CND Chair. For a more efficient use of time, let’s start with agenda items 2 and 3, and will then give word to Ambassador Pedro Moitinha, Post-UNGASS Chair.
Agenda item 2 – Arrangements for the reconvened and 60th CND. On the 59th Reconvened, we decided to hold an extra day on UNGASS on 30th November to take stock of the intersessional work we’re currently undertaking and to discuss the way forward. After the opening of the reconvened 59th session, we will immediately start the special segment, with a general debate with UNGASS follow up. I remind you that at the closure of the reconvened, the 60th session of the CND will be open to elect chairs and vice chairs, on the basis of regional distribution:
- Chair: Western Europe
- 1st vice: LA
- 2nd: Africa
- 3rd: Asia Pacific
- Rapporteur: Eastern European group
I announce the nomination of Permanent Rep of Norway as chair of CND. Please inform me of nominations for each regional group.
Further, let me remind you that while the provisional agenda for the 60th session was approved, the CND must decide on organisational matters including the duration of the 60th session and the fine-tuning of organisational work. There will be an extended bureau meeting to discuss this. I will also organise another intersessional meeting on 29th November to continue organisational matters.
Any other business – there is none. I will now pass the word to the Portuguese Ambassador, post-UNGASS facilitator.
Post-UNGASS Facilitator. I want to extend thanks to the conference management services and translations services. Today we will continue discussions on our comprehensive approach around the UNGASS outcome document. I thank you all for contributing in sharing examples and lessons learned in the first rounds of discussions. I look forward to continuing in the same spirit.
Today we will discuss Chapter 5 on evolving realities, trends, persistent challenges and threats, including NPS, in the framework of the international drug control conventions. After lunch we will discuss chapter 6. I remind delegations to limit interventions to 5-7 minutes focusing on lessons learned and concrete activities. I also encourage all of you who wish to share more information on specific programmes and activities to send information to the Secretariat. UN entities and specialised agencies and NGOs are invited to share their expertise. I welcome you all and those who are watching the webcast. I will use my discretion to give the floor according to the flow of the discussions. UNODC will also make opening remarks.
Angela Me, UNODC. Let me start by showing the UNGASS outcome document. The issue of research and data analysis is cross-cutting throughout the document, in chapter 5 and across the document. What do we take out of this language? In terms of the role of UNODC to support implementation, I am trying to highlight the language around the fact that member states are worried about quality of information that should underpin drug interventions and international cooperation. We need data collection at global and regional level and sharing of information and research, as well as capacity building. What can UNODC do better? For data collection, there are 4 data collection instruments – ARQs first, are the responsibility of the parties to provide information to the secretariat. We also have the early warning advisory by CND and a questionnaire on NPS.
What do we do with this data once collected? We need to give it back to the international community. On the UNODC website we have a data portal where there is raw information and data validated by member states on demand, supply and trafficking. We see that the data portal is one of the most popular hits on the website. We also produce maps – the drug monitoring platform, compiling all individual seizures (where and what types of drugs). We also have from the Early Warning Advisory what substances are involved, how much and where.
We also do analysis of this data. The World Drug Report has 3 functions: world reference on drugs, and do in-depth analysis on specific issues. We also monitor specific issues with the SMART programme monitoring specific drugs and opiates from Afghanistan. We also provide capacity building for conducting estimates of drug using populations, of crops cultivated, support for national laboratories.
We collaborate with a number of stakeholders. With WHO we developed a drug epidemiology group across regional and global organisations dealing with this issue. We also contribute with the WHO ECDD. We collaborate a lot with academics and professional organisations.
I now want to turn to the impact of the world drug problem on health. The number of deaths globally related to illicit drugs is what I want to focus on here. I am showing data here from the EMCDDA – traditional drugs still account for the majority of drug-related deaths. In a way we have 3 different issues: one is the use of illicit drugs, the other is abuse of prescription drugs, and the third is use of NPS. These require 3 different types of interventions. We can also look at the impact of drugs in terms of social issues – marginalisation, social and economic conditions, etc. It’s important we look at these issues but we don’t have a systematic way to look at the social and economic impacts of the problem.
We have very good programmes on monitoring synthetic drugs in Afghanistan, but we don’t have a programme to monitor cocaine. We also need to expand the opiate monitoring to the world, not only Afghanistan. We also need to do more research on the links between organised crime, trafficking and corruption.
We have put a lot of attention on number of NPS and seizures. We now need to understand the health impacts of NPS. We need a global effort to help countries improve availability of data.
Post-UNGASS Facilitator. Some people will give us more information on this technical issue, but first I give the floor to INCB and WHO which I think will help frame the discussion on this technical issue.
INCB. The INCB monitors the 3 UN drug conventions. As INCB has developed a lot of expertise over the years on drug control, it has a lot to contribute at operational level. The project ION built on INCB’s expertise on precursor chemicals. We’ve accumulated this expertise and lessons learned. The outcome document calls for sharing information through INCB, UNODC and WHO and strengthening links between regional and international organisations, including thanks to Project OIN of INCB. The outcome document calls for strengthening national, regional and international monitoring tools on NPS and take appropriate measures to control precursors and pre-precursors. I will present now INCB’s contribution in this regard.
NPS, precursors and designer-precursors are all newly emerging substances. There is a lack of documented legitimate use, and their manufacture and distribution is international. The response INCB is pursuing is to provide mechanisms and a platform for developing and sharing intelligence globally. The corresponding multilateral frameworks are Project ION, Project Prison and Project Cohesion.
A second critical element is the real time sharing of operational information between national authorities and available tools are known as IONIX, Project ION and the PIX Precursors Incident System Global Participation. This aims to prevent these substances from reaching consumer markets. INCB is contributing to facilitating international and interagency cooperation on precursors and NPS control. This is different from other partners such as UNODC and WHO which focus on health effects and legislative responses, or reviewing non-scheduled substances. It is also important to highlight that INCB’s operational projects facilitate intelligence sharing between different countries and territories through cooperation and communications platforms.
The operational response also consists of dissemination of special notifications on workable and actionable approaches or special control measures. This concept of cooperation was also included in this year’s CND resolution 59/8 in para 15.
