Maximizing the use of the Drugs Monitoring Platform (DMP) to highlight synthetic drug production in South-East and South Asia

Implementing Organization
UNODC
Description

The main goal of the program is to leverage the use of an existing tool, the DMP, to monitor national, regional and global trends in synthetic drugs trafficking, and expand to other types of data such as production (detection of clandestine laboratories). The program will aim at maximize the coverage and use of the platform in relation to synthetic drugs, starting from ensuring full coverage in South East and South Asia, while also improving data available at the national level through capacity building programs. It will also aim at creating regional and sub-regional a communities of practice of DMP users that can facilitate exchange of information and best practices.

Background

The DMP is a unique system that brings together multi-source system for collecting, visualizing, and sharing drug seizure data aimed at providing access to near real-time data on drug trafficking trends, delivering data using interactive visualizations adapted to user-specific needs, and improving early warning drug threat identification for law enforcement and analysts. The platform translates qualitative information on individual seizure cases into an event-based data records where single seizures are geolocated and described with standardized variables, easy to use for analysis of trafficking patterns. For more information, please see https://dmp.unodc.org/. 

Accomplishments to Date

The DMP currently contains data and information on almost 600,000 drug seizure observations. The main data source for the DMP is the Individual Drug Seizures (IDS) questionnaire, a mandated data collection submitted by Member States to UNODC mandated by the international drug conventions (Individual Drug Seizures (IDS) Data Collection) However, a significant amount of seizures are captured through web-scraping techniques and data from partners. While the DMP has grown tremendously in recent years, it still has a focus on plant based drug seizures, particularly opiates. As of 18 December 2023, only 20% of seizures contained in the DMP for the 2017-2023 period correspond to synthetic drugs.  

The DMP has excellent features to monitor and track emerging trends in drug trafficking in almost real-time, and can provide unique insights into the groups involved in trafficking, modus operandi, and routes used, just to name a few. While it currently only hosts data on seizures of drugs, it is expected that in the near future it will also expand to other types of trafficking, making it possible to also analyze (synthetic) drugs trafficking and its links to other forms of organized crimes.  

Project Activities
  1. To populate the DMP with seizures of synthetic drugs through a combination of enhanced official reporting from Member States and machine learning techniques that scrape sources in the web. This expansion will focus on regions where data are scarce and where the trafficking of synthetic drugs is most prevalent, such as East and Southeast Asia. 
  2. Establish proper channels for the exchange of information and the establishment of regional communities of practice for DMP users  
  3. Design new machine learning methods as well as manual web-scraping to refine the multi-lingual collection of multiple synthetic drugs seizures through open sources. 
  4. Develop guidelines and provide training to national institutions for the establishment of centralized seizure data systems at the national level 
  5. Design the data collection to include occurrences of detection of clandestine laboratories for the production of illicit drugs, with an emphasis on synthetic drugs  
  6. Organize 4 annual regional meetings and workshops on IDS data reporting and the use of the DMP. 
Global Level Outcomes
  • Improvement of awareness and use of the DMP for better insights in drug trafficking 
  • Increased geographical coverage of data in the DMP 
  • Increased coverage of synthetic drugs in the DMP 
  • Establishment of a community of practice for Law Enforcement to share data on drug trafficking 
  • Access to advanced tools for the analysis of real-time drug trafficking and production data 
National Level Outcomes
  • Increase capacity of countries to collect data on individual seizures in a systematic and centralized manner 
  • Wider access to tools for analysis of recent trends in drug trafficking and production at the national, regional and global levels 
  • Increased capacity to analyze drug seizure data to gain insights in trafficking 

Current State Participants

About 100 countries have submitted the IDS for 2022-2023, and the DMP has data on drug seizures for 185 countries during the same period. 

Contact

Francesca Massanello, UNODC, Francesca [dot] Massanello [at] un [dot] org (Francesca[dot]Massanello[at]un[dot]org)