Chair: Egypt has asked to speak before Agenda Item 8b.
Egypt: We are committed to the 3 conventions – they constitute the cornerstone for national policies that combat drugs. The 3 documents are the roadmap to addressing the world drug problem. We fully believe in the balance of efforts to reduce the supply and demand of drugs. We have enhanced controls over cultivation and security of drugs coming into the country. We have achieved great seizures and call on all members to get to know the scale of the problem. We base our efforts on an integrated and blanketed approach. We are working with NGO’s and civil society to reduce demand for drugs and through treatment initiatives. We develop programmes to help youth and educational tools in schools at all levels. We launched an integrated media campaign with celebrities to raise awareness of the problem and deal with the social stigma that reached 45 million people especially through social media. We have also commissioned a drama series dealing with drug use. Have set up a 24 hour phone line for people to access. Full recovery requires a variety of options to help reintegrate drug users back into society. We are happy to share our knowledge with all of the friendly countries.
(b) Changes in the scope of control of substances;
Chair: We will consider the recommendations of the WHO for the scheduling of 12 substances under 1961 convention. The committee will examine 8 substances under 1971 convention. The committee
UNODC Secretariat: We have agenda item 8 before us, about scheduling drugs and containing the recommendations from the WHO. The addendum reflects comments made by governments on these WHO recommendations. The commission will decide whether it wants to take any action on these recommendations. We have a notification from the USA on fentanyl. The normal procedure is that the commission acts on consensus. If the substances recommended under the 1961 convention, a majority of the present and voting commission are required. For substances recommended as being scheduled under 1971 Convention, a two thirds vote of the whole commission is need – there needs to be at least 35 affirmative votes. The same voting rules apply for substances under the 1988 convention.
Where there is a vote of the states present, these are the states present:
Angola, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Belarus, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, China, Colombia, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, El Salvador, France, Germany, Guatemala, Hungary, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Italy, India, Japan, Korea, Kenya, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Netherlands, Pakistan, Peru, Qatar, Uruguay, United States, United Kingdom, Russia, Spain, Slovakia, South Africa, Sudan, Togo, Turkey, Tajikistan, Thailand.
(At the beginning there were no abstentions and 50 members recorded as voting affirmative, after a couple of votes there was 51 members voting affirmative but it is unclear which country was the additional one. )
WHO: This is a compound similar to others which are open to abuse. It has no recorded therapeutic use. There have been seizures of this substance in many countries. We consider that this substance is likely to be abused constituting a problem. We recommend this is scheduled under 1961 Convention.
Chair: I invite members present to vote on whether this is a scheduled.
Those not in support, please raise your signs. (None.)
If you wish to abstain, raise your sign. (None.)
A total of 50 votes in favour of this recommendation, therefore U-47700 is included in the Convention.
WHO: To be scheduled under 1971 convention. 4-MEC has a homologue which is mefadrone which is listed under 1971 convention. 4-MEC produces amphetamine like results such as euphoria. It has similar abuse potentials to cocaine. It has similar ill effects to substances in schedule 2 of 1971 convention. We recommend it be scheduled in schedule 2 of 1971 convention.
Chair: May we now vote. We need a two-thirds majority to pass this, 35 members.
50 members in favour, we have decided to include this in the 1971 Convention then.
WHO: No recorded therapeutic use. Likely to be abused like methamphetamine or cocaine. Impaired consciousness, vertigo, hallucination. Users report feelings euphoria similar to MDMA effects. Non-fatal intoxications have been recorded. It has been associated with 6 fatalities. Several countries have brought pentedrone under national control. It has similar abuse and similar ill-effects as substances in schedule two. It should be placed under international schedule 2 of 1971 Convention.
Chair: Members in favour of please raise their sign. 50 votes in favour, no abstentions and no votes against. Pentedrone will be scheduled in schedule 2 of the 1971 Convention.
WHO: Analog of methamphetamine. Panic attacks, anxiety, hallucinations, effects similar to methamphetamine. 14 fatalities associated. Abuse reported in many countries. It is available online. It recognises that it has similar ill effects of substances in schedule 2 of the 1971 convention.
Chair: There is a majority of affirmative votes therefor MPA will be included in schedule 2 of the 1971 convention.
WHO: liable to similar abuse and ill effects to drugs such as morphine and fentanyl which are already scheduled. It can be easily converted into fentanyl. No recored therapeutic use and 40 fatal & non fatal cases. Symptoms include pinpoint pupils, leading to coma, loss of repertory. It can be sold online and is seized in many countries. Sufficient evidence that it’s likely to be abused and should be controlled under schedule 1 of the 1961 convention.
Chair: All member states vote in favour – 50 votes in favour commission includes it in schedule 1 of the 1961 convention.
WHO: slight modification of methylone, which is already scheduled. can substitute for meth and cocaine. Use associated with 8 fatalities. aggressively marketing online. Several countries have already imposed regulations on it. Similar abuse and effects as substances already in schedule 2.
Total of 50 votes in favour – commission decided to include it in schedule 2 of the 1971 convention
WHO: schedule 2 under 1971 convention – easily converted into methylphenidate (scheduled) – demonstrate meth-like stimulates. 25 fatalities. Strong urge to re-dose. sold over internet and under control in several countries. degree of risk to public health and society is substantial.
Chair: All member states vote in favour – 51 votes in favour commission includes it in schedule 2 of the 1971 convention.