Now, with a focus on NPS, I want to conclude by sharing some achievements to date, and cornerstones of cooperation in this field. Information sharing has led to some investigation on NPS networks across borders. Project focal points are kept informed on national control good practices. As UNODC has a long history of success of monitoring illicit flows of precursors, it is also ready to act on NPS and non-controlled substances and precursors. Recently we received a notification from the USA to schedule 2 precursors. According to their provisions of the 1988 conventions, INCB will disseminate a questionnaire on these two precursors to consider scheduling these substances. We are planning to conduct an intelligence gathering survey with member states on fentanyl. We will expand activities to collect key information.
For future activities, we should continue to share information, networks and tools and further cooperation to achieve our common tools. Project ION will continue to support your efforts on NPS and precursors.
Mr. Gilles Forte, WHO. As we move forward in the implementation of UNGASS, there are areas of work of critical importance for WHO. One is the work of the ECDD for which WHO is mandated to carry out risk assessment of substances in line with the 1961 and 1971 conventions. The ECDD reviews substances and looks at risks of abuse and harms to health, as well as therapeutic use. The ECDD issues recommendations than sent to CND every year for review. The ECDD meetings are now taking place every year. In the past, this was every 2nd year. This is because of the growing number of NPS. The work of the ECDD is centred around evidence, robustness of data.
The assessment of substances is based on high quality data and a substantial and sufficient amount of data. This is an important area of work of the ECDD. It looks at the mechanisms of action of the substance, and the similarities with other controlled drugs, adverse effects on mental health and the central nervous system, whether the substance can produce dependence and abuse, it looks at data on availability of these substances and whether it has therapeutic value. On this basis, it looks into whether it should be scheduled and in which schedule it should be. There was a request for more transparency and awareness of the ECDD work and prioritisation.
There are a number of NPS reported. In June 2016, UNODC reported more than 600 substances. The EMCDDA is monitoring 560 substances. WHO works closely with these agencies monitoring these large numbers of NPS, also with INCB. We have also increased collaboration with member states, we’ve been given more access to databases not published in the public domain – this has led to a significant improvement of data accessible. We also do data search through global Wikipedia and open source research. We try to have a more robust process. It’s also important for substances to be prioritised. There is no point to review a substance if there is very little data, we need to prioritise. There is not always enough data. Having more access to databases from countries we will be in a situation to approach a bigger number of substances. We have come up with a list of 12 NPS which will be reviewed in November.
The work of the ECDD is not enough. In line with CND resolution 59/8, we’re looking into the development of a survey system that will complement the work of the ECDD. There is also a need for acting fast, this is why member states have requested WHO to have a surveillance system that show the actual risk for health that certain substances can present. Substances also come and go so it’s difficult to gather a lot of data, there is also poly-drug use which makes it difficult to assess harm. This reinforces the need to have a surveillance system that can be implemented as soon as there is an alert of harm declared. The surveillance system will not need to have substantial amounts of data. When the substance is in the surveillance list, the data and conclusions on levels of harm will not need to be definitive – whereas it’s difficult to remove it from a schedule.
How can this system operate? We will have to collect data in a continuous manner throughout the year, relying on collaboration with international agencies, this will need to be strengthened, and collaboration with member states to share information on adverse events and forensic data, as well as strengthening data collection, and having access to drug users. We will collate drug related data but also carry out advocacy and disseminate information collated on harms to health, and when necessary issue public health alerts. We have experience in this area of work, in particular on pharmaco-vigilance. Three times a year, the WHO working group will meet to review the surveillance list. When enough data is available, the substances will be reviewed by the ECDD. In November, the ECDD will review three substances that are on the surveillance list.
Finally, in terms of collaboration and work in progress – we will need to continue prioritising NPS, making sure we’re advancing as effectively as possible in collaboration with states and agencies, collaborating with other agencies such as INTERPOL. We will focus on increased member state participation, working together with INCB and UNODC to increase capacity building, raise awareness, improve surveillance, strengthen the network for data exchange, support regional networks (on the model of the EMCDDA), work on the issue of prevention and treatment for NPS (work being done between UNODC and WHO in this regard), and continue the expert consultations on NPS which highlight the gaps in international cooperation and support to better address this problem.
Australia. First let me thank the presenters this morning. For somebody who is new in Vienna I found those very helpful and informative. Australia’s history on narcotic drugs has been long to tackle precursors and NPS. We were pleased of efforts to recognise and adopt the robust recommendations of the UNGASS outcome document, in particular ATS, NPS and precursors. UNGASS recommended increased cooperation among LE agencies on tackling ATS and NPS. I want to register Australia’s efforts in this regard – more focus in LE, more treatment options and prevention, and better research and data collection. On international cooperation we continue work in particular in South East Asia. The region also has a problem with ice. We also try to target criminal organised groups. Ice production has been flexible, and this has been the same for precursors, NPS and other ATS manufacture. This poses a serious challenge for LE. We will work to develop more capacities in tackling synthetic drugs and precursors. We will also support participation in monitoring tools including Project Prison. This year’s World Drug Report mentioned the large number of new NPS, as well as cathinone use tripling. We call for active participation in early warning tools, and reporting of NPS and ATS. We strongly support this approach and strengthening drug laboratories to collect data. We’ve done this through international cooperation, the SMART programme, early warning systems, and emerging NPS threats. We have a growing concern about NPS and ATS adverse effects on health. Finally, I want to underline our continued support and appreciation for the work of UNODC, INCB, WHO and other UN agencies. Each organisation has had a significant role in this area of work. Australia believes that these activities will continue to play an important role in tackling ATS, NPS and precursors.
