Eco-war on drugs

The Global Smart Program is an organism dependent on the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODOC) whose aim is to report emerging patterns and trends of the fast changing synthetic drugs situation. Its relevance lays on the fact that, at the present, there are more users of these drugs than heroin and cocaine combined. On top of that it must also be noted that production amphetamine-type stimulants takes place in more than sixty countries and that due to the subtle modification of their chemistries their producers can circumvent national and international controls.

In its issue number 3 The Global Smart Update briefly describes a number of news related to trafficking, seizures, and other issues related to the consumption/production of these kinds of drugs all over the world. But, perhaps, the most interesting approach towards them comes from the environmental impact that the destruction of the mreas prov phnom tree is causing in Cambodia where it is a protected plant.

Such tree provides safrole-rich oils (SRO), which are natural sources of the precursor required in the manufacture of MDMA (ecstasy) and is used in vast quantities in order to keep up with demand.  This produces a double negative effect because, on the one hand, farmers overexploit their resources and on the other, the high level of SRO seizures has raised alarms concerning the damaging consequences of their disposal by open air burning.

The main problem is that open air burning causes thick plumes of black smoke which are not environmentally friendly at all. For that reason Heads of National Law Enforcement Agencies, Asia and Pacific have called for solutions to this problem. The Special Response – Amphetamine-Type Stimulants (SRATS) team of the Australian Federal Police explored new possibilities and by the end of last year it piloted mobile turbo burner technology that considerably reduced smoke emissions.