CND Day 1 – Agenda item 6(a): Challenges and future work of the CND and the WHO in the review of substances for possible scheduling recommendations

The goal is to assist states in applying the procedures as outlined in the three drug conventions. E/CN.7/2014/10 outlines the relevant provisions of the drug control conventions for scheduling.

UNODC – By December 2014, the number of NPS reported by NPS rose to over 540 substances. The global spread of these substances have also increased with 95 countries and territories reporting the observance of NPS. UNODC and WHO organized an expert consultation in Vienna last year. Meeting set the scene for discussion on the challenges in the evaluation and risk assessment of NPS. Explored mechanisms for improving the collection of data for NPS. Consultation considered the challenges of NPS. Different patterns in the emergence and persistence of NPS at a global level, striking heterogeneity of the problem at a country level. Recognized that it is not feasible and not necessary to address all NPS at once. Consultation came up with options for response at the national and international levels. AT the international level, need to raise awareness among members states of the importance of collecting information on the harms of NPS to use for prioritization, promote use of standardized methodologies for identification of substance. Improve data collection and evidence required for WHO to make decisions, increased advocacy and strengthening of information systems, collecting data, increase collaboration with poison control centres. Enhance collection of NPS data. See E/CN.7/2015/CRP.2

WHO – ECDD convened by WHO advises the Director General on scheduling matters. Carried out in accordance with applicable provisions of the drug conventions. Determines whether international control should be recommended, and if so, what scheduling should be advised. CND can take further action with the WHO recommendations. WHO recommendation is determinative on scientific and medical matters. Overall mandate at WHO support countries in access to essential medicines, including medicines that are not controlled under the conventions. Importance of a balanced approach. Resolution of strengthening palliative care was adopted by WHO member states. Recommended another resolution on access to anaesthetics. NPS poses a large challenge. Difficult to see what the global trends are and to take measures in response. Evidence that many of these substances cause substantial harm, and many have no evidence of therapeutic use. Number of substance s for evaluation in June last year. Critical review reports issued for key substances. ECDD’s view was that the evaluation of NPS last year would allow for a view on how we should deal with they types of substances. UNODC and WHO actively collaborating in data coordination and collection to support the work of the ECDD.

Japan – Welcome recommendation of WHO for this CND. However, we need to consider how substances are used in industries throughout the world. On the other hand, most of NPS has no or limited use. They should be controlled by international authorities. Ask ECDD to prioritize substance in their review.

USA – Controls are one of the most powerful instruments in the convention. Important that we take NPS seriously. Rapid proliferation of NPS means member states must collect data and take appropriate measures in response. Importance of prioritizing reviews of NPS, criteria is first, prevalence and second, potential harms to humans. Recognize that this is a huge burden on the WHO given the number of NPS out there so we need to narrow the scope to the ones that are most important for review. Did not make recommendations for the control of 12 substances that were raised for their review. Unclear why recommendations for control were not made. WHO notes that there is sometimes a lack of data. Member states need to step up our efforts. Applaud collaboration between UNODC, INCB, and WHO. Needs to be improved capacity building across law enforcement and public health sector to prevent diversion and availability. Timing of the various meetings that lead us to scheduling decisions. Release of recommendation and report of ECDD gave the commission little time to discuss the details. Ask that the WHO consider leaving more time. Schedule WHO November 2015 meeting for an earlier date. Reconvened session of the CND should include an item to review substances up for control, letting them discuss these prior to the CND. Could also discuss pending controls for member states. Suggested that this topic of raising the issue of the reconvened session could be in the resolution recommended by Australia.

UK – Responding to NPS is a priority. Concerned by increasing public health harms and link to organized crime, Acting out a proven national strategy. Enhancing forensic warning system, new prevention campaigns, etc. Keen to share what we learn. Three priorities: 1) enhance international sharing of information on NPS, 2) implement action points for prioritization (prevalence and harms of use), and 3) schedule the most harmful substance when it would not affect their legitimate use. Happy that mephedrone was passed today. We need to prioritize efforts on substances that have global challenges, dialogue between states, more time to discuss substances up for rescheduling, Successful vote this morning demonstrates our continued support at the CND to an evidence-based scheduling system.

Canada – Happy to see this topic has been added to the agenda. Enable us to effectively deal with an evolving market. Pleased that ECDD has resumed regularly meeting. Clear that there is more that can be done. Experts identified tools that can be used in data collection and evaluation. Canada is grateful for the ongoing dialogue in the scheduling process. Share information on forthcoming surveys to give time for review.

