As we know, globalization is characterized as a powerful force, which can transform the world. This force is responsible for the evolution of societies and changes of the whole world. Nowadays the world is characterized by gradual adaptation of states and societies in the unstable interdependent world with its inevitable social and political changes. Globalization is associated with the new stratification of the world where some countries gradually enter into the center of global development, while other countries are hopelessly marginalized. Increased globalization processes are the basis for the expansion of international organizations and their influence zone.
Globalization can be considered as one of the main factors of the increased global drug traffic. Drugs spreading around the world provides the growth of demand for them. Transport development and information revolution contributed to this process. It can say, that globalization process which has started in the second half of the XXth century, allows the drug market to develop and grow.
The hypothesis of this investigation is that, increased globalization will facilitate the growth of the drug market. Policy of prohibiting the use and trade of drugs is not effective. The global drug traffic grows from year to year and number of drug users increases. In this case, legalization of limited groups of drugs can be the next stage of the globalization impact. Current analysis of the globalization effects on global drug traffic includes such sections as globalization features, the main trends of the global drug market and its perspectives.
Features of Globalization
Globalization is the current stage of human civilization development and new issues. The last ones are equally urgent for all humanity. On the other side, globalization is considered as the direction of the scientific, political, philosophical thinking, that can reflect the ability to perceive global problems. The most famous scientists, who investigate the globalization direction, are Toffler O., Vernadsky V., Teilhard de Chardin P. and others.
There are some stages of globalization. The first manifestations of globalization are connected with the end of the 1960s – early 1970s. The second stage provides the appearance of the scientific schools. The slogan “Think globally, act locally” has become more popular on the third stage. Nowadays globalization is shown in the activity of the international organizations and existence some common standards for all countries.
The main advantages of globalization process are presented as follows:
opening the additional opportunities and benefits for particular countries
cost savings in production;
Optimizing the allocation of resources on a global scale;
expanding range of products, improving the quality of products on the market;
achievements in science, technology and culture become available;
transnational corporations play a positive role in the building of industrial complexes in developing countries.
At the same time, globalization differs by some drawbacks. The main of them are the following:
control over the economy goes to multinational companies and international organizations, which can be contrary to national interests;
the program of liberalization and structural adjustment are recommended in many countries by a number of international organizations;
the slowing of global progress on many directions is characteristic of globalization.
Main Trends of the Global Drug Traffic
The way of the wholesale drug supply from their place of production to the consumer (the so-called drug traffic) plays the most important role in the global drug business. Drug traffic is the channel of illegal transportation of drugs or the number of the all their routes. It also includes vehicle, the ways of drug concealment (the crossing of state borders and customs) and people who involves in it.
According to the data of 2013 from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and European crime-fighting agency Europol, the annual global drug trade is worth around 435 billion dollars per year (Ellyatt, 2013). The annual cocaine trade is around 84 billion dollars of that amount.
A schematic diagram of modern drug traffic can be presented as follows:
The main drug-producing regions are traditionally regarded as follows:
Golden Crescent. It includes such countries as Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan. It produces a large amount of raw opium, heroin and cannabis.
Golden Triangle includes Myanmar, Laos, Thailand. The region also produces a large amount of raw opium and heroin;
region of South America (Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, Bolivia) specializes in cocaine producing;
Netherlands provides production of marijuana and synthetic drugs;
the production of hashish is concentrated in Morocco;
China specializes in the production of synthetic drugs and potent substances (precursors which are used for manufacturing narcotic drugs).
It should be noted, that the largest global producer of opium and heroin was Afghanistan in the past decade (Unodc.org, 2015). Let’s analyze the production volume of the main drugs (opium and cocain) during the last decade (fig. 1).
As we can see, the volume of opium increases by 60% and the production volume of cocain tends to decrease, but the last changes are not very important.
There are several routes for the transportation of drugs worldwide, which have already been formed. For example, Balkan and Norhen (or Silk) routes, North American and African routes. The main benefit of the “Balkan route” is a shorter way to the EU countries and the number of national boundaries, which should cross at the traffic, is less. The “Silk Road” draws the attention of drug trafficking to the border transparency between the CIS countries.
It should be noted, that the world market in terms of drug traffic has already overtaken the automotive market and close to the oil and gas sector. For example, the operation of only one informal site on the Internet for the sale drugs provides billions of dollars in profits. The website «Silk Road» provides profit of 1,2 billion dollars for a period of two to five years. It is possible to note the dependency between growth of drug traffic and activity of globalization process. The number of drug users increases from year to year (fig. 2). In this case, the prohibition of drug use is not effective and causes more problems (for example, increased levels of HIV, increased number of drug users and more resources is necessary for their treatment of the drug dependence).
