Demographics * 8.2.4 Political influences * 8.2.5 Mexico's economy * 8.2.6 Culture of drug cartels * 8.3 Colombia * 8.3.1 Political ties * 8.3.2 Colombia's economy * 8.3.3 Social impacts * 9 Trade in specific drugs * 9.1 Cannabis * 9.2 Alcohol * 9.3 Heroin * 9.4 Methamphetamine * 9.5 Temazepam * 10 See also * 11 References * 12 External links
See also: History of opium in China
Chinese edicts against opium smoking were made in 1729, 1796 and 1800.[2] Addictive drugs were prohibited in the west in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.[3][4][5]
In the early 19th century, an illegal drug trade in China emerged. The Chinese government retaliated by enforcing a ban on the import of opium that led to the First Opium War (1839–1842) between Great Britain and Qing dynasty China. Chinese authorities had banned opium, but the United Kingdom forced China to allow British merchants to trade opium. Trading in opium was lucrative, and smoking opium had become common in the 19th Century, so British merchants increased trade with the Chinese. As a result of this illegal trade, by 1838 the number of Chinese opium addicts had grown to between four and twelve million.[6] The Second Opium War broke out in 1856, with the British joined this time by the French. After the two opium wars, the British Crown, via the treaties of Nanking and Tianjin, took large sums of money from the Chinese government through this illegal trade[clarification needed], which were referred to as "reparations".
In 1868, as a result of the increased use of opium, the UK restricted the sale of opium in Britain by implementing the 1868 Pharmacy Act.[7] In the United States, control of opium was a state responsibility until the introduction of the Harrison Act in 1914, following the passing of the International Opium Convention in 1912.
Between 1920 and 1933, alcohol was banned in the United States. This law was considered to have been very difficult to enforce and resulted in the growth of many criminal organizations, including the modern American Mafia.[8][9]
The Australian Crime Commission's illicit drug data report for 2011–2012 was released in Western Sydney on 20 May 2013, and revealed that the seizures of illegal substances in Australia during the reporting period were the largest in a decade, due to record interceptions of amphetamines, cocaine and steroids.[10]
The beginning of the 21st century saw a drug use increase in North America and Europe, with a particularly increased demand for marijuana and cocaine.[11][12] As a result, international organized crime syndicates such as the Sinaloa Cartel and 'Ndrangheta have increased cooperation among each other in order to facilitate trans-Atlantic drug trafficking.[13] Another illicit drug with increased demand in Europe is hashish, which is generally smuggled from Morocco to Spain, where it is later exported to its final markets (mostly France and Western Europe).[14][15]
The UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), the chief drug policymaking body of the United Nations, held its annual meeting in Vienna, Austria in mid-March 2014, following a period of historic drug policy reforms throughout the world—such as the decision of the Uruguay government to become the first national jurisdiction in the world to legalize cannabis.[16] The International Drug Policy Consortium stated in the lead-up to the meeting that "[t]he meeting itself is likely to feature standoffs between reform-oriented countries and governments that favour failed criminal justice models, which have resulted in mass incarceration and rampant human rights abuses such as the death penalty for non-violent drug offences." The support of drug policy reform by Joanne Csete, deputy director of the Open Society Global Drug Policy Program, was also published in the consortium's media release that “[t]here will be no shortage of governments that seek to bury their heads in the sand and pretend these drug policy reforms aren’t happening. But try as they might, the movement for drug law reform is unstoppable.”[17]
Legal penalties
See also: Capital punishment for drug trafficking
Drug trafficking is widely regarded by lawmakers as a serious offense around the world. Penalties often depend on the type of drug (and its classification in the country into which it is being trafficked), the quantity trafficked, where the drugs are sold and how they are distributed. If the drugs are sold to underage people, then the penalties for trafficking may be harsher than in other circumstances.
Drug smuggling carries severe penalties in many countries. Sentencing may include lengthy periods of incarceration, flogging and even the death penalty (in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and elsewhere). In December 2005, Van Tuong Nguyen, a 25 year old Australian drug smuggler, was hanged in Singapore after being convicted in March 2004.[18] In 2010, two people were sentenced to death in Malaysia for trafficking 1 kilogram (2.2 lb) of cannabis into the country.[19] Execution is mostly used as a deterrent, and many have called upon much more effective measures to be taken by countries to tackle drug trafficking,[20] such as for example targeting specific criminal organisations (which are often also active in the smuggling of other goods (i.e. wildlife) and even people[21][22] In some cases, even links between politicians and the criminal organisations have been proven to exist.[23]
Effects of the illegal drug trade on societies
The countries of drug production and transit are some of the most affected by the drug trade, though countries receiving the illegally imported substances are also adversely affected. For example, Ecuador has absorbed up to 300,000 refugees from Colombia who are running from guerrillas, paramilitaries and drug lords. While some applied for asylum, others are still illegal immigrants. The drugs that pass from Colombia through Ecuador to other parts of South America create economic and social problems.[24]
Honduras, through which an estimated 79% of cocaine passes on its way to the United States,[25] has the highest murder rate in the world.[26] According to the International Crisis Group, the most violent regions in Central America, particularly along the Guatemala–Honduras border, are highly correlated with an abundance of drug trafficking activity.[27]
Violent crime

Jamaican drug lord Christopher Coke being escorted by DEA agents
In many countries worldwide, the illegal drug trade is thought to be directly linked to violent crimes such as murder. This is especially true in developing countries, such as Honduras, but is also an issue for many developed countries worldwide.[28][29] In the late 1990s in the United States the Federal Bureau of Investigation estimated that 5% of murders were drug-related.[28]
After a crackdown by US and Mexican authorities in the first decade of the 21st century as part of tightened border security in the wake of the September 11 attacks, border violence inside Mexico surged. The Mexican government estimates that 90% of the killings are drug-related.[30]
A report by the UK government's Drug Strategy Unit that was leaked to the press, stated that due to the expensive price of highly addictive drugs heroin and cocaine, drug use was responsible for the great majority of crime, including 85% of shoplifting, 70-80% of burglaries and 54% of robberies. It concluded that "[t]he cost of crime committed to support illegal cocaine and heroin habits amounts to £16 billion a year in the UK" [31]
Illegal cocaine trade via West Africa
Cocaine produced in Colombia and Bolivia increasingly has been shipped via West Africa (especially in Cape Verde, Mali, Benin, Togo, Nigeria, Cameroon, Guinea-Bissau and Ghana).[32] The money is often laundered in countries such as Nigeria, Ghana and Senegal.