WHO: belongs to synthetic cannabinoid group. can indue serious adverse events. associated with 53 serious adverse events and 28 fatalities. violent behaviour, driving under influence. Easily purchased online. many have it under some degree of controls
Chair: All member states vote in favour – 51 votes in favour commission includes it in schedule 2 of the 1971 convention.
WHO– many adverse effects. reports of physical withdraw symptoms when reducing use. sold online and been detected in seized products – under national control in many countries. substantial risk to society. similar effects to other scheduled substances under schedule 2 of 1971 convention.
Chair: All member states vote in favour – 51 votes in favour commission includes it in schedule 2 of the 1971 convention.
WHO: synthetic canabinoid with no theraputic use. similar effects as THC. acute kidney injury. confirmed in driving under the influence and 2 fatalities. encounter in seizures and under control in many countries. substantial risk to public health and society.
Chair: All member states vote in favour – 51 votes in favour commission includes it in schedule 2 of the 1971 convention.
APP & ANPP
President of INCB on proposed scheduling of NPP and ANPP under 1988 Convention: Placing 2 fentanyl precursors under the 1988 convention. they are used to produce fentanyl and fentanyl analogues. high potency resulted in overdose death and inadvertent exposure to law enforcement and others along the chain. Both NPP and ANPP can be converted and are being considered together here today. we find that legitimate uses are limited in terms of govt reporting activities and the range of users. should be limited to legitimate commercial purposes and research. Wr recommend adding it to table 1 of the 1988 convention. it will have no adverse affects on legitimate uses of NPP or ANPP.
Chair: 2/3 majority is needed
Chair: All member states vote in favour – 51 votes in favour commission includes it in Table 1 of 1988 convention.
Chair: All member states vote in favour – 51 votes in favour commission includes it in Table 1 of 1988 convention.
Chair: Any comments?
United States: This vote will save lives, and shows how international action can have great effects. This is an important tool in controlling the flow of fentanyl and the NPS crisis.
Chair: We have now concluded our agenda item 8b.
(a) Challenges and future work of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and the World Health Organization in the review of substances for possible scheduling recommendations;
UNODC: Five years after the first expressed concerns over the emergence of new psychoactive substances, there have been many more substances. We are studying NPS markets and getting a better understanding. Not all substances reported since monitoring in 2008 appear on the market. There is diversity in this problem in different geographical regions. The substances differ significantly in their harms to the body. The evidence base required to make decisions is often unavailable. Let me highlight some challenges. The UNGASS underscored importance of undertaking an evidence based review of new substances. We have made time this morning to schedule NPS and precursors. It is good we share information among member states through the UNODC. The early warning system of the UNODC is currently being enhanced to support a toxicology account. The scheduling of substances remains a milestone. The success depends on national implementation of scheduling under conventions. It is hard to identify these substances. The identification is essential. The poor implementation of the new scheduling in poorer countries means these drugs are still being developed there. While progress has been made by a number of states, more needs to be done, particularly in vulnerable regions. We would like to be able to support countries to identify emerging threats and be able to take appropriate action.
WHO: The 1961 and 1971 conventions gave the WHO its mandate and is reinforced the the 2016 UNGASS outcome document. Our assessments are carried out by our expert committee who come from all regions of the world. They assist the most harmful and prevalent substances and recommend what should be placed under international control. We pay particular attention to life saving medicines. We have met annually and carried out critical reviews and recommend the scheduling of about 3 substances. Very little data is collected when substances are available and before they disappear. very limited quality information is available. WHO is making all efforts to increase the number of substances available for research. We engage with countries and organisation to encourage sharing reliable information. We are developing a system of surveillance over substances with scarce surveillance. We are committed to improve work and recognise commitment from member states to support us in innovation.
Sudan: I would like to present a report on the drug control in Sudan. Sudan have signed the three national drug control treaties. It is very well documented that substances are controlled by these treaties. In 2007, the poison centre was established and the scientific approach to drug control was initiated. The head of police in Sudan established the advisory council on narcotics. We have been arranging important meetings. The committee has branches in all states on Sudan. We have in 2010 about 8,255 students interviewed for drug abuse in universities. The results were that 10% were drug abusers and bengu was used by 36% of abuses, and cocaine and heroin and amphetamines were used by 7-8%. Many students abused cough suppressant. ATS, tramadol and benzodiazepines have been identified. Many students were positive for benhexole. The WHO assistance to drug control in Sudan started very early particularly in import/export of substances. The CND provides CND with updates regarding the information from CND meetings. 160 cases of tramadol have been investigated in laboratories which are centres for excellence and training in East Africa. The scientific support to drug control in Sudan is very evident. We conclude by saying that the development of forensic science in identifying new psychoactive substances is essential. We think some prescription drugs require more research.
Argentina: We is currently taking an active part in information exchange and understand that drug trafficking poses a real threat to states and is a dynamic phenomenon that obliges us to update our tools to meet the challenges. The seizures of synthetic substances increased by 500% in my county. We have asked for more substances to be included in the table of precursors. We have worked since December 2015 adding these substances to our domestic tables and believe they should be added internationally.
China: We have achieved great results in NPS control. in 2001 we placed ketamine under control and since 2010 10 NPS have been added in a timely fashion. As of March this year we have placed fentanyl substances under control and have 144 NPS under control. Nearly 50 counties have taken measures to control ketamine and we continue to support these measures and cooperation with other nations and sharing information in support of data collection. We call on the WHO to take full account of information given by member states so as to improve quality and transparency of scheduling recommendations.
