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Drug trafficking  

Last Updated: Jul 6, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts
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United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on Drug Trafficking

Drug trafficking is a global illicit trade involving the cultivation, manufacture, distribution and sale of substances which are subject to drug prohibition laws. UNODC is continuously monitoring and researching global illicit drug markets in order to gain a more comprehensive understanding of their dynamics. Drug trafficking is a key part of this research.

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Commission on Narcotic Drugs and the International Narcotics Control Board

The Commission on Narcotic Drugs is the central policy-making body with regard to drug-related matters, including the monitoring of the global trends of illicit drug trafficking and abuse.

The International Narcotics Control Board gathers information on illicit trafficking, and submits an annual report on developments in the world situation to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and to the Economic and Social Council.

UNODC has an important role in assisting these bodies in performing their treaty-based functions, and in assisting States Parties in the implementation of their obligations under the international drug control treaties.

UNODC Legal Library on Drug Control


    The UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP)

    The Container Control Programme, launched in 2003, was developed jointly by UNODC and the World Customs Organization (WCO) to assist governments to create sustainable enforcement structures in selected sea ports in order to minimize the risk of shipping containers being exploited for illicit drug trafficking, transnational organized crime and other forms of black market activity.

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    UNODC Campaign

     World Drug Campaign

    UNODC is leading the global World Drug Campaign to raise awareness about the major challenge that illicit drugs represent to society as a whole, and especially to the young. The goal of the campaign is to mobilize support and inspire people to act against drug use.



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    Drug Policies and the Politics of Drugs in the Americas - Beatriz Caiuby Labate (Editor); Clancy Cavnar (Editor); Thiago Rodrigues (Editor)
    Call Number: 343.575(7/8) D784 [16-09-2300052123]
    ISBN: 9783319290805
    Publication Date: 2016-04-10
    This book is a collection of studies of drug policiesin several Latin American countries. The chapters analyze the specifichistories of drug policies in each country, as well as related phenomena andcase studies throughout the region. It presents conceptual reflections on theorigins of prohibition and the "War on Drugs," including the topic of humanrights and cognitive freedom. Further, the collection reflects on thepioneering role of some Latin American countries in changing paradigms ofinternational drug policy. Each case study provides an analysis of whereeach state is now in terms of policy reform within the context of its historyand current socio-political circumstances. Concurrently, local movements,initiatives, and backlash against the reformist debate within the hemisphereare examined. The recent changes regarding the regulation of marijuana in theUnited States and their possible impact on Latin America are also addressed.This work is an important, up-to-date and well-researched reference for all whoare interested in drug policy from a Latin American perspective.

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    Gangster Warlords: Drug Dollars, Killing Fields, and the New Politics of Latin America - Ioan Grillo
    Call Number: 343.575(72) G755 [16-03-2300034374]
    ISBN: 1408846055
    Publication Date: 2016
    In a ranch south of Texas, the man known as The Executioner dumps five hundred body parts in metal barrels. In Brazil's biggest city, a mysterious prisoner orders hit-men to gun down forty-one police officers and prison guards in two days. In southern Mexico, a crystal meth maker is venerated as a saint while imposing Old Testament justice on his enemies.

