Drug Control:

How Drug-Consuming Nations Are Organized for the War on Drugs

NSIAD-90-133: Published: Jun 4, 1990. Publicly Released: Jun 29, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on: (1) the nature of the worldwide drug abuse and narcotics trafficking problem; and (2) how U.S. and European policies, perspectives, and approaches differ in areas of organization and infrastructure, law enforcement, demand reduction, and strategies for international narcotics control.

GAO found that: (1) the European drug market was expanding as the U.S. market became saturated; (2) reduced European trade barriers could further complicate European drug reduction efforts; (3) there was no monitoring of compliance with international conventions on drug reduction; (4) the United States used its military forces to extend interdiction beyond its borders, and conditioned foreign assistance on recipients' cooperation in fighting drug trafficking; (5) European officials based their anti-narcotics policies on demand and supply reduction activities; (6) U.S. and European criminal penalties and drug-related laws differed substantially; (7) European countries proscribed undercover techniques that were common in the United States, and did not target national intelligence assets toward drug law enforcement; (8) U.S. and European demand reduction strategies were similar; (9) the United States focused law enforcement assistance through bilateral agreements with drug-producing countries, while European countries focused such assistance through the United Nations; and (10) the United States and European countries were cooperating more toward establishing compatible approaches to drug trafficking.

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