Slovakia on behalf of the European Union. We recognise the need to promote international cooperation. We are concerned by the threat posed by NPS. There are no signs of slowdown in growth of NPS at global level and in the EU. The EMCDDA monitors more than 600 NPS, 80% from the last few years. Since 1997, the EU has developed capacity to detect, identify and assess risks to respond rapidly to the emergence of NPS. It is a 3-step approach: early warning system for exchange of information, assessing risks associated and finally decision making process for which these substances should be placed under control in EU member states. Member states, LE agencies, the EMCDDA, EUROPOL allow for a dynamic process for exchange of information and knowledge to respond effectively to these threats. This approach has contributed to the creation of the UN early monitoring system. The EU contributes to the effort by providing data to WHO ECDD, UNODC and INCB Project ION. The EU early warning system has become a model for tools in other regions of the world, for example via COPOLAD. We recognise the importance of a balance and evidence based approach toward NPS including prevention, risk and harm reduction and treatment.
The EMCDDA plays an important role in alerting member states on the risks associated with the risk of NPS. We issued 26 such alerts. We’ve been active in legislative decisions to ban certain substances from its market. At present, we’re working on a new legislative framework towards NPS. The EU has done important updates on its data collection mechanism and scheduling via a fast track procedure. We are also actively engaged in the project Prison and Cohesion of the INCB. We use the export notification system and member states are actively involved in this process. International cooperation is at the cornerstone of the EU approach for prevention of diversion of precursors and designer precursors. We acknowledge that it’s important to work on the challenges of the use of the internet and crypto-markets, with revenues doubling since 2014: at 10.5 million euro. The EU organised an expert meeting in June for all member states and relevant international organisations to look at the scope of the problem, also looking at possibilities for drug prevention. We looked into detection tools in online markets. Closer cooperation with the industry will be explored, and we will continue to especially target young people. We encourage other countries to take proactive measures for international cooperation on the world drug problem and we stand ready to share our experience.
Indonesia. We express our appreciation for the high quality information shared today. The smuggling and use of drugs has had significant impacts among our people. Cannabis used to be the most abused drug in Indonesia, but more recently the trend is moving away to NPS and ATS. Transnational organised crime has targeted Indonesia for ATS and drug use has penetrated all levels of society. To target young generations, these groups use the internet. Statistics show that internet users in Indonesia are increasing and they are continuously targeted by illicit smugglers with advertisements and to recruit new smugglers. These facts are the evolving realities in Indonesia now. Tackling this must include strict laws and LE against transnational organised groups and individuals involved in drug trafficking. Illicit narcotic drugs pose a serious threat to our societies. For the internet illicit drug sale, technical assistance, capacity building, sharing of information, are important to prevent and prosecute criminals.
Post-UNGASS Facilitator. I now give the floor to the UK and I thank them for organising the side event this morning.
UK. Thank you for your kind words on our side event on UNGASS and NPS. I want to extend our appreciation to the panellists who have already spoken. This area of work and progress made is a really good example of how interagency cooperation can help us address these challenges. NPS are a global problem. By December 2015, there had been 653 new NPS identified. Member states agreed on ambitious recommendations in the UNGASS outcome document, we must now implement them. We’re working with partners to adapt our actions in this regard. There is an informal working group working on NPS and the international response toward it. The next meeting of the group will be held on 29th November, please contact me for any details.
I also want to focus on the UK domestic challenge of the response. The outcome document recommends member states share information on NPS legislative responses, I will now do so for the UK. The Psychoactive Substances Act is our main response to NPS, with a blanket ban, recommended by a panel of independent experts. The Misuse of Drugs Act already controls a number of NPS. But there is no possession offence, it is focusing on the suppliers. Police and courts can issue notices and orders, as well as first and second warnings. We conducted an evaluation of the act 3 months before it came into force. The results showed that 100s of retailers had closed down or no longer sold NPS, a number of UK selling websites selling NPS are also no longer active. We are happy to share more information when it becomes available.
We are developing an NPS intelligence system, in particular on health harms. We have a number of intelligence networks already, but the data is not in one place. The new intelligence system will address this challenge. The UK is setting up a network of experts to analyse the data on the reporting system and intelligence systems, analysing patterns of harm and identifying responses (alerts to health networks, information to health professionals). We will keep the CND informed on progress of this system.
Peru. I want to once again welcome you at the helm of this debate to exchange points of view and lessons learned. With regards to operational recommendations to tackle and stop the world drug problem, the national administration on drug control, DEVIDA, has coordinated on an ongoing basis with all sectoral bodies to combat the world drug problem. We can highlight some specific issues. Through the national unit on controlled substances of the national administration of customs, we have developed a code of conduct for users of NPS, which outlines the guidelines for conduct, commitment, principles and procedures for businesses, for legal and national persons involved in activities linked to NPS and precursors. The objective is to have clear communications channels and joint actions to reduce the possibility of diversion of illicit drugs. The Code of conduct includes procedures that users must adopt to prevent diversion – awareness raising, follow up on operations, communications on unusual operations. We have approved a decree to register, control and monitor controlled substances used for the production of illicit drugs. The national police support this mechanism. Our country believes the necessity to monitor the trends of use and distribution of NPS, as well as adverse consequences on health risks and the risk for the safety of individuals and society as a whole. It is important to continue strengthening the UNODC SMART programme, to which we’ve taken part actively. In conclusion, I want to refer to the need to prevent and combat illicit trafficking via the internet. The national police of Peru work within the National Strategy to Fight Drugs to combat this issue.
Netherlands. Thank you for the clear presentations. Dutch policy is based on a balanced approach. We consider this basic effective approach as essential to challenges that may emerge. I want to focus on our best practices for flexibility and adaptability of all circumstances. Constant monitoring, evaluation and data collection for digital and non-digital markets for synthetic and non-synthetic drugs, what drugs are used, what are the risks. We have an informational and monitoring system on use of illicit drugs, with risks – the objective is to minimise those risks. Users can check their drugs at specific services. The effectiveness of this system was particularly useful last week when we identified a very harmful ecstasy pill which led to a national warning using national technology, leading to no incident happening on this substance. After UNGASS, we conducted a study on the dark net to measure the size of the illicit only market. So far, we see a rise in activity of sales of drugs through the internet, but this is far smaller than street markets. But we must keep a close eye on this development to apprehend individuals behind the illegal trade. But we must not only see internet as a threat, it is an opportunity for prevention and treatment – we can monitor outpatient treatment, but also target our group on education. For example, we have a tool online on nightlife for parents who can reach out to their parents.
