Plenary – Item 5. Implementation of the international drug control treaties (continued)

Chair: Good Morning Delegates. We will resume on item 5 (a)

Secretariat: documents have been prepared under 5(a).. available now on commission’s website

Chair: Proceed to WHO scheduling recommendations on substances under 1961 and 1971 Convention communicated after 63rd meeting of Expert Committee on Drug Dependence. We will now vote on isotonitazene to add to schedule I of 1961 convention. See structure on screen. Invite WHO to propose recommendation.

WHO: Details of recommendation and rationale is available also on WHO website. Isotonitaze synthetic opioid closely related to two compounds already controlled under 61. Opioid antagonist, analgesia, greater than orphine. Highly likely to abuse and produce addiction similar to other opioid. Potential to cause death through respiratory collapse. Detected in seizures in several regions. Has no therapeutic use. Produces ill effects similar to other opioid in Schedule I, Expert Group thus also recommended isotonitazene be added to Schedule I of 1961 Convention.

Chair: Calling on Member States in favor to raise their country plates. until their name is called. […] Members of the commission not in support: [no one]. Members abstention: Ecuador. There is 44 in favor, 0 against, 1 abstention. Declare the Committion decided to include isotonitazine to Schedule I of 1961 Convention.

Chair: Moving on to cumyl-pegaclone to be added to Schedule II of 1971 Convention. Invite Mr Gilbert of WHO to present recommendations.

WHO: Cumyl-pegaclone is a synthetic cannabinoid used by vaping. It affects the nervous system similar to other compounds in Schedule II. Has the potential to produce dependence. Associated with euphoria, diasscoation and adverse eeffecs like seizure and death. Reported in different regions. No therapeutic use. Because of similarity, WHO recommended it be place in Schedule II of 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances.

Chair: Commission invited to take a vote on recommendation to add cumyl-pegaclone. 2/3rds majority of Commission is required, affirmative vote of at least 36. Calling for in favor. Calling for objection. Calling for abstention. There is a total of 47 in favor. I declare Commission decided to include cumyl-pegaclone in 1971 COnvention. Moving on. MDMB-4er-PINACA  to be added to Schedule II of 1971 Convention.

WHO: MDMB-4er-PINACA is a synthetic cannabinoid found as powder and material for smoking. Affects central nervous system similar to other. Likely to be abused and produce dependence. Adverse effects reported include memory loss, confusion and agitation based on animal models. This is consistent with other synthetic cannabinoids in Schedule III. It has been linked to impaired driving and death. Reported in different regions, no therapeutic use.

Chair: 47 votes in favor, 0 against, 0 abstentions.  MDMB-4er-PINACA included in Schedule II of 1971 Convention. Moving on, 3-methoxyphencyclidine, to be placed in Schedule II of 1971 Convention.

WHO: 3-methoxyphencyclidine is a derivate of phencyclidine (PCP) which is in Schedule II of 1971. Found as powder and tablets. Mechanism produces hallucinations, confusion, out of body experiences. It is likely to be abused. Associated with adverse effects such as psychosis, seizures. Fatal intoxication has been reported, mass overdose events linked to its use. Reported in several regions. No therapeutic use. Potential for similar abuse and production of similar ill-effects, recommended to include under Schedule II of 1971.

Chair: 46 in favor, 0 against, 1 abstention. Added to Schedule II of 1971.Moving on, diphenidine to be placed in Schedule II of 1971.

WHO: Diphenidine is a dissociative and hallucinogenic detected as powder and tablets. Similar to PCP in Schedule II of 1971. Based on this, it is likely to be abused. Has a cocaine-like mechanism of action that may contribute to risk of dependence. Intoxication requiring hospitalization reported; adverse affects include cardiovascular and central nervous system, hallucination, confusion. Seizerues reported. No therapeutic use. Because of similarity to PCP, recommend to add to Schedule II of 1971 Convention.

Chair: 46 in favor, 0 against, 1 abstention (Ecuador). Added to Schedule II of 1971. Moving on, including clonazolam in Schedule IV of 1971 Convention.

WHO: Clonazolam is benzodiazepine with structure and effects similar to others in Schedule IV. Found in tablets, powder and liquid, mainly used orally. Classic benzodiazepine effects such as sedation and muscle relaxation. Adverse effects: loss of speech and motor control, amnesia. Indicated potential for dependence and abuse. Has been lined to fatal and non-fatal intoxication, confusion, impaired driving. Risk combined with opioids on repiratory effects. Sold as falsified pharmaceutical benzodiazepine. No therapeutic use. Similar ill effect to other benzos in Schedule IV of 1971.