Brazil: We are concerned with the increase in seizures in Brazil, particularly due to the lack of laboratories in our country. We support the continuation of expert consultations and help states respond to challenges. We have been supplying information in a consistent manner though the existing notification systems which are soon to be enhanced and broadened. Since June 2016 we are adopting a generic system for scheduling substances. We will be able to share our methodology with other interested parties. We are holding the next conference on NPS with UNODC next May and reinforce the need for global cooperation in this area.
UK: As the UNGASS outcome document recognises, NPS are one of the key international challenges. We have come a long way to adapt the scheduling system to meet these challenges. There is always more that can be done. Our resolution here contains important elements to enhance this system further. We endorse the UNODC efforts to enhance data on UNODC database, this will inform national policy responses. We look forward to working with the UNODC to implement these measures. The support of member states is crucial in this. We call on member states to provide data UNODC to provide evidence based reviews. We urge member states to support UNODC in establishing a regular flow of toxicological data. Then we will have a rich international database of NPS health harms. The capacity building work of UNODC’s Global Smart Programme is crucial in building our ability to identify of substances.
ATS: During these four days we heard three sentences repeated, the first time it was time to look for alternatives to prohibition, the second that the New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) emerge as the great challenge for the 21st century and the third, in the case of Colombia, That the last battle against illegal crops was going to take place thanks to the agreement of Peace. However, when new ideas arrive, many of those who ask for them will resist change, they are fearful of progress and feel a great international political pressure that prevents them from solving their local problems with sovereignty.
That is why we would like to invite you to review the evidence that shows that the Substance Analysis and Early Warning programs, led by new and young civil society organizations, have become the best ally of governments for reducing death And poisoning by the New Psychoactive Substances, as well as their detection and identification. And to the Colombian Government as the world, to convey our optimism and hope in the peace process with the FARC, but to invite them to advance in the debate and reflection with the regulation of the cocaine market for recreational use, since, the same Proposals of substitution, eradication and fumigation that they put into action, in a few years, will fail once more, by the capitalist force of the demand of the consumers of developed countries with strong sensations.
Governments, see civil society as your allies, as the friends who are going to take the risks that you can not take, who will push the changes that you are asking for. Thank you very much.
Egypt: I would like to reaffirm our support for this committee which is the primary policy making entity on narcotics throughout the world. We would like to seize this opportunity to discuss abuse of Tramadol. We have needed to find creative ways to control this substance and prevent its abuse. We can mention here reports of INCB in 2012, 2013 and 2014 which documented the abuse of Tramadol in Northern African states. Heart attack cases have increased because of use of Tramadol. We are looking at Tramadol from a scientific perspective. A university carried out a survey of use in order to find out the extent of use. They found that the use of Tramadol was a primary cause of epileptic attacks. Clinical studies of people suffering from abuse of Tramadol find they are suffering from all forms of mental health issues: depression, bipolar etc. All as a result of using Tramadol. There is an increase in toxic cases since 2011, in addition to an increase in the rates of death. There have been 30 fatal cases. The Egyptian Counter Narcotics Agency are trying to monitor the trafficking of this drug. We have carried out a number of seizures following the scheduling of it in Egyptian law. We have seized 251 million tablets. I urge member states to study how to address this problem. The INCB is concerned with the increase in use of Tramadol in African states and the increase in trafficking. We urge member states to supply the INCB with data from their countries on the abuse of Tramadol. We call on all participants to review the paper submitted by Egypt on abuse of Tramadol.
(c) International Narcotics Control Board;
Werner Sipp (President of the INCB):
Madam Chair, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
It is an honour and a pleasure for me to stand before you today to present an overview of the Board’s work for 2016, for my last time in my capacity as President of the International Narcotics Control Board. Over the past year the Board has continued to monitor and promote the implementation of the three international drug control treaties, which, as recognized by the special session of the General Assembly on the world drug problem in April 2016, serve as the cornerstone for international cooperation in drug control, towards ensuring the availability of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for medical and scientific purposes, and in preventing and addressing diversion, illicit drug crop cultivation and production, trafficking and abuse.
The Board’s findings and recommendations can be found in its Annual Report and Precursors Report for 2016, which were launched globally earlier this month. The Board’s technical publications for 2016 are also now available, including on the INCB website. These reports aid competent national authorities in their work of ensuring adequate availability of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for licit purposes, and for preventing diversion.
Chapter I: Every chapter I of the INCB Annual Reports is dedicated to a thematic topic which the Board considers to be at the core of current global interest or importance. For 2016 this was determined to be ‘women and drugs’. In consideration of Sustainable Development Goal No 5, “achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls”, our report calls upon governments to design and implement drug policies which are more gender sensitive. To achieve drug policies which are truly comprehensive, effective and enduring, the barriers preventing women from accessing healthcare and treatment facilities must be removed and the specific needs of women must be addressed.
This is not presently the case: although women represent one third of global drug users, they constitute only one fifth of drug treatment recipients. Women are increasingly being arrested for drug-related crimes and are being affected by a disproportionate increase in drug overdoses. Therefore, the Board’s Annual Report aims to remind policymakers of the importance of protecting the rights of women who use drugs or have committed drug-related offences, and the rights of their families.