Perspectives of the Global Drug Traffic
The problem of global drug trafficking is extremely important today. The joint efforts of countries allow to prevent the spread of drugs through joint operations, border patrols and training of relevant professionals. There are a number of conventions in the framework of legal security: Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961, Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971, the UN Convention on the fight against drug trafficking of 1988. However, the problem is far from its solving. The prohibition of drugs has shown that this policy is ineffective and costly.
Another decision that can be accepted is liberalization of some drugs. There are several types of such liberalization. The most common include the decriminalization and legalization of retransmission. For example, the re-legalization of marijuana is a process that calls state authority to put an end of the tightening of restrictions on certain substances. However, this measure could increase the number of persons whom is recommended the treatment for drug dependence.
Controlled legalization of drugs includes restrictions on advertising activities, as well as the mandates of labels with dosing. Furthermore, there may be restrictions on the age and the amount of a single purchase. Proponents of partial liberalization call government to ban selling drugs to persons who are in a condition of intoxication. It should be noted that certain drugs have already passed the procedure of legalization. There are nicotine, alcohol, caffeine and antibiotics.
Another way is the decriminalization of certain drugs. It is a form of liberalization, which is to reduce the control of the drug usage. This policy involves the introduction of penalties rather than imprisonment. Citing the arguments “for” and “against” the legalization, specialists study the experience of some countries. For example, marijuana cultivation is illegal in Canada, except for medical purposes. The policy of decriminalization is conducted in Brazil for several decades. Thus, the liberalization of drugs is a new trend in modern states.
Let’s analyze different arguments and make a decision about the justification of drug legalization. The first of them is the argument from the standpoint of freedom. This argument is based on the right of self-determination of the individual in relation to his own body and soul. An adult person should have freedom of choice in the decision to take drugs. But the state, on the contrary, should not have the right to interfere by making changes to the legislation. The interest in the forbidden, on the contrary, can provoke many adolescents to substance use.
The argument from the point of the theory of conspiracy is the next.
It argued that the security services have both direct and indirect benefits from trade in psychoactive substances. Since the intelligence services, by definition, are not controlled by anyone, the state cannot guarantee that its security services adhere to the laws. In this case, if the security services remain without their financial base, the world would be more peaceful.
Criminological concept states that the criminalization of drug use does not prevent the use and promote the strengthening and growth of organized crime. The market is formed where there is demand. The market criminalization puts both consumers and producers in the antisocial and anti-state position. At the same time, according to some estimates, the global volume of the illicit drug trade is around 300 billion of dollars per year (UN Office on Drugs and Crime, 2014).
The next argument is the reasoning in terms of financial cost. This argument is based on the assertion that the costs of the whole society, which are arisen due to the drug ban, are higher than the costs which would have occurred with the introduction of legalization. For example, national economic costs of the drug ban include the following parts:
the costs of the legal apparatus (the police, courts, prisons);
missed taxes from the drug trade;
unclaimed income due to the lack of jobs legalization;
unclaimed income and increased costs due to failure to use drugs in medicine
This argument is supported by the fact that a lawful state cannot reduce the number of drug addicts, as well as drug crime, using the restrictions and bans.
An the last argument concerns the quality of drugs. A situation of equality and legality of all psychoactive substances can change the consumer choice: more consumers will choose less hazardous substances for their health. Legal pharmacy will be able to develop new psychoactive drugs not only for pain relief, but also for the effects which so much attract the consumers of such substances. This should significantly reduce the overall harm to the health of consumers and may eventually allow pharmacologists replace particularly dangerous substances with less risky ones.
In conclusion one can say, that the proposed hypothesis has a lot of arguments in its favor. The processes of globalization continue to contribute to the spread of drugs and their partial legalization can be an effective solution. In addition, some countries have already implemented it. However, the partial legalization must be accompanied by the mass consumer awareness of the consequences of receiving such drugs.
Ellyatt, H. (2013). Global drugs trade 'as strong as ever' as fight fails. CNBC. Retrieved 11 January 2016, from http://www.cnbc.com/id/100957882
Kleiman, M., Caulkins, J., & Hawken, A. (2011). Drugs and drug policy: What Everyone Needs to Know. New York: Oxford University Press.
UN Office on Drugs and Crime. (2014). PMUNC. Retrieved from http://irc.princeton.edu/pmunc/docs/UNODC%20BG%20formatted.pdf
Unodc.org,. (2015). 2015 World Drug Report finds drug use stable, access to drug & HIV treatment still low. Retrieved 11 January 2016, from http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/frontpage/2015/June/2015-world-drug-report-finds-drug-use-stable--access-to-drug-and-hiv-treatment-still-low.html?ref=fs1
World Drug Report. (2015). Vienna. Retrieved from http://www.unodc.org/documents/wdr2015/World_Drug_Report_2015.pdf