Toward an International System of Drug Control

By any measure the ongoing explosion in the abuse and trafficking of illicit drugs must be viewed as alarming. The past few years have seen a dramatic upsurge in the use of heroin and other opiates, the re-emergence of cocaine as a popular drug, and expansion of the use and availability of synthetic and psychotropic substances, and, perhaps of greatest international concern, the penetration of illicit narcotics into markets hitherto relatively free from drug involvement. Western Europe, Canada, and most recently the Soviet Union1 have reported the growth of drug-consuming populations. At the same time, there has been an awakened interest in the problems of drug addiction. Recognition of the essentially international nature of the problem is spreading, albeit slowly. With this recognition have come the rudiments of an international approach to the solution. As drug abuse continues to encompass increasingly large numbers over an expanding geographic area, a growing number of national leaders conclude that it is in their interest to cooperate in bilateral, regional, and multinational agreements aimed at curbing such abuse.