The Chapter concludes by making recommendations to Governments as to how to develop more gender-conscious drug policies. It emphasizes that “one-size-fits-all” drug policies are not adequate. Prevention programs targeted specifically at women at risk – like prisoners, pregnant women, people living with HIV/AIDS and sex workers – are imperative to drug policies which protect and improve the health and wellbeing of women. Such policies must be informed by gender disaggregated data and should pay specific attention to the stigma associated with drug abuse, particularly among women. They must help them to access prevention and treatment programs while ensuring their safety and privacy in the facilities. Better-informed policies and a more efficient allocation of sorely-needed resources are vital for the success of such programs.
Functioning of the international drug control system The Annual Report, particularly Chapter II, describes the functioning of the international drug control system, which is designed to monitor the licit trade in order to ensure the availability of narcotics and psychotropics for medical purposes. In this context, the Board reviewed the drug control situation in different countries. In 2016 the Board reviewed in particular the status of overall treaty compliance in: Australia, Colombia, Denmark, Mauritania, Spain, the United States and Uruguay.
Additionally, the Report offers a brief synopsis of the 13 country missions carried out since last year’s report. These missions are essential to the work of the Board. It is indispensable that our dialogue with the Governments and the recommendations made to them remain confidential – as requested by the conventions.
Afghanistan The Board’s review of the situation in Afghanistan is also presented in Chapter II of the report. INCB is continuing its intensive consultations with the Government of Afghanistan pursuant to article 14 of the 1961 Single Convention. I visited Afghanistan last May as part of these consultations, with a view to strengthening implementation of the conventions in the country, including by seeking cooperative international action through the provision of technical and financial assistance from the international community.
The Board has repeatedly expressed concern about the overall situation in Afghanistan, which may continue to have a grave impact on the drug control situation in the country and beyond. We therefore call upon partner Governments and the international community to continue and sustain their support for counter-narcotics efforts in Afghanistan, in the spirit of the common and shared responsibility. I have said and I will repeat here again: If general and sustainable development, security and stability are to be achieved in Afghanistan, action to counter the drug problem cannot be removed from the equation.
Special topics The report addresses some ‘special topics’ of particular importance in the year in review. For 2016 these consisted of:
• State responses to drug-related offences
• Regulation of the use of cannabis for non-medical purposes
• Importance of accurate and timely reporting; and
• Using modern technology to monitor international trade in scheduled substances.
State responses to drug-related offences The special topic on State responses to drug-related offences emphasizes – as the Board has reiterated on numerous occasions – the fundamental principles underpinning the three international drug control treaties, namely: the principle of a balanced approach, the principle of proportionality, and respect for human rights. No obligation stems from the conventions to imprison people who commit minor drug-related offences. However, in many States, policies to address drug-related offences have continued to be rooted primarily in punitive criminal justice responses, prosecution and incarceration. Consequently, alternative measures such as education, treatment, rehabilitation and social reintegration remain underutilized.
The determination of sanctions applicable to drug-related offences remains the prerogative of States Parties to the conventions. Nevertheless, the Board continues to encourage States that retain capital punishment to consider the abolition of the death penalty for drug-related offences, in view of the relevant international conventions and protocols.
As publicly stated by the Board over the past year, INCB also reiterates its categorical condemnation of the extrajudicial targeting of people suspected of illicit drug-related activity. Such action is not only a breach of the drug control conventions, but also constitutes a serious breach of human rights, and is an affront to the most basic standards of human dignity. INCB calls upon all Governments concerned to immediately halt such actions and to investigate any person suspected of involvement in any such extrajudicial action.
Regulation of the use of cannabis for non-medical purposes In the special topic on the regulation of the use of cannabis for non-medical purposes, the Board reiterates that the Parties to the 1961 Convention have assumed the obligation to limit exclusively to medical and scientific purposes the production, manufacture, distribution, use and possession of drugs. To this rule no exception is possible.
The Board has maintained a dialogue with the States that have adopted or are considering measures which would allow the non-medical use of cannabis and the creation of a regulated market for the distribution and sale of cannabis products for non-medical use. However, the Board reaffirms the incompatibility of such measures with the legal obligations incumbent upon States parties to the 1961 Convention. We call upon those Governments to pursue their political objectives by putting in place measures and policies which remain in the ambit of the conventions.
In the Report, the Board reminds Governments that, in view of the public health risks associated with the abuse of cannabis, the drug has been subjected to the highest levels of control under the treaties, through its inclusion in Schedules I and IV of the 1961 Convention. It is now up to State parties to determine how to respond to the developments in those countries which disregard the treaties by permitting and regulating the non-medical use of drugs.
Importance of accurate and timely reporting The Annual Report emphasizes the importance of accurate and timely reporting to the Board by Member States to ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of the international drug control system. Regrettably many Governments fail to comply with this treaty obligation.
Focusing on narcotic drugs, the Board urges parties to provide accurate estimates of their annual requirements and statistics on the stocks held by manufacturers and wholesalers. Information on stocks is indispensable for monitoring the balance between supply and demand.
In addition to the obligation to report on psychotropic substances and pursuant to related resolutions of the ECOSOC and the CND, Governments are strongly encouraged to report data on the consumption of psychotropic substances for medical and scientific purposes. Accurate reporting would help to ensure their availability for the treatment of a large variety of medical conditions, including mental health conditions, and would improve access to them worldwide.
