Russia’s anti-drug chief slams “global PR-campaign to popularize narcotics”

Ivanov recalled that drug production in Afghanistan tripled in the ten years that Kofi Annan was the UN secretary-general
The idea behind Kofi Annan’s Global Commission on Drug Policy organization to legalize some types of narcotics could suit the interests of a drug mafia, the head of Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service believes.

­The Rio de Janeiro-based commission is headed by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and includes the former leaders of Mexico, Colombia and Brazil. They have announced in the latest report that the repressive strategy against drug trafficking has allegedly failed and proposed that some types of narcotics should be legalized.

This move is a PR-campaign directed at popularizing the use of drugs, Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service head Viktor Ivanov said on Friday. “Directly or indirectly, this campaign is linked with the colossal revenues estimated at about $800 billion,” he told reporters. He assumed that big money must have been spent on the current campaign to legalize drugs.

Ivanov noted that the world media describe Annan’s commission as a UN body, “although it has nothing to do” with the United Nations and is an ordinary nongovernmental organization. The Russian anti-drug chief urged the UN to make its position clear on this matter.

US anti-drug chief Gil Kerlikowske, co-chairman of the Russian-US presidential anti-drug commission, shares Russia’s stance that the legalization of drugs is unacceptable, Ivanov said.

Earlier experiments to legalize drugs have failed, according to the head of the anti-drug service. He also condemned the current practice of offering codeine-containing medicines. “Growing sales stem from the growing demand of drug abusers,” he said, as cited by Itar-Tass.

Ivanov recalled that drug production in Afghanistan tripled in the ten years that Kofi Annan was the UN secretary-general. Annan used his authority to legalize NATO’s command of the International Security Assistance Force in that country, the Russian official noted. Ivanov has repeatedly criticized NATO forces for failing to curb drug production in Afghanistan.

The latest report by the Global Commission on Drug Policy is preventing the international community from consolidating efforts in the fight against the drug trafficking, he believes.

Evgeny Bryun, the Chief Narcotics Expert of Russia’s Ministry of Healthcare and Social Development, has also criticized the report prepared by Annan’s commission. This document is “rather more a political than a professional one,” Bryun told Interfax. “In any case, I’m opposed to the legalization of drugs.”

This move would only aggravate the problem of the spread of drug addiction, the chief neurologist believes. “People start with light drugs and then try heavy ones.” At the same time, he agreed that previous attempts to destroy the drug market had failed. “Now the main anti-drug strategy should be aimed at decreasing demand,” he stressed. “Where this work is properly managed, it brings results.”