Plenary: Item 9. Implementation of the international drug control treaties

Chair: we will now reopen item number 9. Subitems B – E. commission invited WHO with support of UNODC to conduct regular reviews of scheduling.

Item 9B –

Laboratory and Scientific Section (UNODC): New psychoactive substances have been associated with harms to man, in particular to vulnerable populations. In 2008-19, 119 countries and territories reported 899 individual new psychoactive substances. Recently overall emergence of new psychoactive drugs has slowed; however, synthetic opioids and benzos have seen rapid proliferation, some substances have been implicated in opioid deaths. E.g. 62 analogs to opioids found in deaths – 110% increase in 10 years. In addition, prioritising most harmful of substances for international action is a widely pragmatic approach – we have the aim to find the most harmful psychoactive substances and act on them. The objective is to disseminate information on the effect of new psychoactive substances in a timely manner.

Chair: Opens floor for WHO

WHO: Half a million people die from psychoactive drug overdoses each year, with the majority being preventable. 1st global issue – emergence of new psychoactive drugs, nps have no therapeutic use, for most nps there is no scientific evidence available so do not meet the standards to be reviewed by WHO in order to increase info available we must facilitate the sharing of scientific information. 2nd issue – non medical use of synthetic opioids we recommend a number of synth opioids be placed into the highest schedule. A synthetic drug testing toolkit is currently being developed – we recommend tramadol not be scheduled yet and be put under surveillance,

3rd issue review of cannabis – further reviews will be undertaken, and other member states have expressed interest in holding a formal review of scheduling. WHO is prepared to hold sessions with experts from member states to get clarification on scheduling. We are committed to intensifying the review of harmful nps.

INCB: The Board welcomes the opportunity to speak under this agenda item. There has been a lot of focus on the challenges to the scheduling process under the 1961 Convention, especially because of the rapid proliferation of NPS and the data limitations; however, the Board has repeatedly drawn attention to similar challenges related to the 1988 convention and chemicals used in the illicit manufacture of drugs, especially designer precursors. The Board has discussed this in its precursor report of 2018, to be presented under agenda item 9C. Major increases in the sophistication, diversification and scale of illicit drug manufacturing operations. All three chemicals now recommended for scheduling can be considered designer precursors; specifically made to circumvent control. Two of them are very closely related and have no known legitimate use; yet available in illicit markets. Substitutes that are chemically close are available already in the market. The new substitute chemicals are also purpose-made, because of the absence of legitimate use and trade, the chemicals do not lend themselves to monitoring under agreements on precursor control. The Board is of the view that effort should be on measures enabling authorities worldwide to disrupt the supply of designer precursors for illicit manufacture without having to go through the regulatory burden. One focus of future policy development should be to target characteristics of the product, like the lack of any legitimate use. Thus, INCB, invites you to share views on this issue during CND and consider the chemistry when deciding on scheduling.

European Union: Regarding precursor control. The importance of an effective and efficient drug control policy to reduce the supply of manufactured drugs is important. Important for plant-based drugs and not. Drug precursor control faces unprecedented challenges. Globalisation of chemical industry favours sourcing of chemicals from all over the planet. The global sales of chemicals has increased in 4.5 times in amount. And 10 times in value. This is not new, but we see that the variety and speed at which they’re introduced accelerates. The designer precursors have no known legal use (beyond limited use in laboratories). They’re created to circumvent controlled mechanisms and all actors in their supply are knowledgeable of this. The EU is particularly affected. Most ATS seizures relate to these. While the CND will consider scheduling APA, organised group have moved to successor substances, namely MAPA. We should be addressing tomorrow’s problems. We need to be realistic about the potential of scheduling substances. Organised groups can adapt quicker to policies and laws. Scheduling an ever-increasing number of precursors might undermine cooperation with the industry. E-commerce and the internet have also played in the hand of international crime groups. New paying methods make it impossible or extremely difficult to trace. Illegal production techniques have even a longer history. The situation has changed from 1980s. Therefore, the EU agrees with the Board’s assessment about a two-pronged approach: continue to implement existing legislation and mechanisms to avoid diversion of traditional drug precursors with known uses, and consider new approaches and instruments to address designer precursor challenges. The EU has implemented a catchall provision: when sufficient evidence on substance being used to produce illicit substances, can be prohibited at regional level. EU is carrying out detailed evaluation on how to improve legislation. Drug precursor diversion is a global phenomenon necessitating global action; so, we support the Board in asking for a legal basis to disrupt the supply of these substances in a more efficient way. Road is long, challenges are important, but there’s no choice.