The importance of the work of competent national authorities cannot be overstated: they are at the front line of their countries’ efforts to facilitate licit trade and to prevent the diversion of controlled substances into illicit channels. As such it is imperative that Governments provide for the training of staff, as this would have a direct impact on access and availability and would best contribute to fulfilling reporting obligations. In 2016, INCB Learning provided training to competent national authorities in East Africa and in South and East Asia and the Pacific. With your support, we hope to expand this training to other regions.
Using modern technology to monitor international trade in scheduled substances To assist Member States in their monitoring of international trade in scheduled substances, over the last ten years INCB has launched four tailored online communication systems. Our special topic on “new tools for old purposes” explains each of the four systems, as they all focus on a different aspect of drug control, facilitating a quick, secure and direct exchange of information among Governments.
PEN Online (Pre-export Notification Online) is used in the licit precursor trade to send pre-export notifications to chemical-importing countries. PEN Online helps to verify the legitimacy of individual cross-border transactions of precursor chemicals and to identify suspicious shipments before they reach their destination and end up in illicit drug manufacture.
The Precursors Incident Communication System (PICS) facilitates the exchange of information on chemical-related incidents, such as seizures of precursor chemicals and the dismantling of clandestine laboratories, providing leads for authorities to initiate investigations into illicit activities within and across borders.
The Project Ion Incident Communication System (IONICS) provides a platform for the exchange of operationally relevant information on new psychoactive substances which, although not under international control, pose a growing public health risk.
The International Import and Export Authorization System (I2ES) supports the secure exchange of import and export authorizations for the licit international trade in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. It provides a safeguard against excess of imports or exports. I2ES is an essential tool that all Governments should use to expedite international trade in those substances and prevent their diversion, to enhance access to medicines containing controlled substances, and to improve their treaty compliance efforts. The longterm sustainability of these systems depends upon the ongoing support of Member States.
Regional developments Chapter III of the Annual Report presents a region-by-region analysis of the world drug situation. You have the report; I will not go into detail on this here.
In the context of the analysis of the world drug situation and the review of treaty compliance, INCB has noticed that a growing number of Governments continued to establish so-called “drug consumption rooms”. The Board has reiterated that for the operation of such “drug consumption rooms” to be consistent with the conventions, a number of conditions must be met: The ultimate objective of these facilities must be to effectively reduce the adverse consequences of drug abuse- They must not condone or encourage drug trafficking. They must refer patients to treatment, rehabilitation and social reintegration services and they cannot be a substitute for demand reduction programmes, particularly prevention and treatment.
As for the description of the drug situation in various regions, we are very grateful to those Governments that have already provided us with feedback. INCB takes your comments to heart. We will carefully review them, consult with you and take your comments into account in future reports. Thus, I encourage all Governments to provide the Board with information on drug control developments in your countries on an ongoing basis, so that we may consider it in order to reflect appropriately in our Annual Reports.
International cooperation in precursor control The Board’s Precursors report, on the implementation of article 12 of the 1988 Convention, emphasizes the importance of enhanced information-sharing, multilateral – 5 – operational cooperation, domestic law enforcement, and the use of existing tools and cooperation mechanisms, in order to identify, disrupt and dismantle organized criminal groups involved in the diversion of precursors.
The precursors report presents an analysis of recent trends and challenges, such as the continued diversification in illicit drug manufacture and the great variety of non-scheduled substances used to circumvent existing controls. The report records the ways in which Member States have extended their commitment to include pre-precursors, substitute and alternative precursors and chemicals used in the illicit manufacture of drugs. These practices, along with voluntary partnerships and cooperation with relevant industries, are essential to address new challenges.
The third international conference on “Precursor Chemicals and New Psychoactive Substances (NPS)”, organized last month by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in Bangkok, provided an important means of taking stock of the achievements made. It was also an opportunity to discuss the challenges ahead at the national, regional and international levels. I am confident that the practical measures contained in the outcome document of this important event will contribute to preventing the diversion of precursor chemicals as well as addressing the use and related consequences of NPS.
INCB recommendations I will now come back to the content of the Board’s Annual Report, the final chapter of which contains recommendations made to Governments, the United Nations and other relevant international and national organisations.
I already mentioned the Board’s recommendation towards the development, implementation and funding of gender-sensitive drug policies.
I also mentioned earlier the special topic on “State responses to drug related offences”, a subtopic of which is “Proportionality and alternatives to conviction and imprisonment”, a matter I personally hold dear to my heart. Disproportionate responses to drug-related offences undermine the aims of the conventions and can also have a negative impact on the compliance with the rule of law. As I mention in my foreword to the INCB Annual Report, public safety and security are critical objectives for any Government, yet the pursuit of them must not be at the expense of the inherent dignity of the individual. The principle of proportionality must continue to act as a guiding principle in drug-related matters.
Regarding the availability of controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes, INCB urges all Governments to fully implement the operational recommendations contained in the outcome document of UNGASS 2016. I also remind you of the recommendations contained in the supplement to the Board’s annual report for 2015. The Board stands ready to continue to support Governments in their efforts to ensure the availability of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for medical and scientific purposes, in coordination with relevant international, regional and national organizations. The Board again calls upon the international community to provide support to countries in need of assistance.
