CND Plenary Day 2 – Panel discussion on scheduling

UNODC Chief lab of scientific section:
Number of NPS has risen from 166 to 251 (mid 2012) and 350 (2013). That outnumbers the number of psychoactive substances controlled in the conventions. By Feb this year it had increased to 372. All regions had reported emergence. A new committee was promoting international cooperation and responding to the challenged of NPS. 60 participants took part, including INCB, WHO, Interpol World Customs, European Centre, OAS. This meeting set the scene for international discussions for solutions. Looked at many aspects of the challenges thrown up by NPS:
1) rapid proliferation of NPS. Scheduling of substances is not new, but the rapid nature of NPS makes this difficulty
2) Difficulties in getting data on NPS
3) Issue of efficiency and timeliness on scheduling process
4) resource limitation
5) Varying degrees of capacity.

E/CN.7/2014/CRP1 Expert consultation on NPS

Proposes maximising use of the tools. E/CN.7/2014/10 is supposed to support better understanding.

Enhance the detection and identification as a first response. This activity is supported by UNODC early warning advisory. Experts also promote the need for collection and sharing of data to do risk analysis. Experts called for best practises.

Egypt
Tramadol should be scheduled. Egypt has been added to the second schedule in 2012. Objective is to have clear definitions between clear medical use and their misuse. Should still be provided to people who need it. It is incumbent on us to differentiate between the medical drug rather than those of unknown origin. Monitoring system put in place to track the pharmaceuticals. Details this system in very great detail. Problem for tramadol smuggling. Because it is not scheduled it makes it harder.  Calls on INCB to include in its report a recommendation should not be allowed in Egypt except through proper procurment orders.

Asian Group
There is no established international framework for NPS or action plan. It’s a tremendous challenge to ascertain risk from these substances. This means NPS may be manufactured under innocuous names. We need a plan of action and appropriate framework by drawing early warning and cooperation systems. We can enhance the scheduling by streamlining procedures. We can institute temporary measures until they are officially listed. Countries need to be made aware. National legislation must be brought into line with international measure. Some countries would tend to legalise. There needs to be a working party set up with a mandate to study the issue, and make recommendations.

???
There is discussion about how NPS could be scheduled. There need to be cross cutting and open structures. Need participation of civil society to share responsibility in how best to constitute control measures. Rapid reaction measures are intended. There are many substances and precursors. We need to concentrate efforts on the ones that are the biggest. Need to have flexible responses. Some medical products are still available, but are not used by medical profession. Need free and rapid flow of information and a rapid response capability and early warning systems. Pharmacetical industries cannot remain ignorant of who is supplying the NPS, need to work with the industry so as to protect out countries.

Western European and others group
Will focus on mephedrone. NPS are the challenge for the 21st century. Legal highs is an unhelpful term. They are specifically designed to evade domestic and international controls. They are produced and obtained quickly. We know they are causing harm, but a paucity of evidence. Strong signs that international community is showing leadership. Two resolutions on NPS here at CND. UNODC’s early warning advisory, a good step in addressing the issue. WHO is undertaking risk assessments. There are further resolutions this week.

UK thinks that the conventions can be used to deal with NPS. There is an issue about building up pace and momentum. Could look at similar structured substances rather than substance by substance, member states notifications. Provisional control to strengthen domestic controls.
WHO assessment of mephedrone by WHO should be back to CND by September.
Talks about what mephedrone is. OFten sold as “bath salts” or “plant food” often labelled not for human consumption. No evidence of any medical or industrial uses for mephedrone. It’s been reported in 46 countries. First synthesized in 1929, but newly available. Israel in 2007 was the first place to report it. Prevalence of use is limited, no estimates.  68 deaths linked to mephedone in the UK. Showing links to addiction. People may be starting to inject mephedrone. Now controlled in 40 countries. In the UK it is a class B drug. This has reduced use by about two thirds. UK would like member states to look at controlling mephedrone.

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