Plenary: Item 5. Implementation of the international drug control treaties (Wednesday 14th Afternoon Session)

5C

China: China has hosted a law enforcement meeting in 2017. We will support the work of the INCB and we hope it will be more focused on its responsibilities.

Norway: We look forward to receiving the report. We have associated ourselves with the EU statement on the report. It highlights the topic of treatment and reintegration, we appreciate the focus on human rights. We support the message of public health and social reintegration services. The report admits relapses are common and many people return to drug taking after treatment. We find the text a bit evasive. It failed to mention harm reduction for non obvious reasons. We see no reason why cannabis should not undergo the same testing as any other medicine. Professionals with mandate should be allowed to decide what medicines are used and for what purposes. They should be prescribed without obstacles after this. The report states that human rights must be respected, and extra-judicial actions are in violation of the treaties. Pointing to the lack of access to substances for medical purposes is an issue,

Nigeria: We conducted our first national survey on our needs on drugs and precursors for medical and scientific purposes. For effective access and control, we developed our own documents and policies. We believe these will promote rational use and prevent diversion.

Venezuela: We would like to highlight the support of INCB to obtain narcotics for the relief of pain. Within the report, there are some statements that are not in line with reality: “cannabis continues to be grown on a large scale in Venezuela” – this is not true and we would like an explanation from INCB regarding this statement along with the source. Also the statement stating that drug use is high among school children, does not match with our data. We are sure the necessary explanation will be produced by the INCB. Our government is concerned about the use of information additionally to that of member states. We believe only state provided information is to be used.

Pakistan: We believe these reports provide a great assistance to steer narcotic efforts. The INCB is very important to discuss synthetic drug trafficking. INCB would be better if they had avoided references of political nature. We would like to contribute to curbing the menace of drug trafficking. We have a zero-tolerance policy to poppy cultivation. It would not be prudent to assume illicit opiates are being manufactured in Pakistan and we show our concerns to this.

Indonesia: We are of the view that action must strike a balance between prevention and eradication measures consistent with the treaties. Apart from the national efforts we still face challenges in countering trafficking from different reasons. Upholding rule of law against them are essential. Part of the strategies that must be taken into account. I wish to stress the conventions on drugs place a balanced approach between prevention and law enforcement.

United Nations High Commission For Human Rights: Chairperson Distinguished delegates, The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) thanks the Commission on Narcotic Drugs for inviting OHCHR to speak under item 5 (c) of 61st Session of the Commission. Our Office commends the International Narcotics Control Board’s recent call to all States to implement international drug control conventions in accordance with their commitments under international human rights treaties and the rule of law. OHCHR welcomes the inclusion, for the first time, of a special focus on drug control and human rights in this year’s annual report of the INCB, marking the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and 25th anniversary of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action adopted by the World Conference on Human Rights. Already in 2014, INCB considered that the use of the death penalty for drug crimes was incompatible under international law; and in a note verbale addressed to all Member States, INCB encouraged all States that still imposed the death penalty for drug-related offences to abolish it. Under international human rights law, in States which have not yet abolished the death penalty, capital punishment may be imposed only for the “most serious crimes”; and only after the most rigorous judicial process. International human rights mechanisms have consistently held that drug-related offences do not meet the criteria for “most serious crimes”. OHCHR regrets that 33 States still provide for the death penalty for drug related offenses, and that in some States a majority of the executions carried out in recent years have been for drug related offences. OHCHR supports INCB’s recommendation to all States that retain the death penalty for drug-related offences to commute death sentences that have already been handed down, and to consider the abolition of the death penalty for drug-related offences in view of the relevant international conventions and protocols, resolutions of the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and other United Nations bodies on the application of the death penalty. In this regard, OHCHR notes recent legislative reforms, notably in Iran and Malaysia, which seek to limit the use of the mandatory death penalty for some drug-related offences. Any such reforms should apply retroactively, and swiftly establish modalities for the review of all cases of individuals sentenced to death under previous laws – this is particularly pertinent for persons sentenced to death under the mandatory death penalty, which is not compatible with the limitation of capital punishment to the “most serious crimes”. It is of utmost importance that a full review is undertaken to exonerate or commute the death sentences to a lesser punishment for all those affected. Such a review should follow the principle of transparency, due process, and ensure effective legal representation of all those sentenced to death. In addition, any foreign nationals facing the death penalty must be allowed to exercise their rights under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, including to receive information on consular assistance when legal proceedings are initiated against them, also during the review process. Dear Chairperson, We must be clear: capital punishment is not a solution for any problem – certainly not the world drug problem. There is no persuasive evidence that the use of the death penalty is a greater deterrent than other methods of punishment in eradicating drug.

Mexico: In Mexico we have implemented an electronic platform for prescriptions that allows access to essential medicine. These mean it only takes one day for the authorities to meet doctors’ prescription needs – with an increase in doctors prescribing along with identifying all the people involved. We have carried out awareness campaigns, with a  focus on people experiencing pain. When we work together we can chive our goals more speedily.

5D

China: We have assessed the demands for clinical use and approval procedures in research activities. In 2017 a total 2400 import and export permits were issues. International verification is undertaken to prevent their diversion from international trade.