Due to time constraints my address to you today on the findings as presented in the Board’s Annual Reports is necessarily incomplete. I urge you to carefully review all of the Board’s recommendations as contained within our reports, and as you return to your capitals over the coming days, urge you to champion these recommendations and ensure that they are taken into account in the development and implementation of your national drug control policies.
In closing, as the international drug control community moves forward to the 2019 review of the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action and the outcome document of UNGASS 2016, I urge all Governments to step up their efforts to implement these instruments and the provisions of the conventions. The Board stands ready to assist you and – 6 – provide advice on treaty implementation, with a view to meeting the health and welfare aims of the international drug control system.
However, the Board counts on your support and cooperation, on an ongoing basis in meeting reporting obligations and in accepting INCB missions, but also in ensuring that the Board is adequately resourced to fulfil its treaty-based mandate. I urge you to participate in the mechanisms offered by the Board, such as INCB Learning, I2ES, PEN Online, PICS and IONICS. I would like to put on record our (INCB’s) appreciation for the support a number of your Governments have provided to enable INCB to develop and implement these initiatives. I would like to urge those Governments to continue supporting our work, and invite other Governments to join them in enabling INCB to continue and expand this work. Also, as I mentioned during the opening ceremony on Monday, I also urge you, through your representations at United Nations Headquarters, to ensure that the Board’s regular budget resources are set at a level that permits the Board to meet the evolving treaty implementation challenges.
I would like to thank you for your attention and invite you to attend our discussion on State responses to drug-related offenses and the need for proportionality taking place today from 1:10 to 2:00 in Conference Room M3. Thank you.
Malta on behalf of the European Union: Protection of human rights will continue to be fully integrated. We fully support the INCB in its unequivocal condemnation of extra-judicial killings of people suspected of drug offences. We agree that the death penalty should be condemned. We appreciate that the INCB collects data on the important issue of the availability of controlled substances and we want this efforts reinforced. The EU member states remain concerned in the new trends including with NPS. Information exchange on prevention, law enforcement responses and legislation is encouraged. Prevention methods should include: early detection and prevention and the promotion of healthy lifestyles. The EU and its member states support the development of a shared evidence base. We will continue to further strengthen dialogue between countries and international organisations. We will speak with all stakeholders in developing drug policies on national and EU level. I would like to congratulate INCB on its precursors report, many useful recommendations made the report a useful tool in the effort to prevent precursors. We share your view that the main challenges are in trafficking and ‘designer precursors’. A seizure should be the beginning not the end of a case. Let me sum up some EU successes. We are seeking to increase transparency. Cooperation with industry continues to be a central theme. We are now much better equipped to amend our legislation. The catch all provision we have allows the authorities to seize all precursors so long as there is sufficient evidence that these substances will be used to produce illicit substances. We intend to develop ways to further promote the use of this. Quick and accurate detection of new substances is essential. These are some things we do to strengthen our precursor control system.
Denmark: We fully support Malta’s statement on behalf on the EU. We would like to draw attention to a harm reduction measure: drug consumption rooms. The board sets certain conditions: that they are relevant and balanced. We fully support this balanced approach. The overall aim is the health and welfare of people and to combat drug abuse and its harms. When the first drug consumption room was opened in Denmark, we worked with the INCB on this and other relevant matters. We assure the INCB we will continue to support the board.
Chair. I now give the floor to Mr. Badri Narayan Sharma, Additional Secretary at the Ministry of Finance of India.
India. Challenges a futures of the review of substances, all narcotic and psychotropic substances recommended in 2015 sessions have been included, in 59 session of CND support of many scheduling, all substance are being notified. International cooperation to ensure availability of drugs for medical and scientific purposes while diverting their diversion. Ensure easy availability of narcotic drugs for treatment. India requested INCB to provide data about seizures in India, no data given, observation not acceptable, rectification of seizures. Ketamine seizures to be replaced. No substantial increase of precursor diversion. Absence of details or Iran, observation not valid. Drugs found in Europe manufactured in India, not supported by any evidence communicated to India, not acceptable.
Portugal: We align with Malta on behalf of the EU. Data collection and analysis are essential in decision making and improving our drug policies, and the report captures these well. We support calls against harsh measures against drug users. We welcome the analysis provided by the INCB on the alternatives to conviction and punishment to drug related offences. We support INCB calls for countries to abolish the death penalty for people suspected of drug related activities. We add our voice to the broad numbers of member states who are calling for an end to capital punishment.
China: We focus drug control efforts on supply reception and demand reduction. We appreciate the INCB for it’s support and recognise its efforts to combat drugs. The 2016 annual report outlines the main drug control activities and a comprehensive overview of efforts and the situation of 2016. We take note of the guidance of the death penalty – we express our reservations towards this. States have the right to formulate their own laws and policies including criminal justice policies. China will support INCB’s efforts and strengthen our communications and reporting.
Chair. Its now my pleasure to introduce Mr. José Ramon Castillo Garcia, President of the National Anti-Drugs Office.
