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Is it war crime to drop drugs onto enemy's positions during warfare?

I think, this is not considered chemical warfare.

Of course, one can try to drop poition diguised as drugs, but this will be ineffective because the rumors will quickly spread and this will not work second time. But what about dropping the actual recreational drugs, like opiates?

P.S. I was not asking about use of poitionous gases, I was asking about dropping drug pills, syringes, ampules with those drugs, so that the enemy soldiers to get voluntarily intoxicated.

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  • Why do you believe it is not chemical warfare? the US had considered dropping LSD on their enemies, but found it too costly compared to rainbow herbicides.
    – Trish
    Commented Nov 24, 2023 at 15:50
  • What makes you think they would be taken? Commented Nov 24, 2023 at 23:15

2 Answers 2

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"Drugs" are prohibited except for uses not prohibited by the CWC (Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction). Those purposes are

(a) Industrial, agricultural, research, medical, pharmaceutical or other peaceful purposes;

(b) Protective purposes, namely those purposes directly related to protection against toxic chemicals and to protection against chemical weapons;

(c) Military purposes not connected with the use of chemical weapons and not dependent on the use of the toxic properties of chemicals as a method of warfare;

(d) Law enforcement including domestic riot control purposes.

Subparagraph (d) is why tear gas can be used for law enforcement but not in warfare. In 2021, it was clarified that aerosolized use of CNS-acting chemicals (e.g. fentanyl, LSD) which had not been explicitly prohibited for law enforcement is illegal for law enforcement (but allowed for research and medical uses). Since this use of drugs is not permitted, it is under the terms of the convention.

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  • I was not asking about use of poitionous gases, I was asking about dropping drug pills, syringes, ampules with those drugs, so that the enemy soldiers to get voluntarily intoxicated.
    – Anixx
    Commented Nov 24, 2023 at 17:13
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Generally, the laws and conventions of warfare were drafted post WWI to deal with the use of gas in chemical warfare. I would assume that warfare which would release compounds in a gaseous form that would cause involuntary ingestion of the substance that would cause an immediate harm to military or civilian targets would be a violation of the treaty. Dropping substances which must be actively ingested by the "victim" in order to adversely affect them. It's not uncommon for nations at war to drop humanitarian aid for civilians such as food and medicine when they are causing hardships in obtaining those items due to the war efforts. If there were restrictions on deploying drugs in this manner, it would limit the relief effort in this respect if the concern was on self-medicating of drugs that should be turned over to local doctors to help save lives. I do recall reading stories of the U.S. having to specifically label packages of humanitarian goods in local languages for such drops in the early days of the Afghan theater of the War on Terror, out of concern that local civilians would not approach the humanitarian goods out of a fear that they were unexploded ordinances.

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  • I was not asking about use of poitionous gases, I was asking about dropping drug pills, syringes, ampules with those drugs, so that the enemy soldiers to get voluntarily intoxicated and demoralized.
    – Anixx
    Commented Nov 24, 2023 at 17:14
  • @Anixx, Generally no, in so far as I am aware. This is likely because dropping in these forms is not immediately deadly to the general population of soldiers and civilians AND because it would discourage the use of air drops of vital medicines needed for humanitarian relief efforts. To my recollection, there is no provision on drugs in this form being dropped on the enemy in any of the treaties that form the Law and Customs of Warfare, hence why both answers defer to the only part of these documents that could be construed to meet the purposes of your question.
    – hszmv
    Commented Dec 1, 2023 at 19:07

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