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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.

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The drug situation prior to the establishment of an international drug control system

The use of psychoactive substances has occurred since ancient times and is the subject of a fairly well documented social history. There are indications that cannabis was used as early as 4000 B.C. in Central Asia and north-western China, with written evidence going back to 2700 B.C. in the pharmacopeia of emperor Chen-Nong. It then gradually spread across the globe, to India (some 1500 B.C., also mentioned in Altharva Veda, one of four holy books about 1400 B.C.), the Near and Middle East (some 900 B.C.), Europe (some 800 B.C.), various parts of South-East Asia (2nd century A.D.), Africa (as of the 11th century A.D.) to the Americas (19th century) and the rest of the world.

English

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