Sudan – Importance of use of some broad drugs which may change into hazardous substance. Not scheduled does not mean they are safe. Recommend more efforts by the WHO in this area.

Korea – Rapid growth of NPS market. Challenge for member states. Collective effort to prioritize NPS. Growing effort to have a strategy around this. Data collection and other proposals are first steps to a more effective and efficient response to NPS. National identification system. Approval scheme requiring manufacturer, importers, and exporter of precursors to obtain advance approval. Training to chemical industry. Distribute notifications. Great importance to interagency collaboration and coordination.

INCB President – One matter that comes clearly to mind over the last 4 days is the need for states to reassert and recommit to the principle of shared and collective responsibility.

I’m please to present to you the 2014 annual INCB report. It marks the 46th year of the board’s analysis of the world drug situation. Today, the board works closely with member states in pursuit of the same principle. The approach relies on a balance of availability and control of substances and precursors.

The board urges states to employ a multidisciplinary approach when implemented drug policy. They should ensure adequate access to controlled substances for medical purposes. Emphasis should be placed on demand reduction. States should work collaboratively to ensure drug policy is applied consistently with regards to human rights standards.

The board works with states, the WHO and others on how best to ensure access to controlled substances for medicinal use for the world’s poor and vulnerable. Alongside this, the report this year draws attention to member states’ obligations under the conventions to reduce illicit demand for drugs.

Over 4 decades of drug policy analysis, the board has become aware of the socio-economic drivers of drug dependence. These issues require a holistic and integrated response from states. States must also place the best interests of the child at the heart of drug policy implementation.

Those states which retain and impose the death penalty for drug offences should consider its abolition, the board advises.

The success of a comprehensive, integrated and balanced approach rests on universal adoption and participation.

Turning to Uruguay which has legalised cannabis for recreational use – this is in breach of the 1961 and 1988 drug conventions. The board will continue dialogue with Uruguay on this issue. In the USA, the board notes that many states that have legalised medical marijuana have done so in a way in which the regulatory standards are not in line with the UN drug conventions or federal law. The board also notes the 4 states and one jurisdiction which have legalised recreational cannabis.

[Outline of chapter 2 of the INCB 2014 annual report].

This year’s report noted the continued prevalence of NPS and recognises the significant increase in demand and use of these substances. In response to this threat, the board launched project ION, a new international operational initiative. Project ION is overseen by a dedicated task force.

I encourage all member states to register and participate in I2ES, a product that is free of cost. I would like to formally take this opportunity to launch I2ES. We this year undertook country missions on three continents.

[Outline of the recommendations included in the conclusion of the 2014 annual report].

Onto the board’s report on precursors. There have been significant reductions in the diversion of precursors but this is still an issue.

In order to address the challenges of illicit precursor use, international efforts need to go beyond regulatory measures currently in place. There needs to be voluntary measures taken. The tools to take these steps are available, as provided by the INCB. The board is committed to working with governments in addressing these challenges.

Delegation of the EU – We support the INCB on the issues of NPS and its advice to states that they consider abolishing the death penalty for drug offences. The EU is firmly opposed to the death penalty in these cases.

We have worked closely with countries around the world in helping them strengthen judicial capacity.

We support the inclusion of civil society in all discussions.

On the subject of precursor control, we welcome the release of the annual precursor report from the INCB. I would like to give you an overview in the developments of drug precursor control in the EU, 2014. We believe international cooperation is vital in this area. We’re happy to inform the entry into agreement last April an agreement with Russia on the control of drug precursors. We’ve reviewed drug cooperation projects with other countries and continue to develop them in the future.

I hope the international community takes advantage of the UNGASS next year to further improve the international control system for drug precursors.

Brazil – We’d like to thank the INCB president for his comments. We note with satisfaction the positive changes in the approach and analysis included in the report. We welcome recognition of prevention as a key component for drug policy.

As we’ve stated earlier this week, a call for the abolition of the death penalty for drug offences would be important given what is currently happening in some countries.

Turning specifically to Brazil, we note with satisfaction the comment in the report that the government of Brazil has made a significant investment in treatment and prevention of drug use. We reaffirm our conviction that drug use is a public health issue. The report corrects pre-existing erroneous analysis of crack and cocaine use in Brazil. There is no sufficient evidence to establish a direct link between the rate of seizures and use levels. The most recent official study in 2005 concludes that only 0.7% of the population uses such substances in a year. We’d like to continue our work with the INCB to ensure correct reporting on this issue.

In 2012, we had an opportunity to host a mission from the board and we’ve worked to implement its recommendations. In this regard we sent a communication recently to the board detailing progress we’ve made on these.

