Transnational organized crime is considered as one of the major threats to human security, impeding the social, economic, political and cultural development of societies worldwide. It is a multi-faceted phenomenon and has manifested itself in different activities, among others, drug trafficking, trafficking in human beings; trafficking in firearms; smuggling of migrants; money laundering, etc.
In particular drug trafficking is one of the main activities of organized crime groups, generating enormous profits. As globalization has expanded international trade, so the range of organized crime activities has broadened and diversified. The traditional hierarchical forms of organized crime groups have diminished; replaced with loose networks who work together in order to exploit new market opportunities. For example organized crime groups involved in drug trafficking are commonly engaged in smuggling of other illegal goods. The links between drug trafficking and other forms of transnational organized crime calls for a more integrated approach to address this nexus.
The geographic location of the Southern Caucasus makes the region attractive as a transit zone for the trafficking of opiates from Afghanistan to the major consumer markets of Europe. Afghanistan is the leading global producer of illicit opium with annual production estimated by UNODC at 6,900 metric tons in 2009. This constitutes around 90% of the total global opium output.
One of the main drug abuse problems relates to the abuse of subutex (buprenorphine). This semi-synthetic opioid, used to treat narcotic addiction as a substitute to heroin, is frequently used by injecting drug users. Additionally the abuse of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) smuggled into the country from Europe is problematic. It appears that the drug abuse situation is a major concern yet no reliable data appears to exist, particularly on the extent of trafficking.
In addition to the lack of data on the drug situation, it should be mentioned that Georgia does not have a national anti-drug strategy and action plan to address the drug problem; the current legislation is not in line with the UN Drug Control Conventions and needs to be reviewed and amended. The importance of ensuring that effective legislation is in place together with the development and implementation of a comprehensive and balanced strategy with clear objectives and targets is essential to provide the necessary foundation for tackling the drug problem effectively. A further concern is that no inter-ministerial group is in place to ensure the coordination of drug control activities. It is recommended that such a body to be established to lead in developing and implementing a national strategy to address the drug problem.