Cargo planes are now also used for transport from the production countries to West Africa. Before this, cocaine was only shipped to the US.[clarification needed] Because the market became saturated there, illicit drug traders decided to increase shipping to Europe. When these new drug routes were uncovered by authorities, West Africa was chosen as a stop-over. In 2005, police[where?] intercepted a major cocaine shipment for the first time.
According to the Africa Economic Institute, the value of illicit drug smuggling in Guinea-Bissau is almost twice the value of the country's GDP.[32] Police officers are often bribed. A police officer's normal monthly wage of €75($95) is less than 2% of the value of 1 kilogram (2.2 lb) of cocaine (€7000 or $8958).[citation needed] The money can also be laundered using real estate. A house is built using illegal funds, and when the house is sold, legal money is earned.[33] When drugs are sent over land, through the Sahara, the drug traders have been forced to cooperate with terrorist organizations, such as Al Qaida in Islamic Maghreb.[34][35]
Main drug trafficking route in Asia
A large amount of drugs are smuggled into Europe from Asia. The main source of these drugs is Afghanistan. Farmers in Afghanistan produce drugs which are smuggled into the West and central Asia. Iran is a main route for smugglers. The Border Police Chief of Iran says his country "is a strong barrier against the trafficking of illegal drugs to Caucasus, especially the Republic of Azerbaijan."[36]
In South Asia drug smuggling is considered to be Organized business. From two decades, it is rapidly increasing. It makes UNODC (United Nations Office on Drug and Crime) and INCB (International Narcotic Control Board)officials tensed. India shares 4096 km border with Bangladesh.
Drugs are increasingly trade on-line on the Dark Web on Darknet markets.[37]

US$207 million and additional amounts in other currencies were confiscated from Mexican Zhenli Ye Gon in 2007.

Hashish seized in Operation Albatross, a joint operation of Afghan officials NATO and the DEA
Statistics about profits from the drug trade are largely unknown due to its illicit nature. In its 1997 World Drugs Report the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimated the value of the market at $4 trillion, ranking drugs alongside arms and oil among the world's largest traded goods.[38] An online report published by the UK Home Office in 2007 estimated the illicit drug market in the UK at £4–6.6 billion a year[39]
In December 2009 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa claimed illegal drug money saved the banking industry from collapse. He claimed he had seen evidence that the proceeds of organized crime were "the only liquid investment capital" available to some banks on the brink of collapse during 2008. He said that a majority of the $352 billion (£216bn) of drug profits was absorbed into the economic system as a result:
"In many instances, the money from drugs was the only liquid investment capital. In the second half of 2008, liquidity was the banking system's main problem and hence liquid capital became an important factor...Inter-bank loans were funded by money that originated from the drugs trade and other illegal activities...there were signs that some banks were rescued that way".[40]
Costa declined to identify countries or banks that may have received any drug money, saying that would be inappropriate because his office is supposed to address the problem, not apportion blame.
Drug cartels in the Western Hemisphere
Main article: Drug cartel
See also: Drug trafficking organizations
There are several arguments on whether or not free trade has a correlation to an increased activity in the illicit drug trade. Currently, the structure and operation of the illicit drug industry is described mainly in terms of an international division of labor.[41] Free trade can open new markets to domestic producers who would otherwise resort to exporting illicit drugs. Additionally, extensive free trade among states increases cross-border drug enforcement and coordination between law enforcement agencies in different countries.[41] However, free trade also increases the sheer volume of legal cross-border trade and provides cover for drug smuggling—by providing ample opportunity to conceal illicit cargo in legal trade. While international free trade continues to expand the volume of legal trade, the ability to detect and interdict drug trafficking is severely diminished. Towards the late 1990s, the top ten seaports in the world processed 33.6 million containers.[41] Free trade has fostered integration of financial markets and has provided drug traffickers with more opportunities to launder money and invest in other activities. This strengthens the drug industry while weakening the efforts of law enforcement to monitor the flow of drug money into the legitimate economy. Cooperation among cartels expands their scope to distant markets and strengthens their abilities to evade detection by local law enforcement.[41] Additionally, criminal organizations work together to coordinate money-laundering activities by having separate organizations handle specific stages of laundering process.[41] One organization structures the process of how financial transactions will be laundered, while another criminal group provides the “dirty” money to be cleaned.[41] By fostering expansion of trade and global transportation networks, free trade encourages cooperation and formation of alliances among criminal organizations across different countries. The drug trade in Latin America emerged in the early 1930s.[42] It saw significant growth in the Andean countries, including Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Colombia and Argentina.[42] The underground market in the early half of the 20th century mainly had ties to Europe. After World War II, the Andean countries saw an expansion of trade, specifically with cocaine.[42]
The United States
The effects of the illegal drug trade in the United States can be seen in a range of political, economic and social aspects. Increasing drug related violence can be tied to the racial tension that arose during the late 20th century along with the political upheaval prevalent throughout the 1960s and 70s. The second half of the 20th century was a period when increased wealth, and increased discretionary spending, increased the demand for illicit drugs in certain areas of the United States.
