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2011: International Narcotics Control Strategy Report – Georgia Review

A. Introduction

Apart from small-scale production of ATS, Georgia produces no narcotic drugs. However, because of its location bridging Asia and Europe, Georgia is becoming a major transit corridor for drugs of abuse produced elsewhere. One major drug route runs from Afghanistan and Iran through Azerbaijan and on to Western Europe and Russia. Drugs also transit through Georgia to Western Europe from Greece and Turkey. Another suspected route involves long-haul TIR trucks. These trucks are supposed to be inspected for contraband at their place of origination, and then sealed for their trip onward. However, many observers believe that they represent a major corridor for drug smuggling. The separatist territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia are beyond the control of Georgian law enforcement, and there is speculation that drugs flow through these areas. This information cannot be verified as there is little or no exchange of information on drug trafficking between the Russian occupying forces or the de facto governments of these territories and the Government of Georgia.

Georgia has a domestic drug problem. Among other drugs, heroin, Subutex, methadone and marijuana are available on the domestic market. Subutex is a trade name for buprenorphine, produced throughout Europe, and used for the treatment of opiate addiction. However, this substance is not a registered medication in Georgia and thus not legally available. The drug is smuggled in and abused for its opioid content. Street prices for intravenous drugs continued to increase in 2010. Domestic production and use of methamphetamines, pseudo-ephedrine derived drugs and abuse of other pharmaceutical drugs, especially in urban areas, is also on the rise.

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2010: International Narcotics Control Strategy Report – Georgia Review

I. Summary

Georgia is not considered a drug production country; however it has the potential to be a major transit route for narcotics flowing from Afghanistan to Western Europe. In 2009 there were no significant seizures of narcotics. In part this may be due to adjusted law enforcement priorities, following the August 2008 conflict with Russia, as well as limited interdiction capacity at the borders and within Georgia. Of particular concern are the separatist territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia which are beyond the control of Georgian law enforcement authorities and have been occupied by Russia since August 2008. These areas provide additional routes for drug flow and other contraband. There is speculation that drug flow through these areas is high, however this is not verified as there is little or no exchange of information on drug trafficking between the Russian authorities or the de facto governments of these territories and the Government of Georgia (GOG).

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2009: International Narcotics Control Strategy Report – Georgia Review

I. Summary

Georgia has the potential to be a transit country for narcotics flowing from Afghanistan to Western Europe.  For some years, there have been no western-bound, significant seizures of narcotics in Georgia.  However, in December 2008 375 kilograms of heroin were seized in the Bulgarian port city of Burgas, after arriving from the Georgian port of PotI. Subutex, a Methadone-like pharmaceutical produced throughout Europe, and used in replacement therapies for heroin addiction, continues to flow from Western Europe into Georgia, although cooperation with international law enforcement is hindering its entry into the country.  Separatist territories beyond the control of Georgian law enforcement authorities and occupied by Russia since August 2008,–South Ossetia and Abkhazia–provide additional routes for drug flow and other contraband.  There is little or no exchange of information on drug trafficking between the Russian authorities or the de facto governments of these territories and the Government of Georgia (GOG).  These de facto separatist regimes are widely assumed to protect individuals and organizations involved in drug trafficking, but tensions between Georgia and these areas are high, and this view might simply be a local prejudice.

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