Technical Support of Drug Detection

Conference paper


For a number of years the customs service and police forces have been demanding the provision of better technical means for detecting and identifying narcotics. The objective of improved detection methods is not so much to reduce availability, but to increase the risk for the illegal drug dealer. The proportion of drug seizures based on the estimated total annual consumption appears to be very low.1 An estimate of the total annual consumption and the percentage of drugs seized is difficult to make, since factors such as the total number of drug addicts, the average daily demand, the stretching of the quality of the drug from the “wholesaler” to the addict, and the true amount of drugs in transit (as opposed to the amount of narcotics brought back into the country) have to be taken into account.2 Although the percentage of seizures is very low, it is nevertheless a basis for assessing the effectiveness of improved interdiction methods. Even a minimal increase in this percentage could drastically raise the risk associated with trafficking narcotics. Moreover, the police might receive additional information on the hidden, complex supply system of the drug trade and, in turn, could draw up measures for more effective prosecution.


Drug Trade Custom Authority Drug Detection Cargo Container Total Annual Consumption 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1991

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