Political impact
A large generation, the baby boomers, came of age in the 1960s. Their social tendency to confront the law on specific issues, including illegal drugs, overwhelmed the understaffed judicial system. The federal government attempted to enforce the law, but with meager affect.[citation needed]
Marijuana was a popular drug seen through the Latin American trade route in the 1960s. Cocaine became a major drug product in the later decades.[43] Much of the cocaine is smuggled from Colombia and Mexico via Jamaica.[44] This led to several administrations combating the popularity of these drugs. Due to the influence of this development on the U.S. economy, the Reagan Administration began "certifying" countries for their attempts at controlling drug trafficking.[43] This allowed the US to intervene in activities related to illegal drug transport in Latin America. Continuing into the 1980s, the United States instated stricter policy pertaining to drug transit through sea. As a result, there was an influx in drug-trafficking across the Mexico–US border.[43] This increased the drug cartel activity in Mexico.[43] By the early 1990s, so much as 50% of the cocaine available in the United States market originated from Mexico, and by the 2000s, over 90% of the cocaine in the United States was imported from Mexico.[43] In Colombia, however, there was a fall of the major drug cartels in the mid-1990s. Visible shifts occurred in the drug market in the United States. Between the years 1996 and 2000, US consumption of cocaine had dropped by 11%.[45]
In 2008, the United States government initiated another program, known as The Merida Initiative, to help combat drug trafficking in Mexico. This program increased US security assistance to $1.4bn over several years, which helped supply Mexican forces with "high-end equipment from helicopters to surveillance technology."[46] Despite US aid, Mexican "narcogangs" continue to outnumber and outgun the Mexican Army, allowing for continued activities of drug cartels across the US-Mexico border.[46]
Social impacts
Although narcotics are illegal in the US, they have become integrated into the nation's culture and are seen as a recreational activity by sections of the population.[47] Illicit drugs are considered to be a commodity with strong demand, as they are typically sold at a high value. This high price is caused by a combination of factors that include the potential legal ramifications that exist for suppliers of illicit drugs and their high demand.[48] Despite the constant effort by politicians to win the war on drugs, the US is still the world’s largest importer of illegal drugs.[48]
Throughout the 20th century, narcotics other than cocaine also crossed the Mexican border, meeting the US demand for alcohol during 1920s Prohibition, opiates in the 1940s, marijuana in the 1960s, and heroin in the 1970s.[49] Most of the U.S. imports of drugs come from Mexican drug cartels. In the United States, around 195 cities have been infiltrated by drug trafficking that originated in Mexico.[47] An estimated $10bn of the Mexican drug cartel’s profits come from the United States, not only supplying the Mexican drug cartels with the profit necessary for survival, but also furthering America's economic dependence on drugs.[47]
With a large wave of immigrants in the 1960s and onwards, the United States saw an increased heterogeneity in its public.[50] In the 1980s and 90s, drug related homicide was at a record high. This increase in drug violence became increasingly tied to these ethnic minorities. Though the rate of violence varied tremendously among cities in America, it was a common anxiety in communities across urban America. An example of this could be seen in Miami, a city with a host of ethnic enclaves.[50] Between 1985 and 1995, the homicide rate in Miami was one of the highest in the nation—four times the national homicide average. This crime rate was correlated with regions with low employment and was not entirely dependent on ethnicity.[50]
The baby boomer generation also felt the effects of the drug trade in their increased drug use from the 1960s to 80s.[51] Along with substance abuse, criminal involvement, suicide and murder were also on the rise. Due to the large amount of baby boomers, commercial marijuana use was on the rise. This increased the supply and demand for marijuana during this time period.[51]
Political influences
Corruption in Mexico has contributed to the domination of Mexican cartels in the illicit drug trade. Since the beginning of the 20th century, Mexico's political environment allowed the growth of drug-related activity. The loose regulation over the transportation of illegal drugs and the failure to prosecute known drug traffickers and gangs increased the growth of the drug industry. Toleration of drug trafficking has undermined the authority of the Mexican government and has decreased the power of law enforcement officers in regulation over such activities. These policies of tolerance fostered the growing power of drug cartels in the Mexican economy and have made drug traders wealthier.[52] Many states in Mexico lack policies that establish stability in governance. There also is a lack of local stability, as mayors cannot be re-elected. This requires electing a new mayor each term. Drug gangs have manipulated this, using vacuums in local leadership to their own advantage.[43]
In 1929, The Institutional Revolutionary Party(PRI) was formed to resolve the chaos resulting from the Mexican Revolution. Over time, this party gained political influence and had a major impact on Mexico's social and economic policies.[43] The party created ties with various groups as a power play in order to gain influence, and as a result created more corruption in the government. One such power play was an alliance with drug traffickers. This political corruption obscured justice, making it difficult to identify violence when it related to drugs.[53] By the 1940s, the tie between the drug cartels and the PRI had solidified. This arrangement created immunity for the leaders of the drug cartels and allowed drug trafficking to grow under the protection of the government officials. During the 1990s, the PRI lost some elections to the new National Action Party(PAN). Chaos again emerged as elected government in Mexico changed drastically.[54] As the PAN party took control, drug cartel leaders took advantage of the ensuing confusion and used their existing influence to further gain power.[54] Instead of negotiating with the central government as was done with the PRI party, drug cartels utilized new ways to distribute their supply and continued operating through force and intimidation.[54] As Mexico became more democratized, the corruption fell from a centralized power to the local authorities.[54] Cartels began to bribe local authorities, thus eliminating the structure and rules placed by the government—giving cartels more freedom.[54] As a response, Mexico saw an increase in violence caused by drug trafficking.
