March 3, 2011 - 14:55 AMT 10:55 GMT

According to the Report of the International Narcotics Control Board
(INCB) of the UN for 2010, the southern Caucasus is increasingly being
used as a transit area for consignments of opiates from Afghanistan,
and as a result, drug abuse is on the rise in the subregion.

"Given the long borders that countries of that subregion share with
Iran (Islamic Republic of), the Russian Federation and Turkey and
their access to the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, the Board remains
concerned that the situation with regard to drug trafficking and abuse
in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia may continue to deteriorate unless
increased attention is given to information-sharing, more efficient
border control, drug demand reduction and regional and national
coordination of drug control activities," the report reads.

As for Armenia, the report says: "A mission of the Board visited
Armenia in October 2010. The Board's previous mission to that country
was in 1997. The Board notes the commitment of the competent national
authorities of Armenia to comply with the provisions of the three
international drug control conventions, to which Armenia is a party.

The Board has identified shortcomings in mutual cooperation and
information exchange among the drug control authorities in the country
and encourages the Government to address that issue.

Armenia has recently been targeted by criminal groups engaged in
trafficking in precursors used in the illicit manufacture of heroin
and amphetamine-type stimulants, as evidenced by the clandestine
amphetamine laboratories uncovered and dismantled in the country in
2010. The Board has requested the Government to further strengthen
the control of precursors. The Board recommends the Government to
assess the requirements for narcotic drugs used for pain treatment
in the country and to identify and address any impediments to making
them available in sufficient quantities for medical use."

From: A. Papazian