Chair: Ecuador abstains. 46 in favor, 0 against, 1 abstention. Clonazolam added to Schedule IV of 1971 Convention. Moving on, diclazepam to be placed in Schedule IV of 1971 Convention.

WHO: Diclazepam is is benzodiazepine with structure and effects similar to diazepam in Schedule IV. Found in tablets, pellets and liquid, mainly used orally. Classic benzodiazepine effects such as sedation and muscle relaxation.  Indicated potential for dependence and abuse. Metabolite of pharmaceuticals included in Schedule IV. Implicated in impaired driving, drug-facilitated sexual assault. Risk combined with opioids on repiratory effects. Sold as falsified pharmaceutical benzodiazepine. No therapeutic use. Similar ill effect to other benzos in Schedule IV of 1971.

Chair: Ecuador abstains. 46 in favor, 0 against, 1 abstention. Diclazepam added to Schedule IV of 1971 Convention. Moving on, flubromazolam to Schedule IV of 1971 Convention

WHO: Flubromazolam is a highly potent benzidazepine with structure and effects similar to alprazolam in Schedule IV. Found in tablet and liquid, used orally. Classic benzodiazepine effects such as sedation and muscle relaxation.  Indicated potential for dependence and abuse. Implicated in impaired driving, fatal and non-fatal intoxication, pronounced sedation. Seizures reported from multiple countries. Sold as falsified pharmaceutical benzodiazepine. No therapeutic use. Similar ill effect to other benzos in Schedule IV of 1971.

Chair: Ecuador abstains. 46 in favor, 0 against, 1 abstention. Flubromazolam added to Schedule IV of 1971 Convention.

China: (Statement about scheduling benzodiazepines and NPS and against cannabis legalisation).

Kenya: We acknowledge the mandate of the WHO as the only treaty body to carry scientific and medical assessment of substances. We appreciate their work evaluating the impact of psychoactive substances on health and considering their medical applications. This evaluation is done considering the utmost wellbeing of people. We supported the WHO proposals on the eight substances discussed. We have not recorded medical use of any of the 8 substances. While I still have the floor, I wish to ask WHO to consider further evaluations of tramadol, which is under misuse, and it’s on the rise. Controlling tramadol is critical in addressing public health concerns in developing countries.

Indonesia: We take note the decision on changing the scope of substances. Our government will assess its impact on our national health systems. We have analysed the recommendations by WHO and found the following: these substances are not found in pharmaceutical medicines without distribution permits. Substances in pharmaceutical preparations have met the standard for efficacy and benefit. The substances are produced by people who have expertise and authorities to carry out pharmaceutical practice. Thank you.

South Africa: We are guided by the principle of scientific and evidence based scheduling of substances. We are guided also by national and international instruments on the matter. We commend WHO for providing member states for their assessment assisting member states in countering the world drug problem. These recommendations are an important guide on scheduling at the domestic level. This is why we have aligned our schedules in relation to the vote on cannabis at the Reconvened. We embraced regulating access to cannabis and cannabis by separating CBD and delta-9-THC. We have adapted by removing cannabis from schedule of substances without therapeutic use. The Constitutional Court found aspects of our legislation as unconstitutional as they prevented cultivation and use of cannabis by adults in private. The Court gave parliament 24 months for new legislation to correct laws. The Department of Justice has drafted new legislation in the form of the regulation cannabis bill, which will be subjected to consideration to give effect to Constitutional Court decision. In Conclusion, my government reaffirms commitment to international drug control system as foundation of policies. And assures the commission of intention to comply with international obligations.

Ecuador: I wanted to explain my delegation’s vote. An analysis of these substances in terms of toxicological harms and potential grave consequences for health are extremely relevant. But we need more scientific studies on the direct effect on health of these substances. The prevalence of their use, dependency and short and long term damage. Cases of use of synthetic cannabinoids and their impact on health and consequences on cardiovascular system are similar to those observed in other substances such as the MDMB4 and PINACA. This is why we referred to the WHO recommendation to include in 1971 convention. Thank you.

(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

Chair: We have not heard any interventions from member states after the floor was taken by INCB and WHO, so I give the floor to the European Union.

