On 21 May 2021, the Shanghai University of Political Science and Law hosted the second "SCO For a World Without Drugs International Counternarcotics Campaign."
The campaign programme includes the SCO Model on countering the international drug threat in today's environment with students from the Shanghai University of Political Science and Law, Zhejiang University and Shanghai Normal University, as well as a special online event, "The joint creation of a drug-free future."
The event was attended by SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov, Rector of the Shanghai University of Political Science and Law Liu Xiaohong, Deputy Secretary General of the China National Narcotics Control Commission Xiong Desheng, Deputy Director of the SCO RATS Executive Committee Vadim Barchuk, UNODC Regional Representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific Jeremy Douglas, Director of CARICC Rustam Aziz Miralizoda, representatives from the Supreme People's Procuratorate and the Supreme People's Court of China, the diplomatic corps, and related authorities from the member states, observers and SCO dialogue partners, as well as Chinese and foreign students from universities in China.
SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov said the threatening rates of drug addiction undermine the social foundations and gene pools of nations, primarily the physical and mental health of adolescents and youth. These risks are currently exacerbated by the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The SCO member states emphasised their commitment to preserve and strengthen the existing international drug control system based on the three universal UN conventions and limiting their use exclusively to medical and scientific purposes, which, in particular, was recorded in the joint statement of the heads of state on countering the drug threat of 10 November 2020, and the results of the fifth special event of the SCO and UNODC on 12 April 2021 on the sidelines of the 64th session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs.
The current development of a new Work Plan for Implementing the SCO Anti-Drug Strategy until 2023, which focuses on the exchange of experience on drug prevention in secondary and higher educational institutions in the region's countries, the medical rehabilitation of drug addicts and the promotion of a healthy lifestyle, was addressed.
Rector of the Shanghai University of Political Science and Law Liu Xiaohong reported on the anti-drug educational aspects of the activities of the China National Institute for SCO International Exchange and Judicial Cooperation, established at the University.
It was noted that to date, 60 anti-drug lectures and other related events have been held, including those aimed at training volunteers. In addition, the International Youth Training Camp took place online in July-August 2020 to explore various countries' experiences in building and developing policing systems.
Xiong Desheng, Deputy Secretary General of the China National Narcotics Control Commission, briefed participants on the main drug challenges and priorities of the anti-drug policy in the country.
According to Mr Desheng, the number of drug users in China is diminishing for a third straight year, having reached about 1.8 million by the end of 2020. More than half of them are under 35 years old. The growing use of cannabis and synthetic drugs, the abuse of drug-containing medications, the emergence of new types of psychoactive substances, and the spread of drugs in a virtual environment were identified as dangerous trends.
It was emphasised that in the current situation, government authorities in China are focusing on early prevention of drug addiction in secondary and higher educational institutions. Currently, 96 million students from 227,000 schools in the PRC have received anti-drug education as part of the special national platform.
A report by Deputy Director of the SCO RATS Executive Committee Vadim Barchuk was devoted to multilateral cooperation within the organisation to suppress the channels of financing terrorist, separatist and extremist activities that are financed by drug revenues.
In particular, it was indicated that in 2020, as part of the Solidarity border operation, more than 450 kg of heroin, 150 kg of herbal drugs and 2,200 kg of synthetic drugs, including strong substances, were seized.
UNODC Regional Representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific Jeremy Douglas announced a gradual shift in the drug market in East and Central Asia towards illegal substances of synthetic origin.
He also warned that transnational organised crime groups will try to use the trade and transport corridors that are recovering from the pandemic for their own purposes.
Mr Douglas noted the approaching 10th anniversary of the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the SCO Secretariat and the UNODC and confirmed his readiness to provide UN assistance to the SCO member states in further improving the work of the relevant coordination platforms and law enforcement agencies.
Director of CARICC Rustam Aziz Miralizoda said that in recent years, with the assistance of the centre, 43 anti-drug operations have been carried out, as a result of 23 of which about 700 kg of hard drugs were seized. In addition, in 2020-2021, five operations were successfully completed, in which heroin and methamphetamine valued at over $15 million were seized.
It was stated that, given the continued relevance of the anti-drug issue on the regional agenda, the SCO and CARICC should become the flagships of its promotion in the interests of their member states and participants, including by holding joint events and synchronising the assigned powers and tasks.
During the event, senior prosecutor, second rank, of the Second Procuratorate of the Supreme People's Procuratorate of China Hu Yaoxian and senior judge, third rank, of the Fifth Judicial Collegium for Criminal Cases of the Supreme People's Court of China Zhao Juyuang devoted their reports to improving the legal literacy of young people to strengthen their resolve against drugs.
Famous Chinese athlete Zhu Hunang, students from Zhejiang University, City University of Macau and Shanghai University of Political Science and Law shared their views on the designated problem. At the end of the event, a flash mob on countering drugs was held.
The first For a World Without Drugs International Counternarcotics Campaign was held on 19 April 2017 in Nur-Sultan (Astana) at the initiative of First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev.
The campaign is held in interested SCO member states in accordance with their common intentions to reduce illegal drug trafficking and abuse, the consequences of their illegal trafficking for public health, public and state security, and assistance in preventive work carried out by various state authorities, civil society institutions and the media.