Algeria: Regarding implementation of treaties of controlled substances we have various mechanisms in place establishing modalities for purpose and control of the movement of substances. We have a national commission for the control and warning for narcotic psychotropic substances and chemical precursors to cover the use of controlled substances, those that could be considered a threat to public health. We also have a public health programme to reduce the death rate for cancer and increase access to care. It includes many new structures including giving the ability to doctors to prescribe medicines. Methadone has been prescribed for treatment. We have to combat pain for ethical and dignity reasons. Combating pain is a legitimate right for all people. We are part of the PEN online system

Turkey: We strictly control the production of the poppy for medical and scientific purposes. We set up an early warning system for identifying new substances. The substances shall be included one by one. 276 new substances have been scheduled, and are now ready to be presented to the commission for scheduling. We are happy to share best practice. Colour coded prescription were introduced in 1985 to show which medicine contain controlled substances and which contain psychotropic substances. We use information system provided by INCB and we encourage all MS to use these to facilitate a rapid and effective information sharing process.

Russia: We are working to improve access to narcotics for medical purposes and ensuring they are not diverted for abuse and illegal sale. We’ve set new rules allowing organisations in rural areas to be authorised to give medicine to patients. We will introduce an E-prescription to streamline the process. We accept a wide range of medicines which are on our registries. In order to improve doctor knowledge on medicines we have seminars and sessions to address the use of medicine for pain relief. We also have call centres to answer questions. We also have patient schools. In 2018 the government adopted a new measure to provide financial assistance for patients.

Belgium: Allowing access to medicines is one of the special development goals as well as good quality medicine. Lower quality medicines harm public health and health systems. We have recently subscribed to maintain quality of medicines. A lack of availability leads to unnecessary suffering.

US: A challenge we are facing is the proliferation of NPS and synthetic opioids. We are not keeping pace with this problem. We must work together at the national and international levels. We can strengthen the WHO. To support scientific reviews we encourage reporting to early warning systems. WHO needs this information to conduct reviews for international control. US expert practitioners rely on SMART for capacity building and investigate NPS. This facilitates more cooperation to dismantle the networks creating these substances. We applaud the INCB to curb illicit manufacture of fentanyl. Its fast actions demonstrate the treaties to provide mechanisms for protecting people. We still have work to do to counter the world drug problem. We rely in information from other member states regarding fentanyl. We urge member states to use these tools to dismantle criminal organisation. We believe no one should suffer preventable pain. Our strategy calls for a balanced approach.

Australia: We appreciate the comments on the panel. We have been pleased to support the work of the global programme. We are committed to the treaties. They cannot be interpreted in ways that restrict access to medicines.

International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care: As an NGO we provide technical assistance to align our advocacy with the UN. Providing access to global morphine would cost less than how much the US spends on drug control. We hold workshops in countries to show the normative and legal frameworks of access to pain relief. They develop implementation plans. The Holy see support the availability of medicines for palliative care. We would like to thank member states.

5E

Paraguay: Our drug problem is part of the global drug problem with negative impacts on individuals, including health and development. In 2015 1/20 people had consumed at least one drug and 1/10 suffered drug use problems. Drugs express gender inequalities, men consume more drugs but women experience more negative impacts of use such as violence. Drug abuse is a complex disease that is treatable. Crack is causing the most damage to our country. 1/100 students have tried crack at least once in the last year. The average starting age is 13. At age 14 consumption is nearly 1%. Increase is supply and facility of access means crack has overtaken inhalable substances. Crack generates the most damage. This situation could change with the introduction of new substances. There is agreement that drug use is changing, and this has a negative impact on people’s health. this information is key to focusing primary prevention at an early. As well as trying to detect drug use at an earlier age. We must consider that drug abuse could lead to being expelled from education. We need timely interventions there. We have adhered to the responses of the international drug problem. in many communities impacted by drugs trafficking we have undertaken work with NGOs to increase the capacities of the local populations. We cannot design a policy without taking into account the SDGs. We must make a long term plan for factors related to drugs such as unemployment. We must foster inclusive economic growth leading to the eradication of poverty. We have to consider the impact on the environment of illicit crops.

Iraq: There are continued challenges, but the conventions provide enough flexibility for member states to adapt them for their needs. We continue to work with INCB in identifying precursor chemicals inducing ephedrine and pseudoephedrine. We have formulated criteria for prescribing medicines to prevent their misuse.

Brazil: We refer to item 5 as a whole, not just 5d. We would like to highlight the updating of our legislation mainly to keeping up with NPS in line with the UNGASS document. We are adopting generic scheduling of substances. We have already begun scheduling synthetic cannabinoids. We use a working group to make proposals which influences our governments decisions. We are pleased to announce that in 2018 our regulatory body will be using the INCB system. We are collaborating with UNODC in arranging a meeting with UNODC on NPS in our region, and invite the western hemisphere countries to nominate their experts to attend.

Serbia: We already had 10 of those substances from this morning controlled in our country. I am proud to say our partners in the early warning system is very good. In 2016/17 we provided a lot of activities for early warning system, including seminars, and we regularly receive information from customs. We provide education in schools, hospitals and policy administrations. We had a request from Argentina to include 3 new precursors and we will comply.

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