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Regulating NPS in the Middle East: a critical juncture

Soderholm, Alexander (2017) Regulating NPS in the Middle East: a critical juncture. In: Corazza, Ornella and Roman-Urrestarazu, Andres, (eds.) Novel Psychoactive Substances : Policy, Economics and Drug Regulation. Springer, Cham, Switzerland, pp. 75-95. ISBN 9783319605999

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Identification Number: 10.1007/978-3-319-60600-2_6


Middle Eastern member states have found themselves at a critical juncture with regard to the emergence of novel psychoactive substances (NPS). Drawing on the history of regulatory systems for illicit drugs in the region, international scholarship on the impact of drugs on governance and development and the formal and informal regulatory systems adopted by member states, this work charts possible future directions of NPS policy in the Middle East. Through a historical evaluation of regulatory systems, lessons are drawn from the emergence of the lucrative and violent trade for opiates in the 1970s, coinciding with rising Western demand and ‘prohibition’. It questions the impact of emergency scheduling powers on reducing use, harm or trafficking in NPS. Exploring regulatory approaches towards khat, this analysis draws broader implications of poor or non-existing regulation of psychoactive substances. Furthermore, mapping the supply chains for NPS will be of great importance in understanding how such substances might be intertwined with conflict dynamics or conflated with the trafficking of other ‘traditional’ drugs, drawing on the case of Captagon. Highlighting existing informal systems of regulation, this contribution challenges the goals of drug control. It is argued that regulation should reduce the harms caused by NPS, and policy itself, to the individual user and society. In conclusion, the implication for future research on NPS in the Middle East is that close attention should be paid to idiosyncratic models for regulation based on local dynamics of the NPS trade, as states risk catalysing a renewed ‘war on drugs’.

Item Type: Book Section
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2017 Springer International Publishing AG
Divisions: IGA: United States Centre
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DS Asia
J Political Science > JZ International relations
K Law > K Law (General)
Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2017 10:05
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2021 01:37

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