Morocco is committed to playing an active role in the fight against the threats linked to synthetic drugs, underlined, Friday in Rabat, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans residing abroad, Nasser Bourita.
Speaking at the Virtual Ministerial Meeting on Accelerating and Enhancing the Global Response Against Synthetic Drugs, which resulted in the launch of the Global Coalition Against Synthetic Drug Threats, an initiative of US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, N. Bourita highlighted Morocco’s commitment to play an active role in this fight, in accordance with its global commitments.
He welcomed the establishment of this new global mechanism, noting that this coalition comes at a crucial time, given the devastating consequences of drug use on health, security and social cohesion.
The success of this global coalition requires the collective commitment of all stakeholders in this fight, the Minister added, stressing that international cooperation and multilateralism should be its guiding principles.
On this occasion, Nasser Bourita made three key recommendations to improve the future action of this coalition, in particular the establishment of an effective alert system to identify new emerging synthetic substances. This system should facilitate the rapid exchange of information and intelligence between member countries, to enable rapid detection and response.
The second recommendation relates to prevention, treatment and awareness by prioritizing early intervention in health care and treatment options, strengthening scientific and research partnerships to stay ahead of the evolving synthetic drug trends and implementing awareness, education and community resilience programs, both online and offline.
The Minister also called for the promotion of international collaboration, which will have to go through increased cooperation between countries within the framework of joint operations and through the strengthening of capacities and partnerships between the scientific communities, health professionals and law enforcement agencies for effective responses, with a focus on the African continent.
“The increasing loss of human life due to synthetic drugs is a strong reminder to us of the urgency of concerted action”, continued the minister, indicating that the demand and the supply of synthetic drugs are increasing, which is leading to the emergence of new markets beyond the traditional ones.
23% increase in drug users in 10 years
Based on data from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Minister recalled that in 2021, nearly 300 million people used drugs, including synthetic drugs, which represents an increase of 23% in ten years.
The number of individuals suffering from drug use disorders has almost reached 40 million, which represents a 45% increase over the last decade, also lamented N. Bourita.
Referring to “proven collaboration between drug traffickers and various non-state actors, including terrorist and separatist groups”, he asserted that these groups use the profits generated by their illicit activities to exacerbate regional instability, which further underlines further the urgent need for comprehensive strategies.
In Morocco, drug consumption and drug addiction are recognized as an important public health problem, and the fight against drug trafficking is a national priority, underlined the head of Moroccan diplomacy, noting that the Kingdom suffers from smuggling synthetic drugs in his region.
In the past three years alone, Moroccan authorities have seized more than 5 million psychotropic tablets, mainly smuggled into Moroccan territory from neighboring countries, he recalled.
To fight effectively against the harmful effects of this problem, Morocco has implemented a global and integrated strategy to fight against the trafficking of drugs and psychotropic substances, which aligns itself periodically with the resolutions adopted by the bodies of the United Nations and focuses on reducing supply, preventing drug abuse and consumption, combating illicit trafficking, and strengthening international cooperation, he concluded.
Created at the initiative of the United States, the Global Coalition against Synthetic Drug Threats aims to bring together key international actors, governments, intergovernmental organizations, specialized agencies, civil society and the private sector for concerted action aimed at to face the challenges posed by synthetic drugs on a global scale.