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.



International drug control under the auspices of the United Nations

From 1946 on, the United Nations assumed the drug control functions and responsibilities formerly carried out by the League of Nations. In the years surrounding World War II a number of new synthetic narcotics were developed. The most important of these substances were methadone, developed by German scientists in 1937, and pethidine (Demerol). Both substances, produced and marketed by German companies, were in great demand by both soldiers and civilians affected by the war.


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