A Century of International Drug Control

image of A Century of International Drug Control
The international drug control system is one of the oldest consensus-based multilateral systems in existence. While the use of psychoactive substances itself extends back many centuries, today’s international drug control system is rooted in efforts made a century ago to address the largest substance abuse problem the world has ever faced: the Chinese opium epidemic. The present volume is not a diplomatic history, it aims only to present the basic development of the modern drug control system: why and how it arose, how it impacted drug production and consumption and its legacy for present and future international drug control efforts.



The emergence of an international drug control consensus

The century long opium trade was devastating for China, from both a health and a social point of view. Opium merchants, shippers, bankers, insurance agencies and governments profited greatly but the social and economic costs of a growing number of drug addicts in China and across East and South-East Asia became untenable relatively quickly.


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