Russia. It is significant that the outcome document of UNGASS focuses on NPS. It poses a new challenge for the international community and we need a new level of interstate cooperation. The outline of this cooperation is highlighted in the outcome document. The drug market continues to be saturated with new types of synthetic drugs and NPS, including synthetic cannabinoids which legal status is uncertain. We’ve identified and controlled around 800 such substances. Just last year, 19 such substances. In 2016, we’ve placed under control several substances. We’re now working on 21 new substances and one drug containing plant. Russia’s LE bodies attach great importance to the issue of NPS, stopping the sales and blocking international supply channels. First, identifying new substances and real time exchange of information – we welcome the UNODC initiative to modernise its early alert system. A proposal was made by UNODC with support of Russia on toxicology on NPS. This will be helpful to evaluate in a timely fashion harm to public health. This should form the basis on whether to place these substances under control. Russian law enables the initiation of criminal proceedings for trafficking of substances but also derivatives, analogues and new harmful psychotropic substances. We also need an urgent solution on new sales of drugs through the internet via contactless systems. We need urgent coordinated systems. We also need to control precursors and prevent their diversion. We welcome the work of INCB, their online electronic system. Since one of the main sources of precursors to manufacture illicit drugs come from licit channels, we must develop partnerships in this area.
Chloe Carpenter, UNODC. I want to review with you a few areas of analysis and research linked to the UNGASS recommendations. One major area of drug research is analysis by UNODC leading to the World Drug Report. But we also conduct further analysis. The Afghan opium project, the illicit crop monitoring programme, etc. One of our areas of work is to understand patterns of use and harms, burdens of infections, etc. We must improve the methodology for measuring drug related harms. On drug use patterns, another aspect is striving to disaggregate data, capturing regular use, monitoring consumption and numbers of users. We should identify trends looking at different indicators, instead of only focusing on one source of data. Gender analysis in data should also be looked at, focusing on the needs of men and women, risk factors for men and women, and the involvement in drug use and drug-related crime, and think that gender is one aspect. We must start providing knowledge on other populations – children in conflict, refugees, etc. to protect health, safety and human rights.
We have now been following up on technology and its impact on the use of the internet. We must develop tools to understand all the facets of the dark net, as well as regular monitoring in specific drug markets operating online.
We also need a global perspective. Here you can see the global opiate production. This is only possible if we adopt a systemic demand/supply approach, and a global approach. We must broader the Afghan opiate monitoring to look at the global landscape. The main flow of heroin leaving Afghanistan remains high, but there is also a flow from Latin America. We also need to monitor the financial flows, which may or may not follow same trends as for drugs.
Global cocaine still goes from the Andean region to North America and Europe, but the routes are very complicated. Based on data that exists, it is now time to capitalise and consolidate into a new global programme in the same was as was done for the opiate trafficking programme. Here there is a need for both types of research to monitor and analyse illicit financial flows.
We’ve also looked at the links between drugs, transnational organised crime and terrorism. But this is not always systematic. We must invest in research technologies.
Zara Snapp, Acción Tecnica Social, Mexico. Founded in 2008, Acción Tecnica Social (ATS) is a Colombian organization that works with institutions and people who use drugs in the improvement, design and implementation of policies regarding psychoactive legal and illegal substances. Focusing primarily on risk reduction and harm mitigation, we execute programs using peer-education with non-problematic or recreational users in nightlife and leisure spaces, with people who consume alcohol in higher-risk settings and through comprehensive programs for people who inject drugs. In the last year, we had had direct contact with 51,000 people and over 440,000 people indirectly, allowing us to build a comprehensive database and generate evidence regarding policies that work.
From Latin America, a dialogue has sprung up around reducing not only the harms of drug use but also reducing the harms of current policies. We are breaking new ground regarding how to reduce the harms of policies to protect our communities, respect human rights and foment development. Innovative new programs are being implemented and evidence is being generated that shows positive impacts on current consumption behavior, particularly related to so-called new psychoactive substances. Based on international and national evidence, we recognize that the majority of people who use illegal drugs, do so without developing any problematic use.
Echele Cabeza cuando se de en la cabeza (or Use your head before it goes to your head) is a project specifically focused on nightclubs, music festivals and raves to provide information and substance analysis services. This allows the organization to have a clear picture of the ever-evolving illegal drug market, while providing timely health alerts for people who are considering using drugs. This service is underscored by accessible informational campaigns that have quickly become collectors-items within specific populations. Higher levels of information and education are reaching those who need it most, via trusted channels of communication. Since 2012, Echele Cabeza has analyzed more than 2000 samples and witnessed a 25% reduction in the adulteration of ecstasy/MDMA pills. 88% of users who utilized the service decided not to consume the substance if they received a negative result. ATS have emitted 17 health alerts to bring attention to the adulteration of cocaine, fake LSD and 2CB. These alerts were shared more than 45,000 times on social media and taken up by both print and tv media. With these health alerts, ATS saves lives.
According to the Colombian Ministry of Health, emergency room intakes because of intoxication has significantly dropped in the last 4 years in Bogota. After a campaign by ATS related to healthier consumption of alcohol, emergency room visits related to alcohol decreased from 738 in 2011 to 331 in 2015. Emergency room visits for stimulants such as amphetamines and ecstasy dropped from 82 in 2012 to 37 in 2015. These changes in perceptions, understanding and safer drug use have led to approximately 500 people not having to enter an emergency room setting, resulting in a cost-savings of at least 260,000 USD for the city of Bogota.
Focusing on pragmatic and evidence based programs, ATS seeks to improve the choices made by people who use drugs, recognizing that there are risks and benefits to any behavior. The illegal drug market, particularly that of new psychoactive substances moves quickly and Acción Tecnica Social is nimbly able to track the market and provide information not only to people who use drugs, but also to city and national authorities within a human rights and harm reduction perspective. The above services are directly impacting the capacity of Colombia to implement the UNGASS document. Not only are new substances entering the market, there is also a new generation of responsible users that is forming into global network, and that are opening cultural and political spaces and generating evidence based in harm reduction. We hope that these examples can help other countries change lives, promote harm reduction and recognize more responsible consumption.
