India, 21 others designated as major illicit drug producers

Washington :India along with 21 others have been designated as major illicit drug producing countries by US President Barack Obama.

Other countries are Afghanistan, the Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Myanmar, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Laos, Mexico, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.

In a notification, Obama further designated Bolivia, Myanmar and Venezuela as countries that have failed demonstrably during the previous 12 months to adhere to their obligations under international counter-narcotic agreements and take measures against them.

However, Obama determined to continue aid to Myanmar and Venezuela arguing that this is in the national interest of the US.

Obama said a country’s presence on the foregoing Major Drug Transit and Major Illicit Drug Producing Countries list is not a reflection of its government’s counter-narcotic efforts or level of cooperation with the US.

There is a growing international consensus that counter-narcotics programs must be designed and implemented with the aim of improving the health and safety of individuals while preventing and reducing violence and other harmful consequences to communities, Obama said.

“In concert with international partners, the US is expanding its domestic and international funding for drug treatment and recovery support programs based on empirical scientific evidence that shows that substance use disorders are medical conditions and must be treated as such,” he said.

To achieve greater balance, US drug policy also includes stepped-up promotion of effective alternative development programs for farmers and others who agree to stop illegal drug cultivation and associated activities, he said.

Obama said heroin in the US is being increasingly adulterated with low-cost synthetic opioids, especially fentanyl.

Research has shown that fentanyl and its analogues can be 25 to 50 times more potent than heroin, he added.

According to US law enforcement, most illicit fentanyl, precursors, and fentanyl analogues that have been identified in the US originate in China and enter the country via Mexico, Canada, or direct mail, Obama added.