The corruption cartels created resulted in distrust of government by the Mexican public.[54] This distrust became more prominent after the collapse of the PRI party.[54] In response, the presidents of Mexico, in the late twentieth century and early twenty-first century, implemented several different programs relating to law enforcement and regulation. In 1993, President Salinas created the National Institute for the Combat of Drugs in Mexico. From 1995–1998, President Zedillo established policies regarding increased punishment of organized crime, allowing "[wire taps], protected witnesses, covert agents and seizures of goods", and increasing the quality of law enforcement at the federal level. From 2001–2005, President Vicente Fox created the Federal Agency of Investigation.[52] These policies resulted in the arrests of major drug-trafficking bosses: Arrested Drug Traffickers | Year | Person | Cartel | 1989 | Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo | Sinaloa Cartel | 1993 | Joaquín Guzmán Loera | Sinaloa Cartel | 1995 | Héctor Luis Palma | | 1996 | Juan Garcia Abrego | Gulf Cartel | 2002 | Ismael Higuera Guerrero[52] | Tijuana Cartel | | Jesus Labra | Tijuana Cartel | | Adan Amezcua | Colima Cartel | | Benjamin Arellano Felix | Tijuana Cartel | 2003 | Osiel Cardenas[52] | Gulf Cartel |
Mexico's economy
Over the past few decades drug cartels have become integrated into Mexico’s economy. Approximately 500 cities are directly engaged in drug trafficking and nearly 450,000 people are employed by drug cartels.[54] Additionally, the livelihood of 3.2 million people is dependent on the drug cartels.[54] Between local and international sales, such as to Europe and the United States, drug cartels in Mexico see a $25–30bn yearly profit, a great deal of which circulates through international banks such as HSBC.[54] Drug cartels are fundamental in local economics. A percentage of the profits seen from the trade are invested in the local community.[54] Such profits contribute to the education and healthcare of the community.[54] While these cartels bring violence and hazards into communities, they create jobs and provide income for its many members.[54]
Culture of drug cartels
Major cartels saw growth due to a prominent set culture of Mexican society that created the means for drug capital. One of the sites of origin for drug trafficking within Mexico, was the state of Michoacán. In the past, Michoacán was mainly an agricultural society. This provided an initial growth of trade. Industrialization of rural areas of Mexico facilitated a greater distribution of drugs, expanding the drug market into different provinces.[53] Once towns became industrialized, cartels such as the Sinaloa Cartel started to form and expand. The proliferation of drug cartel culture largely stemmed from the ranchero culture seen in Michoacán. Ranchero culture values the individual as opposed to the society as a whole.[53] This culture fostered the drug culture of valuing the family that is formed within the cartel. This ideal allowed for greater organization within the cartels. Gangs play a major role in the activity of drug cartels. MS-13 and the 18th Street gang are notorious for their contributions and influence over drug trafficking throughout Latin America. MS-13 has controlled much of the activity in the drug trade spanning from Mexico to Panama[54] Female involvement is present in the Mexican drug culture. Although females are not treated as equals to males, they typically hold more power than their culture allows and acquire some independence. The increase in power has attracted females from higher social classes.[55] Financial gain has also prompted women to become involved in the illegal drug market. Many women in the lower levels of major drug cartels belong to a low economic class. Drug trafficking offers women an accessible way to earn income.[55] Females from all social classes have become involved in the trade due to outside pressure from their social and economic environments.
Political ties
It was common for smugglers in Colombia to import liquor, alcohol, cigarettes and textiles, while exporting cocaine.[42] Personnel with knowledge of the terrain were able to supply the local market while also exporting a large amount of product.[42] The established trade that began in the 1960s involved Peru, Bolivia, Colombia and Cuba. Peasant farmers produced coca paste in Peru and Bolivia, while Colombian smugglers would process the coca paste into cocaine in Colombia, and trafficked product through Cuba.[42] This trade route established ties between Cuban and Colombian organized crime. From Cuba, cocaine would be transported to Miami, Florida; and Union City, New Jersey. Quantities of the drug were then smuggled throughout the US.[42] The international drug trade created political ties between the involved countries, encouraging the governments of the countries involved to collaborate and instate common policies to eradicate drug cartels. Cuba stopped being a center for transport of cocaine following the establishment of a communist government in 1959. As a result Miami and Union City became the sole locations for trafficking.[42] The relations between Cuban and Colombian organized crime remained strong until the 1970s, when Colombian cartels began to vie for power. In the 1980s and 90s, Colombia emerged as a key contributor of the drug trade industry in the Western Hemisphere. While the smuggling of drugs such as marijuana, poppy, opium and heroin became more ubiquitous during this time period, the activity of cocaine cartels drove the development of the Latin American drug trade. The trade emerged as a multinational effort as supplies (i.e. coca plant substances) were imported from countries such as Bolivia and Peru, were refined in Colombian cocaine labs and smuggled through Colombia, and exported to countries such as the US.[56]
Colombia's economy
Colombia has had a significant role in the illegal drug trade in Latin America. While active in the drug trade since the 1930s, Colombia's role in the drug trade did not truly become dominant until the 1970s.[56] When Mexico eradicated marijuana plantations, demand stayed the same. Colombia met much of the demand by growing more marijuana. Grown in the strategic northeast region of Colombia, marijuana soon became the leading cash crop in Colombia.[42] This success was short-lived due to anti-marijuana campaigns that were enforced by the US military throughout the Caribbean.[42] Instead, drug traffickers in Colombia continued their focus on the exportation of cocaine.[42] Having been an export of Colombia since the early 1950s, cocaine remained popular for a host of reasons. Colombia's location facilitated its transportation from South America into Central America, and then to its destination of North America. This continued into the 1990s, when Colombia remained the chief exporter of cocaine.[45] The business of drug trafficking can be seen in several stages in Colombia towards the latter half of the 20th century. Colombia served as the dominant force in the distribution and sale of cocaine by the 1980s. As drug producers gained more power, they became more centralized and organized into what became drug cartels.[45] Cartels controlled the major aspects of each stage in the traffic of their product. Their organization allowed cocaine to be distributed in great amounts throughout the United States. By the late 1980s, intra-industry strife arose within the cartels.[45] This stage was marked by increased violence as different cartels fought for control of export markets. Despite this strife, this power struggle led to then having multiple producers of coca leaf farms. This in turn caused an improvement in quality control and reduction of police interdiction in the distribution of cocaine.[45] This also led to cartels attempting to repatriate their earnings which would eventually make up 5.5% of Colombia's GDP.[45] This drive to repatriate earnings led to the pressure of legitimizing their wealth, causing an increase in violence throughout Colombia.[45]