Colombia. Our experience, as outlined by the Colombian NGO, has already been highlighted well. The issue of consumption and trafficking in NPS is far from resolved. Between 1993 and now, almost 950,000 trafficking and seizures were carried out. We have confiscated 850 tons of cocaine. But organised crime and drug trafficking remains a clear phenomenon. It’s become profitable, spreading and expanding. We’re now dealing with smaller illicit criminal organisation. In 1996, there were 200,000 hectares of coca cultivation. Now, we are at 156,000 hectares despite efforts. To meet the targets to eradicate production, we’ve seen that the illicit crop cultivation differs between countries and in time. These results and evolving realities have led Colombia to emphasize the need to refocus and identify the most effective approach. We need to reach global consensus on different conducts, to place the human being at the centre of those policies. The discussion has focused on challenges of NPS, which is to the detriment of the real need to face up to the fact that we are unable to meet the objectives set out in 2009. We must recast our priorities.
Let me share 3 areas of success: 1st, in Colombia we focus on a comprehensive approach towards the world drug problem, adopting a new approach through cross-cutting strategies with crop replacement and sustainable development to address socio economic factors in areas affected. Implementing this cross cutting approach requires UNODC’s technical support in collaboration with other UN agencies. In the same vein, more must be done to identify indicators providing more accurate and realising information. On trafficking, the clear increase in drug use in the country has made it necessary to reconsider the manner in which we tackle criminal groups. Among new forms used for drug marketing, is the reshuffling of markets, creating new forms of substances and consumption, and the development of new strategies to fuel consumption. This affects governance and the capacity of communities to tackle these issues. We’ve drawn up a methodological guide on microtrafficking and marketing NPS in urban contexts. The Guide provides a framework to understand microtrafficking and compile data at local level in cities. This makes it easier to understand how sales work in the urban context. Microtrafficking is a large-scale phenomenon.
Finally, on NPS, we have strengthened our identification and exchange systems. We’re not heavy users of such NPS but we have strengthened our drugs observatory nonetheless with an early warning system, focusing on emerging drugs and mitigating their impacts. Since its onset, we’ve identified 20 substances coming from abroad. We are currently working on a protocol and methodology to identify risks and challenges on the early warning system and we collaborate with other countries.
Austria. Let me share our experience on our New Psychoactive Substances legislation in Austria. We have a NPS law dating from 2011, authorising the Minister of Health to specify unique decrees on substances being abuses and causing harms. It’s a proactive health protection approach. Besides defining individual substances, the Minister can prevent the distribution of such substances to the users if they have an effect on health that is largely unknown because of lack of data. Let me give you an example. There are 11 substances with a similar structure. Each can be substituted by a chemical structure defined in para 1 or 2 of the decree. Our decree has 10 basic chemical structures and each substance falling under the group can have substitutes. Austria wants to prohibit the commercialisation of these substances, especially if they are targeted at consumers.
Kofi Annan published a report this year saying that the war on drugs could not be fought by repression. I’m proud of our progressive axis. We have on the one hand the narcotic substances act, very focused on narcotic drugs, precursors. On the other hand, we have the new NPS act which has provisions for import and supply. If you consume NPS, you will get a mild punishment. The NPS act’s aim was to minimalise the distribution of these chemicals for consumption, preventing producers and dealers from marketing the substances. Deterring somebody from deterring NPS is going through prevention, information and raising awareness on risks and harms. The person is not convicted or subject to criminal proceedings. The adventureness of young people should not be criminalised.
Mexico. The UNGASS has showed an important change in paradigm. We welcome the fact that the outcome document incorporates a specific section on new challenges and threats. Demand reduction is now an essential component. We want to highlight some of our operational actions. The international community recognised that the implementation of the conventions give sufficient flexibility to states to formulate and implement national policies. It was also emphasized that the international community needs to tackle NPS. In accordance with the recommendation on associations with the industry, the federal commission is agreeing with the industry on chemical industries that present risks for users. In Mexico, we recognise the complexity of current realities, challenges and threats. We’re committed to the full implementation of the recommendations adopted in April. We have organised a series of inter-sectorial dialogues to move forward nationally to develop effective instruments included in the UNGASS outcome document, focusing on prevention, treatment and harm reduction (29 Sept), access to controlled medicines (this week). We’re convinced that this work will be useful to provide a follow up to UNGASS and we hope similar initiatives will be developed in other countries. We will therefore continue to share the results of our own work on trends and lessons learned.
Belgium. We align with the EU statement. I will focus on chapter 5 and our national experience and ongoing initiatives on NPS. In 2015, we scheduled new NPS in our national legislations. As a proactive answer to the problem, a generic structure approach was developed in the legislation which should come into force in 2017. Also in answer to NPS, a balanced approach is required. Regulatory and controlled measures should be developed in parallel with demand reduction measures including prevention, treatment and harm reduction. We invite member states and international partners to share further information in reducing NPS demand and implement a balanced approach.
Canada. The challenges paused by NPS are a key concern for Canada. Today, I want to focus on one of our most pressing concerns – the proliferation of synthetic opioids, especially fentanyl. It is a potent and addictive drug, stronger than other opioids. As a legal pharmaceutical, it’s used in patches for those with tolerance for less potent drugs. In addition to diversion from licit sources, it is also produced illegally. LE officials have issued a warning that this was used mixed with other substances, leading to harms and deaths. To combat this challenge, Canada’s Minister of Health has issued a new action plan – supporting prescribing, supporting treatment options for patients, and improving evidence. Canada is undertaking an expedited review of naloxone nasal spray, and is distributing kits of police for public safety. We’re also introducing regulations on other opioids. We’re proposing the control of substances used to produce fentanyl. We also aim at scheduling other substances with similar chemical structures. We encourage CND members to consider such measures to control NPS in an effective and timely manner.
Improving data collection on these substances is also critical for awareness raising including the public, health authorities and users. The UNODC SMART programme is a useful tool, information that can help LE authorities to address issues posed by substances like fentanyl, and protect users from health threats associated with some substances.
