Plenary Item 5. Implementation of the international drug control treaties (a) Changes in the scope of control of substances (b) Challenges and future work of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, the World Health Organization and the International Narcotics Control Board in the review of substances for possible scheduling recommendations (c) International Narcotics Control Board (d) International cooperation to ensure the availability of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for medical and scientific purposes while preventing their diversion (e) Other matters arising from the international drug control treaties

Chair: A sub item was added to the provisional agenda for the 57th session of the Commission and it was then maintained on the agendas of the subsequent sessions in order to assist member states in applying the existing scheduling procedures contained in the three international drug control conventions, and the 2019 ministerial Declaration on strengthening our actions at the national, regional and international levels to accelerate the implementation of our joint commitments to address and counter the world drug problem. Member States committed to continuing to facilitate informative scheduling decisions on the most resistant prevalent and harmful substances, including synthetic drugs and new psychoactive substances precursors, chemicals and solvents, while ensuring the availability for medical and scientific purposes. And this subitem is expected to address the ongoing challenge in the identification and detection of new psychoactive substances. I also would like to record that in its resolution 63/1, CND expressed appreciation for the efforts of member states in addressing challenges posed by synthetic drugs, including the scheduling of substances by class at the national level. Further, the commission recognized in its resolution six degrees to the progress made by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in the collection of opposite logical and pharmacological data on new psychoactive substances to inform scientific evidence based responses, and drug policy decisions. I now would like to invite Mr Justice Tatay the chief of the laboratory and scientific section of UNODC to introduce the item.

UNODC: distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, the proliferation of new psychoactive substances in the last decade is market defining and challenging period for international drug control. In 2015, at least one new substance appeared on the global market, each week. At the start of this week over 1000 unique substances have been reported to UNODC by over 125 countries and territories worldwide. A number of these substances have been associated with adverse events such as fatalities, and emergency room admissions. The pragmatic and laudable vision of member states are recorded in the 2016 outcome document: to prioritize the most harmful prevalent and persistent substances for action. Our advosors continue to provide high quality and timely information to the World Health Organization in support of  these functions. It is also informing the responses of countries on a number of issues, such as options for national legislative responses. Significant progress has been made over the past few years to change the scope of control for some of the most harmful substances. The Commission will consider recommendations from WHO to place additional harmful substances under control.  This resulted in the scheduling of almost 68 new psychoactive substances and seven precursors, over the period 2015 to 2021, a significant 20% increase of all substances, under international control. Since the convention came into force in just sixty years, these measures contributed to a reduction in the presence of a number of these harmful substances and an overall stabilization of the rate of emergence of drug markets. However, significant challenges remain particular categories of substances such as synthetic opioids and benzodiazepines. I’ve seen rapid proliferation and the trend continues. This is because of the absence of necessary tools and guidelines, forensic capacity and legislative frameworks in a number of countries, but I’m sure the 2009 plan of action reminds us that the necessary first step to addressing the challenges of synthetic drugs, and then precursors, is an improvement of our understanding of the phenomenon, mobile monitoring of synthetic drug markets. We will continue the work of the Commission, and the review WHO recommended substances for possible scheduling, but to be able to translate early warning and scheduling decisions to carry action. The UNODC launched a dedicated website this year to host the United Nations toolkit on synthetic drugs under its opioid strategy. This is a collaborative program involving UNODC and our funding partners including the Postal Union. It currently offers solutions from any warning register control access to make sense to legislative measures to ensure a smooth continue from early warnings to any action. The year, tool is available in English, Russian and Spanish. It attracted users from over 155 countries. Translation will be conducted to Arabic, French and Spanish by the next regular session of the Commission to ensure worldwide availability and accessibility for the tools needed to address emergencies that attract rates. I thank you.

World Health Organization: 1961 Convention and 1971 Convention mandate WHO to undertake assessment of substances with potential for abuse. WHO provides CND with recommendations on international control. The first public health challenge to WHO is new synthethic opioids and benzodiazepines. Since 2014, WHO increased level of monitoring NPS use and paid attention to non-medical synthetic opioids, placing a lot of them under control. Lack of scientifically valid data limits NPS reviews. Early warning systems have been very important for generating reliable data, including ECDD, EMCDDA. Country focal points also contributed significantly. Second is increasing use of medicines for non-medical purposes. Diverted to non-medical use or medicines illicitly manufactured and trafficked to countries where they are not medically available. Used by people who also use illicit opioids. Ensure availability of medicines but also minimize problems associated with misuse. As concerns are raised by countries, WHO continues to carry out review. Degree and level of current control – is it consistent with scientific evidence and use patterns. Previously, cannabis. WHO will also consider some of the substances in schedule 3, taking into account risk and medical benefits.

INCB: Conference Room paper in March 2020. Options to address non-scheduled, incruding designer precursors. Was intended as a starting point to explore what could be done together to address these problem. [Guidance] on MAPA, a substitute chemical for several amphetamine and methamphetamine precursor became effective last year, many governments still fail. AAPA as an alternative. This continues trend of appreance and disappearence of chemically related precursors. Quantities seized of these decreased drastically after scheduling. New precursors similar in composition emerged. Now extends to all classes, such as fentanyl and also plant-based such as heroin or cocaine. Paragraph 2 of Article 12 of 1988. Substance by substance scheduling takes a lot of time, expensive, almost impossible to keep up with as traffickers continue to adapt. This remains only legally biding instrument on precursors[/]. Should a state party consider notifying the Board of new substances detected, the Board urges states to review and  identify chemical relatives of  the substance at the same time. Emergence of non-scheduled chemicals received different responses from different state, including placing them under control domestically. Board urges to share developments like this with the Board so it can be made available on annual report on control of precursors. Increasing emergence of New Psychoactive Substances belonging to the class of benzodiazepines, or designer benzodiazepines pose a considerable challenge. They have limited medical use but are potentially more harmful than existing medicines; their chemical and biological profile remains unknown, detecting and monitoring remains difficult. We need more data for a more rigorous base for a policy response. Regarding scheduling decisions of last year on cannabis, Board was pleased to address CND on control implications. Board remains committed to support member states with treaty compliance. Board is working with Member States engaged in cannabis cultivation for medical purposes to develop guidance. Thank you.

Secretariat: Plenary will start at noon Vienna time with voting on WHO recommendations as agreed in extended bureau meeting, Established practice to take up as first item. Voting can only happen in person

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