Training workshop on drug detection kits in Segou, Mali
West Africa is severely affected by drug trafficking. The growth in trade volumes between countries has led to an increase in suspicious goods transiting through the region, and has made the work of narcotic repression services more difficult. In addition to drugs, medications used to relieve certain conditions such as sleep deprivation, anxiety, pain or allergies are sometimes diverted from their therapeutic use, and are increasingly used. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 10% of the world's medicines market is counterfeit. In Africa, this rate reaches 25%.
In the framework of its Sahel Programme, aimed at strengthening the operational capacities of law enforcement officers in the region, UNODC organized a training workshop for police officers in Ségou, Mali, from 21 to 25 May 2018, thanks to the financial support of Denmark. The workshopbrought together 24 participants, including 4 women, and 4 consultants, to train law enforcement officers in the rapid detection of drugs and related substances by using a detection kit provided by UNODC, and to familiarize them with trafficking in counterfeit medicines, and in medicines diverted from their therapeutic uses.
This training was organized around 3 components: a theoretical section where the participants had access to general information on the drugs as well as on the basic principles of the test kits, a practical part where the participants carried out tests themselves, and a section on terrorism and organized crime that examined the interaction between prison administrations and prisoners in the context of radicalization.
The UNODC toolkit provides simple and fast detection of traditional drugs, new drugs and related substances, directly in the field. This tool is a very important device and is an effective way to combat drug trafficking in the region.
UNODC drug and precursor test kits provide beneficiaries with the means to conduct on-site testing for illicit drugs, including narcotics such as heroin and cocaine as well as for psychotropic substances like amphetamines and for precursor chemicals used to manufacture drugs, such as acetic anhydride as well as ephedrine.
Lastly, this session contributed to the collaboration between the National Health Laboratory of Mali (LNS) and the Legislative, Regulatory and Repression Authorities in specific aspects of the fight against drugs, organized crime and terrorism.
Within the framework of the Integrated Strategy of the United Nations for the Sahel since 2014, UNODC contributes to State efforts through capacity-building for national criminal justice systems, focusing on the implementation of international legal instruments against terrorism based on the principle of the rule of law and Human Rights.