Ecuador. I want to thank you for your leadership and the secretariat for preparing the meeting, as well as the panellists for their presentations. We want to encourage you to continue inviting the WHO at these meetings as their contribution is crucial. To implement UNGASS recommendations we require a public health approach. Moreover, the social consequences of the illicit market in drugs is not only due to global increase in use and violence, but also all aspects of this issue and the policies implemented have also have impacts. We must therefore provide a human face to the issue and focus on sustainable development. We cannot continue to focus on single issues. My country and authorities responsible are deeply committed to providing follow up on the UNGASS and offering tangible results. We are establishing the baseline to tackle these drugs. The need to step up efforts in the context of the SDGs, tackling unemployment and social marginalisation, are critical. We are providing training in the Centro Doloroso to bind them to the employment market and make them more competitive. We’re also promoting a deep dialogue to understand the scope of the impact on health, society, security, economy, etc. of drug trafficking in small and large quantities, to deal with it accordingly. We have implemented a strategy focusing on NPS, focusing on reducing availability, preventing use, and access to care and treatment. When it comes to activities related to drugs and markets, we have supported measures on the use of the internet such as providing guidance and information, designing programmes, strategies and preventative measures, including using social media. We provide virtual seminars. To conclude, we restate that the ultimate aim of the conventions is to uphold the wellbeing of individuals, this requires guaranteeing full respect for human dignity, health, rights, fundamental freedoms. These principles must be upheld.
Argentina. Thank you for the opportunity to share with you our programmes being implemented within the drug conventions and other international relevant instruments. Combatting drug trafficking is one of our three priorities, we are working on a comprehensive and balanced approach between demand and supply with individuals at the heart. This policy was supported by Argentina at the UNGASS and reflected in the new strategy of “Argentina free from drug trafficking”. While use in our country is not concentrated in NPS, this summer at a music event 5 young people died because of NPS use. National authorities have shown the changes in consumption and patterns with synthetic drugs. The role of cooperation and assistance is crucial therefore. And the missions undertaken by INCB are essential. 10 years ago, the INCB visited Argentina and offered useful recommendations. We have carried out drug identification studies which turned out very useful.
Argentina has adopted a preventative approach on NPS – SAT. The aim of this early warning system is to offer timely information and warnings based on early detection. It is responsible for the identification of new drug use patterns, identifying chemical components used, and issuing early warnings for authorities, staff of health institutions and the general public. The SAT brings together different stakeholders: drugs observatories, Ministries of health, rights, food, agriculture, medicinal products. The first efforts of the SAT have been concluded and the first meeting has been held to study alerts on fentanyl.
Considering the agreements reached at UNGASS, we have generated scientific evidence for prevention programmes. We are setting up or strengthening the provincial drugs observatories. We’re also working on geo-referencing programmes and epidemiological surveillance. We also identify investigative lines for police actions. SEDRONAR is now launching a process for a triangular cooperation with Uruguay, Mexico and Colombia, strengthening the early warning system.
To strengthen south-south cooperation through these projects, we are seeking to enhance the early warning system and the epidemiological survey windows to address all aspects of the world drug problem. As we’re currently having the chairmanship of CELAC, Argentina has worked on common positions at international forums to promote cooperation and exchange of best practice. I also want to highlight the cooperation mechanisms we’ve set up, in particular with Bolivia, international encounters such as CICAD and PAHO.
Mr. Erico Bisoño, UNODC. In this short presentation, I want to show a set of activities to bring evidence from member states to UNODC to ensure good quality of these programmes. I will focus only on one element – information on drug use. We publish this chart every year on the World Drug Report, showing prevalence and numbers of people using drugs, levels of trends in drug prevalence. You can see the range showing the uncertainty on the data we use and disseminate.
Coverage of the data is not always as good as we would like it to be. The trend we see could be in between this range. Why such uncertainty? One issue is data collection. Every year, we collect information through the ARQ, we usually receive replies from about 90 countries. There is an important number of countries who have been sending these ARQs at least once in the past 5 years. We need good communication with the countries to ensure they send data. This is an issue of communication between UNODC and the countries, but also within countries. We wonder if something can be done to improve this communication. For example, on data collected on crime and criminal justice issues, the establishment of national focal points can be a good way to improve this communication. We also need data on prevalence of drugs. Here you see the blue line on data on seizures, red line is data on prices – so related to supply. Then you have data on treatment provision, and data on prevalence. Some 20 countries per year are able to send us data on prevalence. This adds to the uncertainty. How can we improve this? One tool on which many countries contribute is conduct surveys among drug users, at school level for example. The number of countries conducting these surveys has gradually increased. This is good news. We are trying to assist countries in Pakistan, Myanmar, Nigeria. This is positive.
Another area in need of statistical evidence is treatment. Data on treatment is a bit better. The provision of a specific indicator in the SDGs (target 3.5.1) will hopefully increase availability and quality of treatment.
Finally, I want to show you a few activities to address some of the challenges I raised: improve data collection as a priority and establish national focal points to support communication between UNODC and member states; broader the evidence based on drugs through synergies with other international organisations and regional bodies (WHO, CICAD, EMCDDA); methodological developments on which we’re working on to provide guidance on improving quality of data on drugs, on treatment and the SDG implementation; how to estimate illicit financial flows related to drugs; on technical assistance, we provide ongoing support for countries and plan to develop e-learning tools.
Venezuela. I thank the secretariat and the chair for their leading work on implementation of the UNGASS. On intersectional issues on new threats and challenges, including NPS, for our country fortunately the challenge posed by NPS and ATS is not a serious or imminent threat. But we do pay constant attention. We underscore the importance of our ongoing participation in the INCB activities and providing responses to ARQs. We’re committed to working with you all.
Turkey. Thank you. Turkey attached importance to tackling NPS. The outcome document contains important information on this topic. The EMCDDA set up a working group in 2008 on early warning mechanisms to identify NPS. In the June 2016 meeting, 10 new substances were included in the list of controlled substances. 416 substances were included in the list, 60 of them were automatically included, the others were included individually. We welcome the INCB and UNODC initiatives in this area.