Venezuela. Good afternoon, the Bolivarian republic of Venezuela, recognises the INCB as the only body with the power to control the application of drug related treaties, we thus take note of the board report, stress its importance, need for holistic vision. Take opportunity while examining agenda item to express our firm rejection of the use of drugs as a tool to diminish the ability of some states to tackle the world drug problem. Adamant against the unilateral utilisation in the report against those who aren’t in favour of the hegemonic power. Such practices do not reinforce the common and shared responsibility principle, tone of the report. We form a comparison indicative of achievements in addressing the world drug problem, cannabis consumption low among students, furthermore countries with among the lowest consumption of cocaine and crack, regarding a mention of our country, repeated reference, from this position have called the attention of the board, quantities of cocaine seized in Europe originated in Venezuela is biased, undeniable that Venezuela is a transit country not a producer, would like to know how the board can substantiate this claim. Full eagerness of the development of full implementation of the objectives of the operational recommendation.
Japan: We value the work of the INCB and the independent monitoring body. On Cannabis: Non-medical use of cannabis is in clear contradiction of the 1961 convention and Japan strongly supports this view. Legalisation of cannabis concerns Japan – medical cannabis should never be used as a front for recreational use and firmly backed up by science.
Norway. It’s always with great interest that we receive the INCB report. Report highlights the importance of women and children, women very vulnerable in many aspects of the drug problem, over last year value of progress in recommendations, lack of availability of narcotic and psychotropic substances for medical and scientific, abolishing of death penalty, regulation of cannabis markets, establishment of drug consumption rooms.
IDPC (Marie Nougier): I am making this intervention on behalf of the International Drug Policy Consortium – a global network of 170 NGOs that come together to promote drug policies based on human rights, human security, social inclusion and public health. We welcome the INCB’s 2016 Annual Report, which includes several positive recommendations in favour of evidence- and human rights-based drug policies.
In particular, we welcome this year’s thematic chapter on women. As the INCB rightly concludes, women who use drugs continue to be particularly vulnerable to HIV and other drug-related health harms. Yet their access to gender-sensitive harm reduction and treatment services continues to be severely limited, not least by overly repressive and stigmatising drug control policies.
Women are also the fastest growing prison population worldwide and this is overwhelmingly driven by punitive drug policies. According to the INCB, the proportion of women incarcerated for drug offences increased by 50% in the past 15 years. We call on member states to ensure more proportionate sentencing and, whenever possible, to use alternatives to incarceration – in line with article 3.4 of the 1988 Convention, as well as paragraphs 4.j and 4.l of the UNGASS outcome document.
In the 2016 report, the INCB emphasises the need to ensure more proportionate sentences for drug offences, stating that disproportionate responses undermine both the aims of the UN drug conventions, and the rule of law. Based on the INCB’s recommendations we call on UN member states to:
- End punitive responses against people who use drugs
- Ensure proportionate penalties across the spectrum of drug offences
- And finally, to urgently halt all human rights abuses committed in the name of drug control, in particular the imposition of the death penalty for drug offences, and the extra-judicial killings of people suspected of involvement in the illicit drug trade.
The recent spate of extra-judicial killings of suspected drug offenders is the first big challenge for the international community in the post-UNGASS era, and so far the international response has been somewhat muted.
We urge the INCB to continue its work with member states to ensure that such abuses of rights come to an immediate end, as they violate both the UN drug conventions and international human rights obligations, which are at the core of the UN system. We also call on the INCB to communicate a clear position and recommendations with regards to the decriminalisation of drug use.
Finally, we welcome the Board’s more supportive position in this year’s report with respect to drug consumption rooms. Today, there are over 90 drug consumption rooms across the world. Evidence from many NGOs, but also from several governments and the EMCDDA, shows that these critical harm reduction interventions have reduced many of the health harms associated with drug use, especially HIV and hepatitis C infections and overdose deaths. We urge member states, with the INCB’s support, to continue to promote, scale up and fund harm reduction interventions – as they constitute an essential component of drug policies.
Werner Sipp, INCB. Briefly than you all for comments, for constructive and critical comments, take everything up, examine proposals and corrections, do our utmost to reflect accurately in the different regions, sometimes lack information and wrong information, rely entirely on information provided by governments.
Chair. Thank you, we now continue with agenda item 8d.
(8d) International cooperation to ensure the availability of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for medical and scientific purposes while preventing their diversion;
INCB: prominence of drugs available for medicine was a worthwhile mention – concerns were over the low levels available in many states. States need to streamline and simplify regulations and remove ones that are unduly restrictive and allowing professional to prescribe and dispense and all while maintain appropriate restrictions. MS should develop national supply mechanisms (monitor stocks and ensure availability). WHO & CND work together to review lists of essential medicines with the help of MS. Control mechanisms are also important to avoid diversion, abuse and overprescription. Appropriate supervision mechanisms are paramount.
China: The Chinese govt has cooperated with INCB in light of changes in scheduling in treaties and has continued to protect the legitimate use of drugs and preventing diversion and abuse. We apply a licensing system to all drugs to strictly review export and import licences to prevent their diversion from international trade. We hope to see support for countries and strike a balance between control and availability.
Venezuela: Many patients are afraid to use drugs that have been criminalised. There has been diversion with false prescriptions. We created an online inventory for users to see what drugs are available and what registered pharmacies are available. It offers a real-time connection with prices and direct communication with the pharmacy. Information for patients should be clear and easy. 80% of the pharmaceutical bills are paid for by the patient, so a good system is vital. A doctor can renew or extend a prescription online. The calculation of the need for drugs is something we can’t do precisely – it leaves out people who don’t have access to the process. This means we still have a number of patients who don’t have access to these drugs. We want to see this system extended across the the region and other latin american states can benefit. It is important to increase coverage and we need strainer controls to minimise diversion.