China: China takes note of WHO’s recommendation to keep tramadol under surveillance, and recommendation on cannabis. We attached great importance to adjustment recommendation of control on ECDD rec on cannabis. We hope that experts from all fields will be consulted to strengthen scientific evidence. We regret the recommendation that stops short of scheduling tramadol – it’s a synthetic opioid and we all know of the global trend of abuse. In Nth America it’s mainly fentanyls, in Africa its tramadol and ketamine. We believe strengthening international control and trafficking on tramadol and also allow access for med purposes is in line with our efforts. The point of scheduling is to do this. Morphine and benzodiaepiness have been scheduled, but their medical uses have not been affected. China is ready to join countries to share information on ketamine and urge international coordination on ketamine

Egypt: Scourge of drugs is major problem for Egypt. Our full solidarity for international coordination on this issue. Egypt was at forefront of seeing dangers of what drugs can represent. We will fulfil recommendations from 2009 and 2016. In recognition of the risk of danger this problem constitutes, we’ve drawn up a national strategy to counter supply and demand. It also aims to counter trade coming into Egypt and monitoring flow of precursors in line with INCB directions relevant to this aspect. We’ve developed toxicity laboratory to identify drugs in effort to counter NPS trafficking in Egypt. In order to strengthen international cooperation, we have signed many bilateral and multilateral agreements to bolster our collaboration with other countries, focus on capacity building and training. Countering money laundering, curtailing capacity to acquire such drugs. The second pillar, demand reduction – we have establish a national institute in 1986, mandated with establishing relevant strategies to reduce demand equally launched a department responsible for furtherance of cooperation. It organized awareness raising campaigns for students through seminar and films. Collab with public and private rehab services. Provide necessary treatment to all those who approach institutes. Drug problem is of universal dimensions. In 2018 at local and international levels, we collaborate with peer authorities in countering drug trafficking with other Arab countries. In 2018 we seized many substances, including tramadol. Anti narcotic authorities concerned with exponential use of tramadol traded from abroad. This cannot be easily treated – 25 mortality since 2018. Call upon international community to pose international control on shipments of tramadol. We are fully confident that current session will reach very effective conclusions.

Switzerland: Emerging challenges of non-scheduled precursors and pre-precursors. Usually have no legitimate use besides research. Large number of chemicals can replace controlled precursors. Non-scheduled replace scheduled. Main focus of international control regime is to manage trade and avoid diversion. Control regime is limited. Significant difficulties to prevent use of non-scheduled chemicals in illegal settings. Instead of individual substances, we started to schedule groups of substances. Apply reduced control to reduce unnecessary administration. Licence to deal with these substances. Sufficient to allow legal action for illegal actions. One national option, but there is a need to have a common framework to address this issue. We encourage governments to support a broader policy discussion about the options. Could be included under the present agenda item.

US: Greatest challenge we are facing is the rapid proliferation of synthetic drugs, including new psychoactive substances. We are not keeping pace with this problem and it is adversely affecting health and safety. National legislation, class wide scheduling, and expansion of ECDD are options to deal with this. Urge member states to provide information to online early warning system. Important avenues to provide data. Rely on these systems to facilitate real-time cooperation across law enforcement and obtain information on trends. Applaud work of the UNODC and INCB, including in global opioid strategies. Technical assistance programs provide critical tools. We should all avail ourselves of existing tools and work together to broaden control of these substances.

Chair: Opens floor to Mexico

Mexico: Mexico welcomes the WHO efforts, countries must provide more up to date info to the WHO. Repercussions of UNGASS 2016 should lead to better drug policies based around harm reduction and public health. to build upon findings of UNODC who UNDP and others we attach the upmost importance to findings of studies from WHO

Chair: Item 9C

President of INCB: the precursor report marked the 30th anniversary of 1988 conventions, people go without adequate treatment due to lack of access to drugs drug use prevention and treatment remains limited in many countries, where prevalence of opioiods is high the use of effective treatment is limited – poorly regulated medical cannabis programmes may increase harm to users and increase non-medical use especially amongst youth. Governments should be in control of medical use of cannabis, they must ensure adequate medical use and supervision. We note that smoking cannabis is not a medically accepted way of dosing due to health risks. we reiterate our call to deal with drug crime with human rights application and due process – we reinstate our view that capital punishment for drug offences should be abolished. We call on states to develop effective strategies in dealing with drug use and treatment, rehab, and reintegration, data shows increase in use of analgesics mainly in high income countries. Only 10% of available morphine was used for pain management – in our conclusion we urge govs to take further action including specially trained nurses to prescribe illicit substances – include palliative care in nursing training – prioritise public health concerns and ensure pharma provide affordable medicines.

To continue improving we urge govs to actively participate in INCB systems. Cooperation at all levels is key.

Call upon government to make sure laws fully comply with conventions and rule of law. I trust you will return to your capital with copy of INCB annual report and urge you to advocate for implementation of these recommendations. INCB work would not be possible without ongoing dialogue with governments. Your cooperation is key to achieving health and wellbeing and SDGs.

Chair: Session closed – next session starts at 3pm.

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