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Anti-Drugs Policy Round Table
A round table discussion on countering the illegal trafficking of drugs and drug abuse was held at the Center for the Study of Democracy on September 18, 2002. Experts from the Customs Agency, the Ministry of Interior, the Academy of the Ministry of Interior, the National Centre for Addictions, the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, the Initiative for Health Foundation and Coalition 2000 presented their experience in studying and countering the illegal drug trafficking to Ms. Joanna Samuels-Watson and Mr. Michael Davies, Desk Officers at the Drugs and International Crime Department of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Ms. Samuels-Watson stated that the efforts of the British government were focused on the Balkans and on Bulgaria in particular because the cooperation with Bulgarian governmental agencies and NGOs has so far been very successful and productive for both parties if compared to other regions and countries. She also added that the drugs smuggling issue has been lately approached as part of the global organized crime, rather than being reviewed as a separate problem.

The trafficking in human beings on the Balkans was also discussed with a particular stress on the issue of the contraband channels used for trafficking of both drugs and people. The experts agreed that more campaigns against human trafficking should be carried out in the countryside in order to increase public awareness.

Bulgarian and British experts agreed that an enhanced cooperation and a better coordination between government institutions and NGOs are needed to secure a successful implementation of the National Anti-Drugs Strategy.

JOANNA SAMUELS-WATSON Joanna Samuels-Watson is a Desk Officer for the Balkans, Russia, Africa and SE Asia in the Eastern Hemisphere Section of the Drugs and International Crime Department of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. She co-ordinates the development of counter-narcotics projects in EU applicant countries, Russia, Africa and South East Asia and monitors the implementation and effectiveness of these projects. Ms. Samuels-Watson has also the responsibility to provide the FCO's contribution to the UK's position on EU drugs policies; and to represent the FCO at the EU's Horizontal Drugs Working Group. A member of HM Diplomatic Service since 1999, her previous position in the FCO was as a VIP Visits Officer.


Michael Davies is a Desk Officer dealing with International Organised Crime at the Drugs and International Crime Department of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with a particular focus on Organised Illegal Immigration and Excise Fraud (particularly cigarette smuggling). In 1997- 2001 he worked at the British Embassy in Zagreb. In 1992 - 1995 Mr. Davies held a position at the FCO Middle East Department, Iraq Desk.
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