USA. Emerging challenges such as NPS require the international community to come together to understand and respond. We recognise the work done by UNODC SMART and INCB ION in harnessing data on NPS which are essential in understanding and addressing this global challenge. The USA will continue to support the Global SMART Programme to build the capacity of LE and health officials to address the threat of NPS. We’re also providing funding for SMART programmes at national and regional levels. We also provide funding for the implementation of the ION project implementation. We encourage other member states to sustain this important work. We also offer contributions to the pre-export information system of INCB on precursor chemicals. We supported the INCB’s international conferences on 2015 and 2014. We’ll also support the conference in 2017 and encourage states at local level. We’ll continue sharing information at international level. We also encourage international scheduling at international level and accelerate the process.
Here are some of the actions taken nationally – reporting tips on synthetic drugs in the DEA website. Tips are forwarded to DEA team investigations. I also want to mention Controlled Substance Analogue Act, the analogue statute aims to prohibit drugs before they are listed in schedules. It is not a new law but the act has been used extensively towards NPS. It is one way to address the way chemicals can be altered to avoid the law. Since 2011, there have been about 700 prosecutions making use of the act. This has been recognised by the INCB as a best practice mechanism and presented at the latest INCB meeting. The DEA also works to facilitate information sharing and raise awareness on NPS and cooperate with LE. The USA will provide additional information and background on the UNODC website.
China. China welcomes and supports UNGASS outcome document recommendations. But we want to suggest elements. We must strengthen the scheduling of NPS. At present NPS are emerging fast and are prevalent, posing great challenges to international drug control. China wants to use evidence and prioritise the review and scheduling of the most prevalent, persistent and harmful NPS. We call on WHO and the CND to strengthen coordination and increase the efficiency of scheduling, consider risks and harms of misuse and medical value of substances, and more effectively tackle NPS such as ketamine.
We must also strengthen domestic scheduling of NPS. In October 2015, the Chinese government enacted regulations on controlled drugs for non-medical uses, with 116 NPS of great concern for the international community. At the same time, 8 general classifications of NPS were made. There is no individual case of use in China but misuse has caused harms in other countries. We have implemented measures to tackle trafficking. Regulations have increased efficiency of scheduling, stipulating that the national office on drug control can quickly schedule new substances through legislative measures that will not exceed 9 months to tackle rapidly evolving and emerging NPS.
We must strengthen control over precursor chemicals. We established interim mechanisms and accountability systems for the non-scheduled chemicals, and a robust system for tracing precursor chemicals, as well as exchange of information. We established separate mechanisms for those chemicals with medical use and those with non-medical use, and avoid diversion.
It’s necessary to combat online sales of drugs. We must improve capabilities of LE bodies to tackle the problem. In 2015, we resolved hundreds of cases and arrested 46,000 suspects, many received capital punishment. 832 drug related websites were closed, drugs were seized, domain names were reported to drug authorities and closed. International websites were closed. This is to prevent and combat online drug related illicit activities.
Secretary. During the lunchbreak, we will find a solution for the videos – the transcript does not fully correspond to the videos so we need to find a solution for our colleagues for interpretation.
Post-UNGASS facilitator: Now we keep on with the same chapter chapter 5, and give the floor to Guatemala
Guatemala: We would like to thank the facilitator. The outcome of an informed debate is evidenced based, not ideology. The idea is that we can benefit from an informed dialogue from the debates in other countries. Let us state something clearly. this isn’t about promoting liberalisation facilitator the sovereignty of every nation is most important to us, we believe in opening up to modernity, as drug traffickers are opening up to NPSs. Ambassador from Australia said this very clearly
At the regional level, we started to have this debate at the OAS. Nobody believed this would be attainable. This should not be considered as a regional policy but a global problem.
My country has chosen to follow the public health approach. Here the idea is to free up prisons and to provide care to them whereas before they were treated as criminals
We must continue working at the internal level to address the problems of inequality. We are constantly striving of strengthening state institutions. Highlight need of UN Agencies and the INCB.
It is impossible for the WHO to act without sufficient resources. We recall the need to work together to ensure system wide coherence.
Brazil: In this topic of NPS my delegation would like to highlight two points regarding metrics. Regarding the issue, Brazil considers it necessary to improve the measures of drug policies. The UNGASS recognises the drug problem has an interdimensional problem. The use of new indicators are important tasks, the presentations of the secretariats reiterate this view. This is a matter of high relevance at the national level so that our agencies have the tools to implement drug policies and at the multilateral level to implement the SDGs. Regarding NPS. In May 2016, the National health surveillance has implemented changes with the view of containing the dissemination of NPS in Brazil. Generic synthetic cannabis has been classified. We consider this an important advancement in the scheduling of drugs. Generic scheduling for other substances is expected to be implemented soon. Finally, brazil has also endeavoured to strengthen cooperation regarding NPS.
Japan: The world drug problem continued to pose important threat to international community, including growth of NTS and NPS. UNGASS vital operation to control spread of amphetamine type stimulants and NPS. In this context, I’d like to share some of our efforts and experiences including international contributions, I’d like to share domestic countermeasures regarding NPS. Japan’s society faces growing threats from NPS. In 2007 around time distribution of NPS, ministry of health adopted a resolution banning the sale of certain NPS. But current types of NPS and products of which have come out one after the other with the aim of circumventing control. The number of NPS up to 3240 as of march 2016. So as to prevent the emergence of circumventing substances. Frequent inspection against NPS headshops. Japan also wages an intense fight against border NPS. Number of arrests has increased dramatically, number of headshops decreased dramatically. Managed to take situation under control for now. It is vital to increase international cooperation. Japan has supported UNODC since its beginning in 2008 including its fight against NPS. Recently hosted INCB taskforces. Delegations actively exchanged experiences. Experts also shared experience in domestic regulations. G7 presided by Japan, has called for the strengthening of the fight against NPS. World drug problem is an urgent task of international society
Romania: Romania aligns itself with EU statement. Romania has adapted early warning system. This takes into account EU level and geopolitical context and health and social context. More prompt reaction from member states, adopting new legislations more effective, need to use all legislative and administrative means. Giving the almost infinite possibilities to synthesise and create NPS, stronger cooperation should be encouraged. Romania appreciates efforts in central Asia. Romania reaffirms commitment to promote the exchange of information on the main developments.