European Union: The following countries align Republic of North Macedonia, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia, Iceland, Norway, Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Georgia, San Marino and Turkey. NPS continue to represent a serious threat in particular considering potent opiates, synthetic cannabinoids and benzodiazepines. Potent synthetic opioids increasing in worrisome way. The use of NPS can become entrenched in populations in prison and homeless. The efforts by the international community in recent years have had some success, for instance, first fall of new NPS detection. The Early Warning Advisory has been helpful in this regard. Some policies aimed at reducing availability and NPS seems to have been successful. Including measures in source countries and reducing trafficking European markets. Frequency of appearance has reduced, contributed by early warning system. In Europe, as elsewhere, however, availability remains a concern. Priority of EU Strategy 2021-2025. EU and member states will tackle availability of NPS targeting high risk criminal networks, in particular production, trafficking and distribution, which is a dynamic crime area, with novelty in production methods, substances and suspects involved. Increased sophistication of business models, use of new precursors, and synthesis routs in response to efforts to curb production. I would turn your attention to precursors. IN pas statements the EU has spoken of unprecedented challenges of precursor control because of the use of designer precursors. In particular synthetic drug manufacture. Designer precursors are similar and purpose-made to circumvent controls. No legitimate use. At the end of last year, the EC concluded evaluation of drug precursors policy. Conclusion that additional actions are needed, particular for drug precursors. We fully support the Board’s call to all parties of the 1988 convention to establish legal basis for legal authorities to disrupt supply of these substances, without creating burden to legitimate instrument. The EU and the Board and the US are organising a dedicated side event on this at the margins of the CND 64. To conclude, the EU and member states believe we should all strengthen international, national, and regional action on tackling NPS and precursors. Appropriate measures in prevention and treatment models. And support scientific and objective assessments to schedule harmful substances.

Japan: We trust that decision and action to prevent manufacture, profiting and abuse of substances evolving globally will translate in prevention of use. Information sharing among member states concerning newly found NPS and precursors at national, regional, and international level is critical. Including measures against proliferation and diversion, research and data on toxicity and health effects, etc. IN this sense, the WHO assessments on NPS and precursors by INCB are important to help commission understand whether control is needed under conventions. Measures for detection, assessment, law enforcement activities, prevention of use, educational campaign and border control are also important. Sharing of data and expertise between member states should continue, as well as strengthening efforts in each country. We stress importance of information sharing between member states, INCB, UNDC and WHO and other related UN Agencies as well as the private sector.

United States: One of the greatest drug challenges we face as international community is the proliferation of NPS. On the 60th anniversary of the 1961 convention and 50th of the 1971 convention we acknowledge the progress we have made in addressing world drug problem under conventions. Conventions offer important tools for these challenges. To outpace these dynamic and ever evolving trends, we must take innovative action concerted, at national, regional and international level. US supports initiative between UNODC, who and INCB to develop innovative programme to address these threats. Support for OPIOID strategy on voluntary cooperation, supplementary models strengthen national capacity and train forensic and law enforcement officials. Our support for WHO helps international community address threat of synthetic drugs. We support INCB in curbing trafficking of synthetic opioids and other dangerous substances, dismantle criminal organisations of substances and precursors. We urge WHO and INCB to increase efforts to schedule substances. This can be contributed through strengthening exchange of information and data between member states. At national level, enforcement action where appropriate to implement scheduling efforts. Separately, we are particularly interested in INCB efforts to clarify how data on cannabis and cannabinoids should be reported and provide guidelines on import-export on cannabinoids. This process will offer greater clarity on trade of cannabis and cannabinoids, identifying and clarifying potentially ambiguous situations. We should remain focused on efforts to fulfil treaty obligations to ensure availability of substances for medical use. No one should suffer lack of availability of substances for pain and other medical purposes. We are troubled that reports by international scheduling introduces barriers in availability in some countries. The Treaties mandate that substances need to be available for medical and scientific purposes. We must increase awareness on implementation of control to avoid hindrances to medical use. We ask experts in WHO, INCB and UNDOC to help us better understand the source of the obstacles, so that we can develop interventions to address them.

Nigeria: We recognise the roles of CND, WHO, INCB in advising, recommending, and voting scheduling. International control exists to restrict diversion whilst ensuring access to medical use. Scheduling processes must be based on verifiable and comparable data. Illicit use of pharmaceutical substances, including tramadol, pose great risks to public health. Tramadol is one of the most trafficked narcotics in the African region, defying efforts at the national level. Yet WHO hasn’t recommended it. Recently launched drug use survey indicates tramadol is the second most used drugs. Seizures have revealed dangerous pattern where medical form is mostly trafficked. Ugly tend confirmed by World Drug Report and INCB annual report. Serious challenge needs to be treated seriously. WHO should move beyond surveillance in view of extent of problem, especially given linkages with organised crimes, including banditry and insurgency and terrorism. We encourage sharing data on harmful effects of non-medical uses of NPS, opiates and tramadol.