Throughout the 1980s, estimates of illegal drug value in Colombia ranged from $2bn to $4bn.[56] This made up about 7-10% of the $36bn estimated GNP of Colombia during this decade. In the 1990s, the estimates of the illegal drug value remained roughly within the same range (~$2.5bn).[56] As the Colombian GNP rose throughout the 90's ($68.5bn in 1994 and $96.3bn in 1997),[56] illegal drug values began to comprise a decreasing fraction of the national economy.[56] By the early 1990s, although Colombia led in the exportation of cocaine, it found increasing confrontations within its state. These confrontations were primarily between cartels and government institutions. This led to a decrease in the drug trade's contribution to the GDP of Colombia; dropping from 5.5% to 2.6%.[45] Though a contributor of wealth, the distribution of cocaine has had negative effects on the socio-political situation of Colombia and has weakened its economy as well.[45]
Social impacts
By the 1980s, Colombian cartels became the dominant cocaine distributors in the US.[42] This led to the spread of increased violence throughout both Latin America and Miami.[42] In the 1980s, two major drug cartels emerged in Colombia: the Medellin and Cali groups. Throughout the 90's however, several factors led to the decline of these major cartels and to the rise of smaller Colombian cartels.[56] The U.S. demand for cocaine dropped while Colombian production rose, pressuring traffickers to find new drugs and markets. In this time period, there was an increase in activity of Caribbean cartels that led to the rise of an alternate route of smuggling through Mexico. This led to the increased collaboration between major Colombian and Mexican drug traffickers. Such drastic changes in the execution of drug trade in Colombia paired with the political instabilities and rise of drug wars in Medellin and Cali, gave way for the rise of the smaller Colombian drug trafficking organizations (and the rise of heroin trade).[56] As the drug trade’s influence over the economy increased, drug lords and their networks grew in their power and influence in society. The occurrences in drug-related violence increased during this time period as drug lords fought to maintain their control in the economy.[56] Typically a drug cartel had support networks that consisted of a number of individuals. These people individuals ranged from those directly involved in the trade (such as suppliers, chemists, transporters, smugglers, etc.) as well as those involved indirectly in the trade (such as politicians, bankers, police, etc.). As these smaller Colombian drug cartels grew in prevalence, several notable aspects of the Colombian society gave way for further development of the Colombian drug industry. For example, until the late 1980s, the long-term effects of the drug industry were not realized by much of society. Additionally, there was a lack of regulation in prisons where captured traffickers were sent. These prisons were under-regulated, under-funded, and under-staffed, which allowed for the formation of prison gangs, for the smuggling of arms/weapons/etc., for feasible escapes, and even for captured drug lords to continue running their businesses from prison.[56]
Trade in specific drugs | This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (May 2010) |

Four ounces of cannabis
Main article: Legality of cannabis
While the recreational use of (and consequently the distribution of) cannabis is illegal in most countries throughout the world, it is available by prescription or recommendation in many places, including Canada and some US states, with Washington state and Colorado being the two first states to legalize marijuana for recreational use, although importation and distribution is prohibited at the federal level.[57] Beginning in 2014, Uruguay will be the first country to legalize cultivation, sale, and consumption of cannabis for recreational use for adult residents.[verification needed]
Cannabis use is tolerated in some areas, most notably the Netherlands which has legalized the possession and licensed sale (but not cultivation) of the drug. Many nations have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Due to the hardy nature of the cannabis plant, marijuana is grown all across the world and is today the world's most popular illegal drug with the highest level of availability.[citation needed] Cannabis is grown legally in many countries for industrial, non-drug use (known as hemp) as well. Cannabis-hemp may also be planted for other non-drug domestic purposes, such as seasoning that occurs in Aceh.[58]
The demand for cannabis around the world, coupled with the drug's relative ease of cultivation, makes the illicit cannabis trade one of the primary ways in which organized criminal groups finance many of their activities. In Mexico, for example, the illicit trafficking of cannabis is thought to constitute the majority of many of the cartels' earnings,[59] and the main way in which the cartels finance many other illegal activities; including the purchase of other illegal drugs for trafficking, and for acquiring weapons that are ultimately used to commit murders (causing a burgeoning in the homicide rates of many areas of the world, but particularly Latin America).[60][61]
Main article: Ethanol
Alcohol, in the context of alcoholic beverages rather than denatured alcohol, is illegal in a number of countries, such as Saudi Arabia, and this has resulted in a thriving illegal trade in alcohol.[62][vague] The manufacture, sale, transportation, importation and exportation of alcoholic beverage were illegal in the United States during the time known as the Prohibition in the 1920s and early 1930s.
Main article: Heroin

A field of opium poppies in Burma

Heroin woven into a hand-made carpet seized at Manchester Airport, 2012
Up until around 2004 the majority of the world's heroin was produced in an area known as the Golden Triangle (Southeast Asia).[63][page needed] However, by 2007, 93% of the opiates on the world market originated in Afghanistan.[64] This amounted to an export value of about US$64 billion, with a quarter being earned by opium farmers and the rest going to district officials, insurgents, warlords and drug traffickers.[65] Another significant area where poppy fields are grown for the manufacture of heroin is Mexico.
According to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, the price of heroin is typically valued 8 to 10 times that of cocaine on American streets, making it a high-profit substance for smugglers and dealers.[66] In Europe (except the transit countries Portugal and the Netherlands), for example, a purported gram of street heroin, usually consisting of 700–800 mg of a light to dark brown powder containing 5-10% heroin base, costs €30-70, making the effective value per gram of pure heroin €300-700. Heroin is generally a preferred product for smuggling and distribution—over unrefined opium due to the cost-effectiveness and increased efficacy[citation needed] of heroin.
Because of the high cost per volume, heroin is easily smuggled. A US quarter-sized (2.5 cm) cylindrical vial can contain hundreds of doses. From the 1930s to the early 1970s, the so-called French Connection supplied the majority of US demand. Allegedly, during the Vietnam War, drug lords such as Ike Atkinson used to smuggle hundreds of kilos of heroin to the US in coffins of dead American soldiers (see Cadaver Connection). Since that time it has become more difficult for drugs to be imported into the US than it had been in previous decades, but that does not stop the heroin smugglers from getting their product across US borders. Purity levels vary greatly by region with Northeastern cities having the most pure heroin in the United States.
