Andean Countries boost action against illegal synthetic drugs

Lima, Nov. 14, 2008.- In response to growing synthetic drug use among the Andean population, particularly adolescents and young people, the Andean countries are actively expediting the implementation of the CAN-UE Support Project for the Andean Community in the Area of Synthetic Drugs. 

In this connection, they have undertaken a series of actions targeting the population of the four Andean countries, particularly children, adolescents and young people, who are considered the sector most vulnerable to illegal synthetic drug availability, access and use.  

A "National Drug Observatories Diagnosis” has been prepared to help Member Countries in their production of information and intelligence analyses of the different aspects of illegal synthetic drugs.  In September 2008, two workshops were held, making it possible to design an action plan to strengthen the observatories, on the one hand, and, on the other, to decide upon 35 variables for reducing the demand for those drugs.   

In addition, several research studies were put up for public bidding, to wit: "Qualitative Study of illegal synthetic drug use among groups at risk”; "Implementation of Public Information and Consciousness Raising Campaigns”, and “Andean Epidemiological Study of illegal synthetic drug use in the university population”.  

It should be stressed, as well, that a “Course on Customs Control and Audit” offered in the four Andean countries has helped make national customs and immigration control bodies aware of the importance of carefully monitoring the entry of people, goods and mail.  This is changing the way our countries are being viewed as drug “exporters” only, because we produce cocaine and heroin, for now we are also “importers” of illegal synthetic drugs. 

Furthermore, this past October, Chile’s National Narcotics Control Council (CONACE) held a workshop on “Prevención a Jóvenes en Lugares de Carrete" to sensitize representatives of the CAN Member Countries to the dangers of illegal synthetic drug use.  Similarly, arrangements were also made for DESCO to provide a video filmed by internationally famous Peruvian singer Gianmarco, disseminating the message "…what ugly music drugs make, afterwards you won’t even have enough of a voice left to ask for help..”. 

Training events are planned for the immediate future in Bogotá, Colombia, dealing with damage and demand reduction within the Community, and in-service training will be given to 4 officials from each of the Member Countries at the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction, with headquarters in Lisbon, Portugal.   

The Project plans a large series of activities for next year, for which the pertinent Operational Plan is being prepared.