Turkey – Turkey believes policy changes can be issued within the existing drug policy legal framework. Turkey will continue its close cooperation with the board in the future.

El Salvador – We appreciate the fact that the INCB report highlights the actions of the government of El Salvador in pursuance of the recommendations issued by the INCB mission undertaken in 2011.

As the INCB states, we have a national anti-drugs strategy which applies and inter-institutional approach. In 2012, the government carried out the first national study on drug use by students at universities, and in 2014 a national study of drug use among the general population. We’ve submitted this data to the INCB.

On the issue of gangs in Central America – 50% of all homicides are linked to these gangs which are involved in drug trafficking. Let me note that in the future, we should use official sources and be careful in publishing data on these issues in the INCB report.

Just to clarify the source here regarding the abuse of sedatives and prescription drugs in our country, it would be interesting to know where the INCB obtained the data used in its report on this.

Spain – We align ourselves with the statement made by the EU. We acknowledge and welcome the INCB’s work and would like to reaffirm our interest and commitment in order to continue the same cooperation and mutual understanding with the board.

Referring to abolition of the death penalty, we will support any efforts made by the INCB in this regard.

As we see it, we’re of the view that protection of health of individuals does not undermine the fight against drug trafficking, and underscores the need for a balanced approach.

Seizure data is very important information that meets the need of acquainting ourselves with the issue. However, there are still gaps in this data concerning the amount of drugs actually being trafficking, how often it occurs, and the number of organisations involved. There are a number of government agencies that seize drugs in Spain so using data from just one source is not representative of the whole situation in Spain.

UK – I’d like to focus the UK’s comments on statements made to access to medicines, human rights and the death penalty. I’d like to support the INCB’s work on NPS and Project ION.

The UN conventions are founded on the dual goals of reducing use of controlled substances and ensuring access to controlled medicines. However, 5.5 billion people in the developing world suffer from lack of access to pain relief medication. We welcome the INCB’s work drawing attention to this and look forward to pushing forward on this issue in the future.

I would encourage all member states to implement safeguards to eliminate possible human rights violations in their drug laws.

We do not support the death penalty for any offence. We urge all member states to impose a moratorium on the use of the death penalty for drug offences as a step on the way to its abolition. Death penalty for drug offences is neither appropriate nor effective as a deterrent.

USA – The work of the INCB on the issue of human rights and access to medicine is highly important. We echo the points of the UK on the issue of controlled medicines and the need to ensure people have access.

I appreciate recounting of the INCB’s work on controlling drug precursors to help mitigate diversion.

The report highlights disturbing trends, in particular moves by trafficking organisations into non-controlled substances. We must analyse this and see how we can implement tools at our disposal to tackle this issue, along with that of precursor chemical diversion.

It’s even more critical that source, transit and producing nations work together to tackle the drug problem, particularly in light of NPS and diversion of precursors.

The comments in the report addressed to the US – we are committed to upholding the UN drug treaties. Our position on marijuana has not changed and it remains illegal under federal law. It is listed as Schedule I domestically. These conventions also recognises the sovereignty of member states. The federal government will continue to monitor regulation of cannabis in Colorado, Washington and other states and will work to ensure these initiatives don’t adversely impact on public health and safety.

Iran – We thank the INCB for its work, and echo the need for shared responsibility in tackling the world drug problem.

China – We appreciate the work of the INCB. The report, while summarising the work in 2014, also provides lessons to be learnt by all countries on drug control.

Indonesia – Let me first commend and thank the INCB president for his comprehensive report. I want to address the issue of unprecedented increase of drug trafficking in our region. We have been the main target market for ATS in the region, in particular methamphetamine. We support the three drug conventions and support the work of the INCB to uphold these.

Every day the government has to come to terms with an increasing number of drug abusers in the country. More people are using drugs, more crimes are occurring and more treatment and rehabilitation are needed. We only have limited resources and it’s our view these are better focused on demand reduction rather than counter-narcotics efforts.

Our primary focus today is on reducing demand and preventing youth and children from experimenting with drugs. We’ve increased our budget in this regard. Our target is to carry out 100,000 treatment and rehabilitations throughout the country. We’re working to change the mindset of law enforcement so they are aware of drug treatment.

It’s an urgent need to address the drug problem in a balanced matter. Different countries have different problems and so apply different severe penalties. We are of the mind that it is the sovereign right of each nation to design laws to tackle the problem. By enforcing capital punishment for drug trafficking we are working to stop drugs spreading in our streets.

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