Korea: NPS from abroad have been abused in Korea as a substitute for other stimulates. To tackle this we have been improving the system by streamlining the monitoring system. We have strengthened the controls over cannabis. Korea has been slowly controlling NPS and hallucinogens as controlled substances. We are looking to shorten the time it takes to designate controlled substances.
Elizabeth Mattfeld, Drug Prevention and Health Branch (UNODC): This past year brought increasing attention to this important topic. Governments, agencies and civil society mobilised around this topic. It’s a key are of the Outcome Document. Efforts by UNODC focus on most vulnerable populations: women, children and the elderly. At the national level, we provide help to identify obstacles: legislation, chain of supply, policy, issues related to cost. UNODC urges MS to review each aspect of the supply change at the same time as medical staff are working to increase their demand of patients. The report by INCB last year identified building capacity of healthcare providers as a key aspect to ensure access. We have found that it is essential to weave information on access to controlled medicines and safe use in the curriculum of health practitioners. UNODC is strongly focused in building synergies and linkages, using the high-level policy foundations of the SDGs and the UNGASS Outcome document. Activities are necessary to respond to national needs. We work with other agencies, including WHO, IAEA, UNIATF, organising workshops, fors instance. The role of civil society is also of great importance. The dedication of our civil society partners is to be commended for humanitarian reasons and it is often the only support for patients: IAHPC, HRW, Pain and Policy Studies in the University of Wisconsin, etc. We know the barriers here, they’re not unsurmountable. This is not just a work of love and compassion by health workers, but all of us.
Giles Forte (WHO): We underscore that the availability of international controlled drugs remains low and non-existent in many countries. Need for improved international cooperation. The resolutions on this topic provide the WHO with a strong mandate to address the challenges in this topic. In line with the Conventions, WHO create programmes that balance the importance of access with responsibility to avoid diversion. We regularly conduct reviews and update lists of essential medicines. We have developed guidelines for the management of pain in children and cancer pain in adults. Work to improve capacity building, developing balanced policy and legislation, etc. We work with UNODC and INCB. We’re a part of a Joint global programme on access to controlled medicines for the management of pain. As it was mentioned by the previous speaker, the programme is supported by Australia and Belgium. It supports countries to identify gaps and barriers, and support best practices and capacity building.
Romania: The world drug problem is still a common and shared responsibility. It stretches from serious crime to health challenges. It requires a balanced, integrated approach. Law enforcement to treatment. We reiterate our commitment to the Conventions, which provide sufficient scope and flexibility to accommodate a wide range of approaches in accordance to national and regional specificities. There are clear trends and new challenges: NPS, opiate use, internet for trafficking and distribution. These call for enhanced cooperation. It is necessary for member states to ensure availability of controlled substances for scientific and medical purposes. The first consequences of drug abuse for individuals and society leads us to adopt supply/demand-reduction measures in full compliance with Conventions and in line with principles of international law and human rights international legislation. People who use drugs should benefit of the same rights of the human rights frameworks as everyone else. We support alternatives to incarceration and harm reduction measures, as well as targeted prevention, on the basis of scientific evidence and quality criteria. We raise the importance of social media in prevention to create public awareness of risks and threats of world drug problem. We need to coordinate our efforts, develop partnerships between civil society and public authorities. We work at the national and regional level and support precursor monitoring. Drug supply reduction policies should not only focus on cultivation, supply and production; but also addressing illicit financial flows. The use of informal initiatives, such as the Dublin Group, informal consultation mechanisms, nurtured by Romania, allow to identify and address relevant issues; facilitate sharing practices and preventing diversion.
(8e) Other matters arising from the international drug control treaties.
Malta, on behalf of the European Union and its Member States (As well as Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Georgia, Iceland, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Serbia, Switzerland, San Marino, Turkey and Ukraine): We welcome and fully support the decision of the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and of the President INCB to call for the immediate and unequivocal condemnation and denunciation of extrajudicial actions against individuals suspected of involvement in the illicit drug trade or of drug use, to put an immediate stop to such actions, and to ensure that the perpetrators of such acts are brought to justice in full observance of due process and the rule of law.
As the INCB has noted, the extrajudicial targeting of persons suspected of illicit drug-related activity is not only a breach of the three international drug control conventions, but it also constitutes a serious breach of human rights, including due process norms as contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The drug control conventions require criminal justice responses to drug-related criminality, which include internationally-recognized due process standards and which reject extrajudicial sanctions of whatever nature. With respect to drug abuse, the conventions commit to a humane and balanced approach requiring the Parties to give special attention to, and take all practicable measures for, the prevention of drug abuse and for the early identification, treatment, education, after-care, rehabilitation and social reintegration of the persons affected.
In line with the outcome document approved at the UN General Assembly special session on the world drug problem, we reiterate our commitment to ensure that “all people can live in health, dignity and peace, with security and prosperity”.
In this regard, we condemn in the strongest terms extrajudicial sanctions of whatever nature, and urge all Governments concerned to put an immediate stop to such actions and to publicly commit to investigate such activities and to prosecute and sanction, as warranted, in full observance of due legal process and the rule of law,any person suspected of having committed, participated in, aided and abetted, encouraged, counselled or incited any such extrajudicial actions.
Brazil: We reaffirm our concern over the use of the death penalty and over countries who use it as it goes against human rights. We ask states to adopt alternative policies with the aim of its abolition.