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Bulletin on Narcotics

A Century of International Drug Control

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The present issue of the Bulletin on Narcotics contains a historical review of the international drug control system, one of the oldest consensus-based multilateral systems in existence. It is rooted in efforts made a century ago to address the largest substance abuse problem the world had ever faced: the Chinese opium epidemic. With this as a starting point, the article outlines the development of international mechanisms to tackle issues related to illicit drugs.

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Drug trends over a century of drug control

In the previous chapters, the emergence and the development of the international drug control system was described, starting with the preparations in 1906, the 1909 Shanghai conference and the first International Opium Convention, adopted in 1912. The long-term relevance of the international drug control system, as traced above, is undeniable. But can the same be said about its efficacy? Ultimately, the most interesting question is to what extent the efforts made by the international community and individual States have had a tangible impact on drug production and consumption.

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