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Commentary on Illicit Drugs in the Environment: A Tool for Public Education -- Societal Drug Abuse and Its Aiding of Terrorism

NCJ Number
196565
Author(s)
Christian G. Daughton
Date Published
2001
Length
5 pages
Annotation
This paper identifies the potential of illicit drug consumption to adversely affect the environment and indirectly provide financial support for international terrorist organizations.
Abstract
This paper profiles a potentially effective means of making the public aware of how illicit drug consumption can undermine two national priorities, i.e., the protection of the environment and counter-terrorism measures. The proposal is designed to improve the public's understanding of and appreciation for environmental science, particularly its documentation of the occurrence of high-visibility chemicals (i.e., illicit drugs) in water supplies, thereby showing the inseparable connection between human behavior (consumption of illicit drugs) and environmental impacts. This paper proposes the collection of aquatic occurrence data for a number of highly bioactive chemical classes for which no prior data exist; public education and outreach regarding environmental science; increasing the accuracy of public knowledge regarding community-wide illicit drug use; fostering a science-based social discourse on society's use of illicit drugs; and improving public awareness of how citizens inadvertently support the advancement of terrorism through illegal financial transactions. The proposed monitoring approach would address a major human health issue as well as a potential aquatic toxicity issue. The proposal makes a rare linkage between a physical science (environmental analytical chemistry) and social science (determining societal behavior and promoting social discourse) with the main objective being to foster a more meaningful national debate on the long-festering and perplexing issue of illicit drug use and to what degree it pervades and affects society. The public would also be educated about the direct ties between drug use and the "war on terrorism," with attention to the extensive involvement of terrorist organizations in drug trafficking, through which they fund terrorist activities against the United States.