Justice Tettey, UNODC: Thank your excellency and distinguished delegates. Highlight achievements since 2014 in the context of NPS. Most delegations raise issue of increased NPS. UNGASS taught us a number of things, namely to look beyond numbers. NPS key characteristic – if you look at the map situation is heterogeneous. We should also think about the transience, some appear today and gone tomorrow, some don’t. In terms of these substances they are not dangerous in and of themselves.
UNGASS taught us is to look beyond the numbers which means we should develop a strong framework regarding NPS issues. 5 key issue UNGASS gave us. First is early warning systems, second is prioritisation, third is data collection, fourth is building capacity of law enforcement, operational recommendations – early warning systems allow you to increase preparedness problem. Reassuring that number of countries built early warning systems, UNODC has worked with Gulf, Latin American and Caribbean countries to develop early warning systems. Since April 2015 UNODC has been working closely with WHO to operationalise the aspect of prioritisation. These came up with a number of suggestions which are being implanted as we speak. System to collect toxicology information, piloted in over 15 countries proved we will be able to know which substances we must worry about, this will be built in the UNODC early warning system, which will be revamped in the next 10 months.
Some of you will recall 2009 PoA, in order to deal with NPS we need to understand the issue better, give mandate to programme, expanded in NTS and in UNGASS recommendations, compiled in global smart update, noting difficulties with fentanyls we intend to have a special issue on fentnanyls.
For last forensic capacity building and law enforcement support. Need to be able to detect the substance, most of these substances appear on our markets and have no idea what they contain, some of these contain a multitude of substances. UNODC has been working with governments at the local level, we have upped our game, provide support to over 230 labs in over 30 countries. We have provided 1000s of reference standards to be able to identify NPS, continue to develop guidance.
Finally with law enforcement, leading onto UNGASS started capacity building exercises, develop new technology including raman and laser, able to identify NPS when they show up. Briefings covering South East Asia and West Africa leading to UNGASS this year Central Asia, next year Latin America and Caribbean.
UNGASS outcome document has provided a good framework to fight NPSs, we are on a credible trajectory to fulfil recommendations.
Post-UNGASS facilitator: Reached the end of presentations, we go back to the NGOs. What you hear from the translators is what is written on the transcripts. Ask secretariat to show us in any order the videos of the NGOs.
Revocatus Nginila; International Blue Cross, Tanzania, (video message): network to committee member to International Blue Cross. Drugs are major destabilising factor, especially in developing countries. It is important to diminish the availability of harmful substances especially in vulnerable groups. We need to fight forces pushing legalisation, especially through human rights perspective. Drugs growth through tourism industry. Today these drugs are consumed locally. Heroin entered in the early 1990s and majority of the people don’t know it. why others inject it, everyone wanted to test it. 250,000 heroin users (?) in Tanzania who are a threat to national security. The Blue Cross treats addiction as a health disorder that can be treated. Tanzania is signatory to the UN conventions – cites T drug law which severely punishes people for engagement in the drug trade. Tanzania launched MMT clinic in 2011 – the programme is an essential part of the package. MMT clinic is considered as a redeemer for PWID as helps them to reduce their drug use. Lots of int’l donors support these services for people addicted to drugs and people living with HIV. National governments must be encouraged to fund their own response for these populations.
Nicolas Vako, UNICO: Dear colleagues, it is a real pleasure to participate in this international exchange. Like most countries, Cote d’Ivoire with notable participation of international civil society, scourge of NPS. Given this reality, over 140 smoking dens in capital, police action lead to displacement of drug users to the interior of country were there is less law enforcement and are harder to reach. Do not participate in social life in their original environment, some of them are sex workers. UNICO is committed in sphere of awareness raising and lobbying the authorities. Priority as follows: health based approach over penal policy and eliminating hybrid form which is developing, working against programs, improving the quality of care of drug users, improving substitution therapy, eliminating marginalisation. UNICO invites authorities to continue in struggle, drug users considered as a priority group, integration of drug users a priority.
Energy Control, Nuria Calzada: I am here presenting on behalf of the Energy Control programme of the Welfare and Development Association (Asociación Bienestar y Desarrollo), which since 1997 has implemented a programme of substance analysis mostly for people who use drugs in Spain. To address the phenomenon of novel drugs, like in many other countries, Spain has developed an Early Warning System that involves stakeholders such as hospitals, law enforcement authorities, and harm reduction programmes like us, who provide substance analysis services. Precisely in recent years, and in relation to those new drugs, these analysis programmes have demonstrated our capacity to identify a high level of new substances. For instance, in 2015, Energy Control issued 158 alerts to the population of people who use drugs, with 49 of them being communicated to the Spanish Early Warning System. In most cases, these concerned novel drugs. In addition to market monitoring, these programmes facilitate establishing contact with a hard-to-reach population, allowing us to provide basic health advice. This direct contact also permits us acting like an ‘observatory’, and compile information that would be difficult to obtain from other sources. Despite their advantages, only a few countries have deployed this sort of strategies; with pilot projects currently taking place in Australia, United Kingdom and Uruguay.
For this reason, we would recommend: First, the implementation of substance analysis programmes addressing people affected by the phenomenon of ‘novel drugs’, particularly recreational users, but also problem users that inject drugs. We also recommend for legislation to be changed so that they allow for the establishment of these services in the context of national drug policies, and their inclusion in early warning systems. A legal framework that guarantees the security and protection of both organisations who implement these programmes and people who use them, and the nightlife sector, where these programmes tend to act. Thirdly, we recommend creating mechanisms to exchange information and good practices at the global level, as has been the case at the European level. Finally, we want to insist on the need to improve our knowledge of ‘novel drugs’ and to tackle them from a pragmatic, balanced and integral perspective; one that is based on scientific evidence, and that is sensitive to the needs of most vulnerable populations. And, finally, an approach that is consonant with a responsible public health policy that prioritises the welfare of citizens above purely repressive approaches.