Tallying the Hidden Environmental Costs of Drug Production

Transnational Threat Initiative Workshop

Dr. Thomas Pietschmann

Senior Research Officer at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

Mr Werner Verbruggen

Senior Specialist at EUROPOL

Mr. Benny Van Camp

Judicial Commissioner at the Federal Judicial Police, Belgium

Tuesday, April 29, 2014, 10.00-16.00

Drug production is a significant factor in widespread environmental degradation, yet a lack of reliable data makes it dif¬ficult to pinpoint the extent of this damage. In this seminar, the participants will discuss the scale and impact of environmental destruction linked to drug production, namely Amphetamine Type Stimulants, semi-synthetic drugs, and cannabis.

The focus will be put on issues related to drug production such as:
• Illicit chemicals and toxic waste arising from synthetic and semi-synthetic drugs
• Pesticides and fertilizers in the cultivation of cannabis, coca, and opium poppies
• Electricity and water used for cannabis cultivation
• Pollution of seas and rivers, groundwater, and soil
• Deforestation


Dr. Thomas Pietschmann is a senior Research Officer in the Studies and Threat Analysis Section of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) where he has worked since 1993. He initiated the UN opium poppy surveys in Afghanistan (1994) and has been one of the key authors of UNODC’s World Drug Report since 1997. He has been repeatedly invited to various national and international forums, to represent findings of UNODC’s research work related to drugs (opiates, cocaine, cannabis, amphetamine-type stimulants and new psychoactive substances), the situation in the main narcotics producing countries (Afghanistan and countries in the Andean region) and drug-related financial flows.

Mr Werner Verbruggen is since 2010 Senior Specialist at Europol /SOC O22 – Focal Point Synergy, a project related to the production and trafficking of synthetic drugs. He has previously worked as the Head of the Synthetic Drugs Unit of the Belgian Federal Police.

Mr. Benny Van Camp is Judicial Commissioner at the Federal Judicial Police of Belgium. He is head of the Unit “Natural & Synthetic Drug Production” and the leading officer of the Belgian “Lab Intervention Team” of the Central Drug Department.
He regularly represents the Belgian Federal Police at various forums and works for strategic and/or operational projects closely with international agencies such as Europol and EMCDDA.


09.30: Welcome and coffee

10.00 – 10.45: Mr. Thomas Pietschmann will present an historical perspective on drug control, as well as recent trends in global drug flows (production, trafficking and consumption). Impacts of drugs on public health and security will also be discussed.
10 minutes questions

10.55 – 11.05 Break

11.05 – 11.50: Mr. Werner Verbruggen, from EUROPOL will present environmental destruction linked to Amphetamine-Type-Stimulant (ATS). 10 minutes questions

12.00 – 12.10

12.10 – 12.55 Mr. Benny Van Camp will discuss environmental pollution and destruction linked to cannabis.
10 minutes questions

13.05-14.00: Break

14.00 -16.00: Panel discussion: The panel discussion will focus on how to more accurately measure the environmental consequences of drug production as well as what strategies can be adopted to raise awareness of the issue, especially among young people.

Location: ISDP, Västra Finnbodavägen 2, Stockholm-Nacka. For a map and directions, please go here.

To attend: RSVP to Ms. Aïssata Maïga at amaiga@isdp.eu