Vienna, 13 November 2023 - Relying on new drug routes and evading traditional detection methods, the synthetic drug trade has changed not only how drugs are produced but also how they are trafficked.
While the bulk of cocaine is trafficked by sea and heroin trafficking has historically relied on land routes, most synthetic drugs are trafficked by air. In fact, synthetic drugs like methamphetamine tend to be trafficked across continents by air more than any other type of illicit drugs.
Given growing concerns about the rise of synthetic drug trafficking in the aviation sector, UNODC’s Synthetic Drug Strategy collaborated with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to develop the newly launched module on Air Trafficking for the UN Toolkit on Synthetic Drugs. The module was designed specifically to equip aviation professionals and security experts with the knowledge and tools required to effectively address synthetic drug trafficking in aviation environments.
Acknowledging the unique challenges presented by different forms of air transport, the module is divided into three sections, commercial passenger flights, cargo aircraft and general aviation. Each section offers practical resources that are specific to the prevention and detection of synthetic drugs in each kind of aviation environment.
The module also features a fourth section that provides guidance on conducting post-detection/seizure investigations within aviation environments. “By providing resources that facilitate information sharing in aviation, this module fosters greater international cooperation in addressing the global synthetic drug problem,” Justice Tettey, Chief of the Drugs, Laboratory and Scientific Services Branch noted.
UNODC will host a virtual demonstration of the Air Trafficking module on November 22, 10-10:30 (CET) to showcase the practical uses of these resources. Attendees from across sectors are encouraged to register.
The UN Toolkit on Synthetic Drugs contains over 350 cross-cutting tools and resources from across the UN system to help respond to the challenges posed by synthetic drugs. It can be accessed at https://syntheticdrugs.unodc.org/syntheticdrugs/toolkit.html.