Peru, UN create anti-drug center


LIMA, March 5 (Xinhua) -- Peru and the UN office on drugs agreed Monday to jointly establish a center to stem the production and trade of illegal drugs in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Center of Excellence is aimed at boosting the government's ability to control the distribution of chemical substances by training officials to identify the methods used to funnel drugs and their base components toward illegal production, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crimes.

"The Center of Excellence is to promote research and technical knowledge to prevent and control the misuse of drugs and chemical precursors that are used in the production of illicit drugs," Peru's National Committee for Development and a Drug-Free Life (Devida) said in a statement.

"This effort joins other measures taken by the government," Devida's Executive President Carmen Masias said.

Peru has been plagued by drugs. According to official figures, the country is home to 61,200 hectares of coca plantations, 90 percent of which end up in the hands of drug traffickers.

Last year, more than 1,900 tons of banned substances were seized, the largest amount confiscated yearly in the past decade.

Drug traffickers annually produce about 325 tons of cocaine, only 10 percent of which can be seized by police.


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