NEWS

EUROPE

More than 300,000 ecstasy pills were seized in March 2002 in European countries in an international operation that involved Western European states, Australia, Canada and the USA. Europe continues to be the main producer of ecstasy tablets for the world market. According to the UN’s international counternarcotics committee, more cooperation is needed between policing authorities in order to deal with the large-scale distribution of these pills worldwide. Russia is used as an alternative route for the illegal channeling of drugs from Asia to Europe. In 2001, the Russian authorities seized more than 75 tons of narcotic substances, including 3.5 tons of heroin. The UN committee has appealed to European governments to continue their support for the authorities in Afghanistan in their efforts to deal with the drug problem there, since Europe is the destination of most of the heroin from southwest Asia. Meanwhile the UK’s decision to reduce controls on cannabis has given the committee cause for concern about the repercussions in other parts of the world regarding drug controls.