UNODC: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime


Topic A: Limiting the Use of the Internet for Terrorist Purposes

While the Internet is often viewed as a positive force, it can be used as a platform for illegal activities, including terrorism. Terrorism is a widespread global phenomenon that affects many, if not all countries, and the Internet has been used to enhance its coercive capabilities. The global concerns over such Internet use have evolved over time; in the 1990s, the main concern was that terrorist organizations might launch digital attacks against critical infrastructure, including transportation networks and energy grids. However, perspectives on terrorist uses of the Internet began to change after the attacks of September 11, 2001, where the perpetrators of the attack used the Internet to plan and finance their operation. Currently, the world’s most dangerous terrorist organization - the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant - is successfully using the internet to inspire and recruit potential terrorists across the world. Despite a recent increase in international recognition of the link between the Internet and terrorism, there are currently no effective or internationally-recognized agreements that address this issue.

Topic B: Responding to the Rise of New Psychoactive Substances

The rising use of new psychoactive substances (NPS), which offer “legal highs” that users mistake as safe alternatives to illicit drugs, presents a global public health risk. NPS, more commonly referred to as “designer drugs,” mimic the effects of illegal substances. However, they are not subject to the legal restrictions of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs or the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Traffickers of NPS market a “legal high” that presents equal or intensified health risks compared to the drugs listed under intentional control, including cannabis, cocaine, heroin, LSD, ecstasy, and methamphetamines. The ingredients used to synthesize designer drugs are not prohibited under the International Drug Control Conventions, creating legal loopholes and allowing traffickers to continue to spread dangerous substances. By mid-2015, UNODC reported that over fifty countries had implemented legislation in response to NPS; however, the common response bans entire substance groups, an approach that is easily circumvented by using alternative chemicals. In order to halt the use of NPS and combat the growing public health risk posed by designer drugs masked as legal highs, UNODC must develop legislation that is simultaneously effective and attainable.

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