Threats from synthetic drugs produced from precursor substances

VCN - Currently, the management of the use of precursor substances (materials for production of synthetic drugs) after being licensed and imported has many inadequacies and is somewhat loose.
threats from synthetic drugs produced from precursor substances 14865 Dien Bien Customs coordinates to seize 6,000 tablets of synthetic drugs
threats from synthetic drugs produced from precursor substances 14865 Stop the case of transacting 20,000 tablets of synthetic drugs
threats from synthetic drugs produced from precursor substances 14865 Dien Bien Customs seizes 14,000 pills of synthetic drugs
threats from synthetic drugs produced from precursor substances 14865
Data and photos provided by the Anti-smuggling and Investigation Department. Graphics: Nguyen Quoc

The biggest source of drugs

According to data from the Anti-Smuggling and Investigation Department (General Department of Customs), in recent years, synthetic drugs (in powder form, crystal form and tablet form) have always been the most seized exhibits in drug cases. There were even cases of synthetic drug seizures of up to hundreds of kilograms, the largest ever, and the seized volume reached more than one ton and hundreds of thousands of tablets.

Typically, in 2019 (the year with the highest volume of seized drugs in recent years), only seizures by Customs, seized drugs amounted to more than 1,411kg and 324,938 tablets. Meanwhile, heroin was only 28.86kg and 764 packages; ketamine 528.52kg; cocaine 18.19kg; opium 39kg and marijuana 25.56kg.

According to data updated from the beginning of 2020, synthetic drugs dominated. Specifically, synthetic drugs in seizures under participation by Customs were 116.139kg and 94,200 tablets. Meanwhile other drugs such as heroin was 3.93kg; cocaine 0.124kg, opium 3.1kg andmarijuana 18.358kg.

Some of the above figures show that synthetic drugs are increasingly becoming the biggest threat in the prevention and combat against such dangerous crime. "Even as the Golden Triangle area used to mainly produce heroin, it now focuses on producing synthetic drugs from precursor substances," said an official from the Drug Enforcement Division(Anti-Smuggling and Investigation Department).

Not only increasing strongly in terms of production scale, the dangers of synthetic drugs, especially ice also has the toxicity to the nervous system, the health of users many times higher than that of drugs originating from plants. In fact, there isstill daily news about "use of drugs in groups", even drug users climbing on rooftops and electric poles and the common feature in these cases is addictsusingice drugs.

Control of precursor substances in the country is limited

Talking about the sudden increase in synthetic drugs in recent years, Mr. Nguyen Van Thuy, Head of Drug Enforcement Division,said that one of the causes leading to the above situation was due to the easier processing and production of synthetic drugs from precursor substances, which has not been partly controlled in the country.

Currently, precursor substances are legally used in industry, health and some areas of agriculture and export, import, use of precursor substances is managed through the licensing of the authorities such as the Department of Chemicals (Ministry of Industry and Trade).

“Currently, there are thousands of enterprises importing precursor substances every year, but in reality,whether they use them for theright purpose or not? Or whether they use up the import quantity or not? We do not have effective control mechanism. That's not to mention the precursorsubstance trading in wholesale markets has not been well controlled and managed,”said Mr. Nguyen Van Thuy.

The inadequacies in the management of the use of precursor substances after being licensed, are considered one of the big dangers for the trading of precursor substances in the market to produce synthetic drugs.

In fact, competent forces, especially the customs and police agencies, have detected many cases(mainly related to foreigners in cooperation with domestic citizens) of establishing enterprises to import precursor substances to produce ice drugs. Including the case of importing precursor substances but without a license or a "bogus" enterprise (without a manufacturing facility) is still licensed to import precursor substances.

For example, in August 2019, the police force cooperated with otherforces to raid the factory of Dong AnVien Import and Export Co., Ltd. (Dak Ha district, Kon Tum Province). Here, the forces arrestedsevenpeople, all of whom are Chinese citizens who have acts of illegally producing drugs. Searching this factory, the competent forces collected a large amount of chemicals and about 20 tonnes of machinery, equipment and tools installed into the illegal production line of drugs (reaction system, heating machine, centrifuges, dryers).

Facing the complicated situation of "hiding" the enterprises to import precursor substances for synthetic drug production in recent years, the General Department of Customs' leaders instructed competent forces to strengthen inspection and strict control of the import, export, transport and transit of precursor substances, addictive substances, psychotropic substances, especially in industrial zones and export processing zones.

However, in order to effectively fight cases of taking advantage of the import of precursor substance for drug production, Mr. Nguyen Van Thuy said that the specialized management agencies should intensify the inspection of the use of precursor substances after being licensed and imported. “Because, according to the functions and duties, the Customs agency mainly controls the import, export, or transit and the inland control is under the specialized management agencies and other competent forces,” said Thuy.

By Nguyen Quoc/Bui Diep

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