Penalties for smuggling heroin or morphine are often harsh in most countries. Some countries will readily hand down a death sentence (e.g. Singapore) or life in prison for the illegal smuggling of heroin or morphine, which are both internationally Schedule I drugs under the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.[citation needed]
Main article: Methamphetamine
Methamphetamine is another popular drug among distributors. Three common street names are "crystal meth", "meth", and "ice".[67]
According to the Community Epidemiology Work Group, the number of clandestine methamphetamine laboratory incidents reported to the National Clandestine Laboratory Database decreased from 1999 to 2009. During this period, methamphetamine lab incidents increased in mid-western States (Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, and Ohio), and in Pennsylvania. In 2004, more lab incidents were reported in Missouri (2,788) and Illinois (1,058) than in California (764). In 2003, methamphetamine lab incidents reached new highs in Georgia (250), Minnesota (309), and Texas (677). There were only seven methamphetamine lab incidents reported in Hawaii in 2004, though nearly 59 percent of substance abuse treatment admissions (excluding alcohol) were for primary methamphetamine abuse during the first six months of 2004. As of 2007, Missouri leads the United States in drug-lab seizures, with 1,268 incidents reported.[68] Often canine units are used for detecting rolling meth labs which can be concealed on large vehicles, or transported on something as small as a motorcycle. These labs are more difficult to detect than stationary ones, and can often be obscured among legal cargo in big trucks.[69]
Methamphetamine is sometimes used in inject-able form, placing users and their partners at risk for transmission of HIV and hepatitis C.[70] "Meth" can also be inhaled, most commonly vaporized on aluminum foil or in a glass pipe. This method is reported to give "an unnatural high" and a "brief intense rush".[71]
In South Africa methamphetamine is called "tik" or "tik-tik".[citation needed] Children as young as eight are abusing the substance, smoking it in crude glass vials made from light bulbs.[citation needed] Since methamphetamine is easy to produce, the substance is manufactured locally in staggering quantities.[citation needed]
The government of North Korea currently operates methamphetamine production facilities. There, the drug is used as medicine because no alternatives are available; it also is smuggled across the Chinese border.[72]
The Australian Crime Commission's illicit drug data report for 2011–2012 stated that the average strength of crystal methamphetamine doubled in most Australian jurisdictions within a 12-month period, and the majority of domestic laboratory closures involved small "addict-based" operations.[10]
Main article: Temazepam
Temazepam, a strong hypnotic benzodiazepine, is illicitly manufactured in clandestine laboratories (called jellie labs) to supply the increasingly high demand for the drug internationally.[73] Many clandestine temazepam labs are in Eastern Europe. The labs manufacture temazepam by chemically altering diazepam, oxazepam or lorazepam.[74] "Jellie labs" have been identified and shutdown in Russia, the Ukraine, Czech Republic, Latvia and Belarus.[75]
In the United Kingdom, temazepam is the most widely-abused legal prescription drug[citation needed]. It is also the most commonly abused benzodiazepine in Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, India, Russia, the People's Republic of China, New Zealand, Australia and some parts of Southeast Asia[citation needed]. In Sweden it has been banned due to a problem with drug abuse and a high rate of death caused by temazepam alone relative to other drugs of its group. Surveys in many countries show that temazepam, MDMA, nimetazepam, and methamphetamine rank among the top illegal drugs most frequently abused
History of United States drug prohibition
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia | This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (December 2013) |
This is a timeline of the history of drug prohibition in the United States.
* 1 Timeline * 2 See also * 3 References
Around 1860: Efforts to regulate the sale of pharmaceuticals began, and laws were introduced on a state-to-state basis that created penalties for mislabeling drugs, adulterating them with undisclosed narcotics, and improper sale of those considered "poisons". Poison laws generally either required labels on the packaging indicating the harmful effects of the drugs or prohibited sale outside of licensed pharmacies and without a doctor's prescription. Prominent pharmaceutical societies at the time supported the listing of cannabis as a poison.[1]
1880: The U.S. and Qing Dynasty China complete an agreement prohibiting the shipment of opium between the two countries; Qing China itself was still reeling from the effects of fighting the Opium War after a failed attempt to stem the British importing of opium into China proper (see Lin Zexu).
1906:The Pure Food and Drug Act requires that certain specified drugs, including alcohol, cocaine, heroin, morphine, and cannabis, be accurately labeled with contents and dosage. Previously many drugs had been sold as patent medicines with secret ingredients or misleading labels. Cocaine, heroin, cannabis, and other such drugs continued to be legally available without prescription as long as they were labeled. It is estimated that sale of patent medicines containing opiates decreased by 33% after labeling was mandated.[2]
1911: United States first Opium Commissioner argues that of all the nations of the world, the United States consumes most habit-forming drugs per capita.[3]
1914: The first recorded instance of the United States enacting a ban on the domestic distribution of drugs is the Harrison Narcotic Act[4] of 1914. This act was presented and passed as a method of regulating the production and distribution of opiate-containing substances under the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution, but a section of the act was later interpreted by law enforcement officials for the purpose of prosecuting doctors who prescribe opiates to addicts.
1919: Alcohol prohibition in the U.S. first appeared under numerous provincial bans and was eventually codified under a federal constitutional amendment in 1919, having been approved by 36 of the 48 U.S. states.
1925: United States supported regulation of cannabis as a drug in the International Opium Convention.[5] and by the mid-1930s all member states had some regulation of cannabis.
1932: Democrat Franklin Roosevelt ran for President of the United States promising repeal of federal laws of Prohibition of alcohol.
1933: Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution is repealed. The amendment remains the only major act of prohibition to be repealed, having been repealed by the Twenty-first Amendment to the United States Constitution.
1935 President Roosevelt hails the International Opium Convention and application of it in US. law and other anti-drug laws in a radio message to the nation.[6]
1937: Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act. Presented as a $1 nuisance tax on the distribution of marijuana, this act required anyone distributing the drug to maintain and submit a detailed account of his or her transactions, including inspections, affidavits, and private information regarding the parties involved. This law, however, was something of a "Catch-22", as obtaining a tax stamp required individuals to first present their goods, which was an action tantamount to confession. This act was passed by Congress on the basis of testimony and public perception that marijuana caused insanity, criminality, and death.
1951: The 1951 Boggs Act increased penalties fourfold, including mandatory penalties.[7]
1956: The Daniel Act increased penalties by a factor of eight over those specified in the Boggs Act. Although by this time there was adequate testimony to refute the claim that marijuana caused insanity, criminality, or death, the rationalizations for these laws shifted in focus to the proposition that marijuana use led to the use of heroin, creating the gateway drug theory.[citation needed]
1965: In Laos, the CIA's airline, Air America, began flying Hmong (Meo) opium out of the hills to Long Tieng and Vientiane. This opium was being refined into high grade no. 4 heroin, which is what was being used by U.S. soldiers.[8] During the Laotian Civil War, Long Tieng served as a town and airbase operated by the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States.[9]
1969: Psychiatrist Dr. Robert DuPont conducts urinalysis of everyone entering the D.C. jail system in August 1969. He finds 44% test positive for heroin and starts the first methadone treatment program in the Department of Corrections in September 1969 for heroin addicts.[10][11]
1970: The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) was enacted into law by Congress. The CSA is the federal U.S. drug policy under which the manufacture, importation, possession, use and distribution of certain substances is regulated.
