News article

UK and United Nations cooperate with Guatemala in combating synthetic drugs

More than 60 officials from various branches of the Guatemalan Government participated in a one-week training session aimed at increasing the capabilities of the country in the management of psychoactive substances and chemical precursors - raw materials for the increasingly lethal synthetic drugs.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime - Regional Office for Central America and the Caribbean in Panama (UNODC-ROPAN) provided the training, with funding from the British Embassy in Guatemala in the framework of strengthening the areas of security and justice under the new administration of President Jimmy Morales.

Officials of the Ministry of Interior, the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Judicial Branch, The National Institute of Forensic Sciences, and the National Civil Police, amongst others, addressed specific themes, such as the identification and elimination of active ingredients abandoned by pharmaceutical industries that, due to their adverse effects, are salvaged for use in substances of abuse.

They also touched on the investigation, prosecution and adjudication of criminal cases involving the diversion of illegal chemical precursors; which are the same used in the manufacturing of synthetic drugs in clandestine laboratories and distributed illegally in developed countries in the form of tablets, capsules, powders or liquids.

It is expected that the training will result in the formulation of policies in the medium and long term, within the technical, legal and environmental areas related to managing these potentially dangerous substances.

To mark the UK involvement in this initiative, British Ambassador to Guatemala, Thomas Carter, said:

Drug abuse has a devastating effect on the health, welfare and quality of life of many people, especially young people, in the UK and other developed countries. In countries like Guatemala, manufacturing or marketing these drugs impact on the high levels of violence and deaths of innocents. Britain is globally committed to restrict the supply of drugs and to identify and prosecute those involved in the trade of illicit substances. We want to work with the government of President Jimmy Morales in this regard.