UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

International narcotics control Harper, Bruce Alan


The abuse of narcotic drugs is an international problem in almost every respect, and as such requires international solutions. This thesis deals with both these questions. Since the last century, when the Sino-Indian opium trade thrived, the international trade in drugs has been of concern to the international community. After an introduction to the various types of narcotics and their properties, the history of drugs is reviewed, specifically with an eye to determining the factors which led to the creation of the international anti-narcotics movement. The international conferences on this subject, beginning with the Shanghai Opium Commission of 1909 and the Hague Opium Conferences several years later, were plagued with difficulties and conflicting objectives among the participants. The narcotics diplomacy which preceded the Second World War paved the way for current international action, but it also illustrated the problems inherent in international regulation. The modern drug problem, chiefly the abuse of heroin, is studiad and seen to be even more global than was the pre-World War II narcotics trade. The involvement of a greater number of states, both directly and indirectly, in the illicit drug traffic has been a stimulus to more vigorous international controls, but at the same time it has proved more difficult to enforce existing agreements throughout the international system. To an extent these difficulties can be attributed to the nature of the problem itself, as well as to conditions existing in a number of states, but essentially it would seem that the illicit narcotics trade continues to flourish because of the nature of the international system in which it operates. Thus a paradox can be seen the drug problem cannot be solved on a purely national level and hence international solutions must be adopted, but these solutions are also fated to face obstacles from the very start.

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