Moscow/Vienna, 23 April 2015 - There is growing concern about the connections between violent extremist terrorists and global drug trafficking networks, an anti-drug ministerial conference in Moscow heard today.
In his remarks, UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov noted that illicit drug trafficking appears to play a prominent role in the alliances between terrorists and criminals.
"The Taliban in Afghanistan, terrorists in West Africa and the Sahel and the Middle East are profiting from the drug trade, either through direct involvement or, most often, by levying taxes on the criminal groups," he said.
The UNODC Executive Director said there was widespread acknowledgement that illicit drugs, organized crime, corruption and terrorism had a significant impact on security and development. The General Assembly's Special Session on the world drug problem in April 2016, he said, was - as a result - coming at a highly opportune moment.
Robust action was needed to confront the criminals behind illicit drug trafficking, said Mr. Fedotov. But, he also stressed the need for access to controlled medications for medical purposes; the promotion of evidence-and health-based approaches to preventing and treating drug use disorders, as well as HIV; and alternative livelihoods to reduce poor farmers' vulnerabilities.
"The hard work of putting a comprehensive, vigorous and balanced approach to drug control into action on the ground continues every day," he said.
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