Morocco is committed to playing an active role in the fight against synthetic drug threats, stressed, on Friday in Rabat, Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates, Nasser Bourita. Speaking at the virtual ministerial Meeting on accelerating and strengthening the global response to synthetic drugs, which led to the launch of the Global Coalition to Address Synthetic Drug Threats, an initiative of US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, Bourita emphasized Morocco’s commitment to playing an active role in this fight, in line with its global commitments. He welcomed the establishment of this new global mechanism, noting that the coalition comes at a crucial time, given the devastating consequences of drug use on health, security and social cohesion. The success of this global coalition requires the collective commitment of all stakeholders in this fight, added the Minister, stressing that international cooperation and multilateralism should be its guiding principles. On this occasion, Bourita cited three key recommendations to improve the future action of this coalition, including the establishment of an effective alert system to identify new emerging synthetic substances. This system should facilitate the rapid exchange of information and intelligence between member countries, to enable rapid detection and reaction. The second recommendation addresses prevention, treatment and awareness by prioritizing early healthcare intervention and treatment options, strengthening scientific and research partnerships to stay ahead of evolving synthetic drug trends, and implementing awareness, education and community resilience programs, both online and offline. The Minister also called for the promotion of international collaboration through increased cooperation between countries in joint operations, and capacity building and partnerships between scientific communities, healthcare professionals and law enforcement agencies for effective responses, with a focus on the African continent. “The growing loss of human life due to synthetic drugs is a strong reminder of the urgent need for concerted action,” added the Moroccan minister, pointing out that the demand for and supply of synthetic drugs is increasing, leading to the emergence of new markets beyond the traditional ones. Based on data from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Minister recalled that by 2021, almost 300 million people had taken drugs, including synthetic drugs, representing a 23% increase in ten years. The number of people suffering from drug-related disorders has almost reached 40 million, representing an increase of 45% over the last decade, underlined Bourita. Referring to “proven collaboration between drug traffickers and various non-state actors, including terrorist and separatist groups”, he said that these groups use the profits generated by their illicit activities to exacerbate regional instability, further underlining the urgent need for global strategies. In Morocco, drug use and addiction are recognized as a major public health problem, and the fight against drug trafficking is a national priority, stressed Mr. Bourita, noting that the Kingdom suffers from the smuggling of synthetic drugs in its region. Over the last three years alone, Moroccan authorities have seized more than 5 million psychotropic tablets, mainly smuggled into Morocco from neighboring countries, he recalled. To effectively combat the harmful effects of this problem, Morocco has implemented a comprehensive and integrated strategy to combat drug and psychotropic substance trafficking, which is periodically aligned with resolutions adopted by United Nations bodies and focuses on reducing supply, preventing drug abuse and consumption, combating illicit trafficking, and strengthening international cooperation, he concluded.
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