1971: The Vietnam War is linked with concerns over drugs and the Nixon administration coins the term War on Drugs. * Starting in 1965, the CIA's Airline, Air America had been flying opium for the Hmong (Meo) hill tribe opium farmers until as late as 1971. "Southeast Asia's Golden Triangle region has become a mass producer of high-grade no. 4 heroin for the American market." The heroin refined in Laos was being shipped to Vietnam and this high grade fluffy white no. 4 heroin is what was being used by U.S. soldiers there.[12] * May: Congressmen Robert Steele (R-CT) and Morgan Murphy (D-IL) release an explosive report on the growing heroin epidemic among U.S. servicemen in Vietnam.[10]

Some Congressmen and police who prosecuted the War on Drugs now believe it caused a large increase in the United States incarceration rate.[13][14] See also: Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. * June 17: Nixon declares war on drugs.[10][15][16] He characterized the abuse of illicit substances as "public enemy number one in the United States". Under Nixon, the U.S. Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. This legislation is the foundation on which the modern drug war exists. Responsibility for enforcement of this new law was given to the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs and then in 1973 to the newly formed Drug Enforcement Administration. During the Nixon era, for the only time in the history of the war on drugs, the majority of funding goes towards treatment, rather than law enforcement.[10] * Later in the month the U.S. military announces they will begin urinalysis of all returning servicemen. The program goes into effect in September and the results are favorable: "only" 4.5% of the soldiers test positive for heroin.[10]
1972, March 22: The National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse recommends legalizing possession and sales of small amounts of marijuana. Nixon and the Congress ignore the suggestion[17]
1974: A Senate Internal Security Subcommittee, chaired by Sen. James O. Eastland on The Marihuana-hashish epidemic and its impact on United States security invited 21 scientists of the first rank from seven different countries to testify, including Gabriel G. Nahas and Nils Bejerot. The testimony of these experts showed that the evidence accumulated by scientific researchers on marijuana had turned dramatically against this drug.[18][19]
1979: Illegal drug use in the U.S. peaks when 25 million of Americans used an illegal drug within the 30 days prior to the annual survey.[20]
1988: Near the end of the Reagan administration, the Office of National Drug Control Policy was created for central coordination of drug-related legislative, security, diplomatic, research and health policy throughout the government. In recognition of his central role, the director of ONDCP is commonly known as the Drug Czar. The position was raised to cabinet-level status by Bill Clinton in 1993.
1992 Illegal drug use in the U.S. fell to 12 million people.[20]
1993, December 7: Joycelyn Elders, the Surgeon General, said that the legalization of drugs "should be studied", causing a stir among opponents.[citation needed]
1998: The government commissions the first-ever full study of drug policy, to be carried out by the National Research Council (NRC); the Committee on Data and Research for Policy on Illegal Drugs is headed by Econometrician Charles Manski.
2001: The National Research Council Committee on Data and Research for Policy on Illegal Drugs is published. The study reveals that the government has not sufficiently studied its own drug policy, which it calls "unconscionable". (see more under Efficacy of the War on Drugs)
2001: 16 million in the U.S. were drug users.[20]
2008 Several reports state the benefits of drug courts compared with traditional courts. Using retrospective data, researchers in several studies found that drug courts reduced recidivism among program participants in contrast to comparable probationers between 12% to 40%. Re-arrests were lower five years or more later. The total cost per participant was also much lower.[21] Office of National Drug Control Policy reports that the Actual youth drug use, as measured as the percent reporting past month use has declined from 19,4% to 14,8% among middle and high school students between 2001 and 2007.[22]
2009 Gil Kerlikowske, the current Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, signaled that the Obama Administration would not use the term "War on Drugs," as he claims it is counter-productive and is contrary to the policy favoring treatment over incarceration in trying to reduce drug use. "Being smart about drugs means working to treat people who go to jail with a drug problem so when they get out and return to the communities you protect, you will be less likely to re-arrest them".[23]
2010 California Proposition 19 (also known as the Regulate, Control & Tax Cannabis Act) was defeated, with 53.5% of California voters voting "No" and 46.5% voting "Yes."[24]
2010 The Fiscal Year 2011 National Drug Control Budget proposed by the Obama Administration devote significant new resources, $340 million, to the prevention and treatment of drug abuse.[25]
2012 Colorado and Washington (state) pass laws to legalize the consumption, possession, and sale of marijuana.
2014 Alaska and Oregon pass laws to legalize the consumption, possession, and sale of marijuana

Substance Abuse
Information and statistics about substance abuse around the world. Statistics also includes drug addiction rates, drug trafficking information, and sales and prices of the illegal drug trade.
Marijuana Seizures at US – Mexico Border Each Year in Substance Abuse
According to a report by the International Narcotics Control Board, over 1,000 tonnes of marijuana is seized by United States security agents along the US / Mexico border each year.
The marijuana seized by US customs represented 94 percent of all marijuana seized around the world in 2013.
Back in 2010, law enforcement officials estimated that the US black market in marijuana was worth $41 Billion.
(See the price to buy a gram of marijuana around the world.)
Source: AFP, “Mexico’s drug cartels adapt to US pot legalization,” Yahoo News, March 7, 2015.
Number of Drug Addicts in Thailand in Substance Abuse
According to statistics from the Office of the Narcotics Control Board and the Narcotics Suppression Bureau, there are 1.3 million people in Thailand who are addicted to drugs. This translates to roughly 2 percent of Thailand’s population.
Out of the 1.3 million drug addicts in the country, 250,000 have been prosecuted at one time and have been sent to prison. Military officials stated taht in some years, between 60 to 70 percent of soldiers signing up for the Thai Military have a history of drug addiction.
During the 2013-2014 fiscal year, public health officials stated that 359,399 drug addicts in Thailand underwent rehabilitation programs.
Source: King-oua Laohong, “Thailand ‘now a drugs hub’ ,” Bangkok Post, December 19, 2014.
Amount of Ganja Growing Fields in Jamaica in Substance Abuse
According to intelligence by the United States, there are about 37,066 acres of fields in Jamaica that are growing marijuana, or ganja, in the country.
66 percent of Jamaicans have stated in surveys that they have smoked marijuana, and 85 percent favor medical marijuana.
Despite wide-spread belief about ganja, marijuana is technically illegal in Jamaica.
(See more statistics about marijuana use here.)