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    The Chinese Heroin Trade: Cross-Border Drug Trafficking in Southeast Asia and Beyond - Ko-lin Chin; Sheldon X. Zhang
    Call Number: 343.575(5-11) Ch56 [9857]
    ISBN: 9781479895403
    Publication Date: 2015-05-22
    In a country long associated with the trade in opiates, the Chinese government has for decades applied extreme measures to curtail the spread of illicit drugs, only to find that the problem has worsened. Burma is blamed as the major producer of illicit drugs and conduit for the entry of drugs into China. Which organizations are behind the heroin trade? What problems and prospects of drug control in the so-called “Golden Triangle” drug-trafficking region are faced by Chinese and Southeast Asian authorities?              In The Chinese Heroin Trade, noted criminologists Ko-Lin Chin and Sheldon Zhangexamine the social organization of the trafficking of heroin from the Golden Triangle to China and the wholesale and retail distribution of the drug in China. Based on face-to-face interviews with hundreds of incarcerated drug traffickers, street-level drug dealers, users, and authorities, paired with extensive fieldwork in the border areas of Burma and China and several major urban centers in China and Southeast Asia, this volume reveals how the drug trade has evolved in the Golden Triangle since the late 1980s. Chin and Zhang also explore the marked characteristics of heroin traffickers; the relationship between drug use and sales in China; and how China compares to other international drug markets. The Chinese Heroin Trade is a fascinating, nuanced account of the world of high-risk drug trafficking in a tightly-controlled society.

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    Women Drug Traffickers - Elaine Carey
    Call Number: 343.575(72) C 374 [16-11-2300056295]
    ISBN: 9780826351982
    Publication Date: 2014-11-01
    In the flow of drugs to the United States from Latin America, women have always played key roles as bosses, business partners, money launderers, confidantes, and couriers--work rarely acknowledged. Elaine Carey's study of women in the drug trade offers a new understanding of this intriguing subject, from women drug smugglers in the early twentieth century to the cartel queens who make news today. Using international diplomatic documents, trial transcripts, medical and public welfare studies, correspondence between drug czars, and prison and hospital records, the author's research shows that history can be as gripping as a thriller.

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    Crime, Drugs and the State in Africa - Gernot Klantschnig
    Call Number: 343.575(669.1) K53 [7574]
    ISBN: 9789089791047
    Publication Date: 2013-01-01
    Based on previously classified government information and interviews with key officials and drug market insiders in Nigeria, this book is the first ever in-depth analysis of the international and domestic origins of illegal drug control in Africa, exploring the formulation and implementation of Nigerian drug policy between 1985 and 2010. During this period, the country came to be seen as a hub in the global drug trade and the domestic policy set in motion to tackle this perception escalated into Africa's most repressive and long-lasting anti-drug campaign. The book provocatively argues that Nigeria's drug war was not driven by an understanding of the country's drug problems but rather by political calculations made in Nigeria, the US and at the UN.

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    Cartels at War - Paul Rexton Kan; Barry R. McCaffrey (Foreword by)  Icon
    ISBN: 9781597977074
    Publication Date: 2012-10-01
    Now in its sixth year, the conflict in Mexico is a mosaic of several wars occurring at once: cartels battle one another, cartels suffer violence within their own organizations, cartels fight against the Mexican state, cartels and gangs wage war against the Mexican people, and gangs combat gangs. The war has killed more than 60,000 people since President Felipe Calderón began cracking down on the cartels in December 2006. The targets of the violence have been wide ranging--from police officers to journalists, from clinics to discos. Governments on either side of the U.S.- Mexican border have been unable to control the violence. The war has spilled over into American cities and affects domestic policy issues ranging from immigration to gun control, making the border the nexus of national security and public safety concerns.


    • Bulletin on Narcotics
      The Bulletin on Narcotics contains technical and scientific articles on narcotic drugs. It is a United Nations sales publication and is published in all six official languages of the United Nations: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.
    • International Journal of Drug Policy  Icon
      The International Journal of Drug Policy provides a forum for the dissemination of current research, reviews, debate, and critical analysis on drug use and drug policy in a global context.
    • The Journal of Drug Issues  Icon
      Journal of Drug Issues has been dedicated since its inception to providing a professional and scholarly forum centered on the national and international problems associated with drugs, especially illicit drugs.
    • Trends in Organized Crime  Icon
      Trends in Organized Crime presents a composite of analyses and syntheses of research on organized crime, drawn from a variety of sources. It publishes peer-reviewed, original research articles and excerpts from significant governmental reports. The contents also include reviews of important new books and presents analysis and commentary on current issues in organized crime.

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