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Illegal drug trade situation stabilized in Belarus

Society 15.09.2016 | 16:30

MINSK, 15 September (BelTA) – The situation around illegal drug trade in Belarus has been stabilized, BelTA learned from Vasily Losich, Head of the Central Office for Drugs Control and Counteraction of Trafficking in Persons of the Belarusian Interior Ministry, before the seminar on counteracting drug crimes online opened in Minsk on 15 September.

According to Vasily Losich, the legislative initiatives stipulated by Belarus president decree No. 6 on immediate measures to counteract illegal trade in drugs have produced a positive effect. “The situation concerning illegal drug trade is now stabilized. Thanks to the adopted measures the number of drug-related crimes in the country has dropped considerably. In comparison with 2015 the number of criminal cases opened for using or distributing drugs has dropped by 10%. The number of deaths and the number of people delivered to healthcare institutions due to drug overdose have dropped by 30%,” said the official.

The Interior Ministry continues working hard to suppress the spread of psychoactive substances via the World Wide Web. “About 70% of these crimes involve the Internet. Criminals use it to organize joint operations, share the best practices, and find clients. The practice of handing over drugs without personal contacts using secret stashes is a widespread problem now. Money for these stashes is transferred using digital payment systems,” noted Vasily Losich.

The official also mentioned the topicality of the seminar on counteracting drug crimes online. “The war on drugs is an international phenomenon now. Our analysts in the central office and the regional offices of the Interior Ministry successfully combat drugs trafficking online. Nevertheless, we are very much interested in international experience,” said Vasily Losich.

In turn, Head of the European Union Delegation to Belarus Andrea Wiktorin mentioned the great contribution of the Belarusian Interior Ministry to establishing a dialogue with European colleagues and specialists in the area of drugs control, in particular, thanks to the TAIEX program that has enabled information exchange and practical cooperation between Belarus and the European Union.

Nils Ulf Henninger, Head of the Police Affairs Division of the Swedish Justice Ministry, who acted as a moderator during the seminar, said he was confident the meeting would produce a positive effect for all the sides. He called upon participants of the forum to contribute to the discussion for the sake of achieving the best results.

An international conference under the OSCE aegis took place in Minsk last year. During this year's seminar specialists will be able to acquire additional knowledge and cutting-edge experience. A number of seminars will take place in the future to help successfully combat drug crimes.

The two-day seminar on counteracting drug crimes online has been organized within the framework of the European Commission's Technical Assistance and Information Exchange instrument (TAIEX) with financial assistance of the European Commission. International experts from Netherlands, Ireland, Sweden, Poland, Lithuania, representatives of divisions in charge of counteracting drugs trafficking and trafficking in persons of the Interior Ministry and the Interior Ministry Academy are taking part in the event. Representatives of the banking industry, law enforcement agencies of the Eastern Partnership Initiative participating states have been invited to attend as well.

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