Source: Aileen Torres-Bennett, “Jamaica mulls legal pot (no, it’s not already legal),” USA Today, June 9, 2014.
Cocaine in Belgium in Substance Abuse
Based on a scientific analysis of sewage waste water, the Belgian city of Antwerp had the most cocaine being discharged in Europe.
Belgium is the cheapest country in western Europe to buy cocaine, according to statistics released by the Global Drug Survey. Based on local intelligence, the cost to buy a gram of cocaine in Belgium is $68 (€50 ) per gram, roughly half the European average of cocaine.
(See the price of coke per gram around the world.)
Security and intelligence agencies report that around 25 percent of all cocaine being trafficked from South America into Europe passes through the ports of Belgium Most of the cocaine passes through the port at Antwerp, where 2 percent of the 8 million containers are screened by security officers.
The United States Department of State estimates that up to 20 tonnes of cocaine passes through the port each year, while other intelligence estimates place it at 30 tonnes.
In 2013, computer hackers were found to have been hacking the port’s IT systems in order to transport cocaine and avoiding searches.
(See all cocaine abuse and trafficking statistics.)
Source: Jamie Doward, “Welcome to ‘boring’ Belgium where even the pigeons are on cocaine,” Guardian / Observer, May 31, 2014.
Illegal Immigrants Seized from Entering the EU in 2013 in Substance Abuse
Security Agencies guarding the borders of the European Union detected 107,000 people who were attempting to illegally enter the EU in 2013.
The number of people detected by security forces was higher than the 75,000 people detected in 2012.
Intelligence officials stated that most of the people attempting to be smuggled into the EU or illegally enter the EU in 2013 were from Syria, Afghanistan and Eritrea.
Source: Alan Cowell and Dan Bilefsky, “European Agency Reports Surge in Illegal Migration, Fueling a Debate,” New York Times, May 30, 2014.
Economic Value of Prostitution and Illegal Drugs in the UK in Substance Abuse, Transnational Crime
According to data released by the Office for National Statistics, the prostitution market in the United Kingdom is worth $8.8 Billion, and the illegal drugs market in the UK is worth $7.3 Billion.
The ONS calculates that there are 58,000 prostitutes working across the entire United Kingdom.
(Number of prostitutes in the world.)
The two activities contribute to just under 1 percent of the total economic output of the UK.
Source: “National Accounts Articles – Impact of ESA95 Changes on Current Price GDP Estimates,” Office for National Statistics, May 29, 2014, page 4.
Source: Joshua Abramsky & Steve Drew, “Changes to National Accounts: Inclusion of Illegal Drugs and Prostitution in the UK National Accounts,” Office for National Statistics, May 29, 2014, page 19.
Illegal Drug Use in the European Union in Substance Abuse
According to a 2014 report by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), over 80 million people living in Europe are estimated to have used an illegal drug at some point in their lives. The number of people who have tried an illegal drug represents about a quarter of the adult population in the EU.
The most used illicit drug in Europe was marijuana, with 73.6 Million people stating that they tried it at least once in their lifetimes. In the most recent year measured (2012), the report stated that 18.1 million used marijuana. A total of 2,000 tonnes of marijuana and hashish is consumed in the EU each year.
The second most used drug in Europe was cocaine, with 14.1 million people using it in their lifetime. 3.1 million people used it in 2012. Based on analysis of raw sewage, investigators in Europe estimated that 1,800 pounds (832 Kilograms) of cocaine were consumed daily in Europe Cities.
The third most used drug in Europe was amphetamines, with 11.4 million users who used it in their lifetimes and 1.5 million users in 2012.
There were 31,000 new opioid users in Europe, with about 1.3 million problem users.
Heroin caused 6,100 overdose deaths in Europe in 2012, while cocaine overdose caused some 500 deaths.
Source: AFP, “Prescription, synthetic drug abuse worry EU watchdog,” GlobalPost, May 27, 2014.
Global Methamphetamine Seizures in 2012 in Substance Abuse
According to statistics released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). security agencies worldwide seized 36 tons of methamphetamine in 2012. Back in 2008, a total of 12 tons of meth was seized around the world.
(Cost of meth per gram.)
In 2012, nearly 45 percent of the worldwide total of meth seizures took place in China. In North America, Mexico account for around 60 percent of all seizures in the region in 2012.
Between 2007 and 2012, the seizure rate of ecstasy in the United States declined by 85 percent.
(See all meth facts.)
Source: Amar Toor, “New legal highs are flooding the market faster than governments can ban them,” The Verge, May 20, 2014.
Seizures of Heroin in NYC in first 5 Months of 2014 in Substance Abuse
In the first five months of 2014, anti-narcotics agents in New York City seized 288 pounds of heroin within the city. The heroin seized was worth about $40 to $60 Million on the black market.
In all of 2013, security agents seized a total of 175 pounds of heroin.
(How much does heroin cost per gram?)
Heroin abuse in NYC has seen a rise in recent years. In the 2014 fiscal year, Drug Enforcement Administration agents based in New York have seized about 35 percent of all heroin intercepted by the DEA. Typically, New York DEA agents are responsible for 20 percent of all heroin seizures.
(See all heroin addiction statistics.)
Source: Christian Science Monitor, “Heroin Is Cheaper, More Pure, And More Of A Problem Than Ever Before,” Business Insider, May 21, 2014.
Prescription Drug Abuse by Older Americans in Substance Abuse
Data and statistics from the United States Government estimated that there were 336,000 people in the United States over the age of 55 who were misusing or addicted to prescription pain relievers in 2012. Data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration showed that the figures for 2012 were 132,000 higher than 10 years previous.
Between 2007 and 2011, the number of seniors who were admitted to substance abuse treatment centers for a prescription pain medicine addiction increased by 46 percent, while the number of patients over the age of 65 who misused a prescription drug and had to be admitted to an emergency room increased by over 50 percent to 94,000 ER admissions during the time period.
Between 1999 and 2010, the overdose death rate of people over 55 increased by 3 times to 9.4 deaths per 100,000.
Public health officials attribute the problem to an increase in prescription to older Americans for pain relief and anxiety. According to federal statistics, about one in four adults over the age of 50 in the United States use psychoactive medications, most of which are opioids for pain relief or benzodiazepines for anxiety.

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