Switzerland: Challenges of emerging designer precursors and non-scheduled precursors. Usually, they have no legitimate use. Legitimate trade is very limited. As the main issues of these substances are: huge number of chemicals can replace controlled precursors, as soon as they become a controlled precursor, replaced by a non-scheduled one. Speed of innovation of traffickers. These designer precursors tend to have no legitimate trade. As one step, we have implemented scheduling model for these chemicals having limited legitimate use. We schedule groups of chemicals, such as esters; we apply reduced controlled measures to avoid excessive administration. Allows to deal with them as required – Legal action in cases of illegal settings. We don’t monitor legitimate trade, which is of no help. To address global issue, global basis to seize these chemicals is required. We appreciate the work of INCB, including the Conference Room paper submitted last year. This paper provides in depth analysis and describes several potential options to deal with this potential issue. Excellent point to start discussions. Options available must be discussed internationally.

Algeria: (technical difficulties)

Australia: Concerned about challenges of synthetic drugs, such as NPS, which are a serious threat to public health and safety. The international community is also confronted by an increasing number of drug-related considerations, including designer precursors. Synth drugs are associated with significant harms that are disproportionate to other illicit drugs. We seek balanced approach in managing methamphetamine challenges (health, social and law enforcement approach). Controls on importation of NPS on their basis of appearance and effects, to seize substances reasonably suspected of being NPS. Importer must demonstrate whether it’s legitimate. Failing means 5 years in prison. We welcome SMART update by UNODC, identifying adoption of legislation of this kind of control. We also fund research organisations to deliver innovative, high quality research on methamphetamine and aligned with our three pillars: harm, supply and demand reduction. We support UNODC’s global SMART programme, including through 300,000 dollars.

India: The proliferation of NPS and designer precursors is a continued vexatious problem to prevent trafficking and drug abuse, and its impact on human health. We are aware of the challenges, especially as a main producer of chemicals. India lent support to international efforts to give international basis to address these challenges at latest celebration of 1988 convention. Manufacturing synthetic drugs needs chemicals, some have no legitimate use. Information about attempts to manufacture those are likely to be delayed. Early warning system is needed. Including involving unsuspecting traders. Need for rapid information exchange among countries about the emergence of substances like this. INCB platforms and tools are extremely important resources in this regard.

Sudan: (technical difficulties)

Indonesia: As part of our commitment in the Political Declaration and Plan of Action of 2009, and the three international drug control conventions, Indonesia monitors, analyses, and shares information on drugs and harmful substances, including NPS. In this regard, we routinely participate in various reporting mechanisms, such as the ARQ, global SMART, drug abuse information network in the Asia Pacific region. We established National Committee to change schedule of substances; it conducts studies on NPS. As many as 140 NPS have been registered and designated as narcotics and psychotropic drugs. Challenges: need for correct identification method, lack of capacity in forensic and toxicology and lack of available data. To this end, we call for continued studies and capacity-building in the identification of NPS, as needed and appropriate.

Mexico: We recognise the world drug problem as a global one. Mexican government gives importance to strengthen research, analysis capacity to ensure more institutional development. For Mexico, we need a balance in drug policies. Among others, pay attention of new realities and dynamics, including the scheduling of precursors in a way to get better results. Mexico’s government stands ready to support CND in strengthening international framework in this regard. We support the work of INCB in addressing precursors. In some cases, implementing national policies to address precursors, programmes for non-regulated substances, working with the chemical industry. (Sound is sub-standard, says interpreter). In coming days, our national commission will review 3 other precursors. We have seen an increase in NPS in clandestine laboratories. Substances with no control. National tools not keeping up with diversification of substances. Need to exchange best practices. Exploration and adoption of international measures to facilitate the exchange of information and international cooperation. Mexican government encourages CND to continue to work on this.

Algeria: (technical difficulties)

Sudan: The world drug problem remains a prominent threat to peace and security of humanity. Preoccupation that weighs on communities, families and countries. Primarily impact on youth, the hope of our countries. We must respond continuously to this scourge in adequate and proportionate ways. We reiterate the commitment of Sudan to the frameworks of the three Conventions, and the Political Declaration 2009, Joint Ministerial Statement of 2014. The cornerstones of our work. These frameworks are also a practical framework based on common and shared responsibility. UNGASS 2016 resolution too. We renew our commitment to implementing the three conventions. Embodied in the applicable law in Sudan. Our National Council designs medical prescription, prints them and provides this to medical centres. We have already started issuing permits to purchase and deal in drugs electronically, which is an additional tool to control this trade. We commend the role of INCB in monitoring and controlling aspects of drugs and narcotic substances, making sure that medical and scientific information is available, including during the pandemic. Full support of recommendations of group of experts that met last March, of which we were part of. We are worried about the spread of drugs unscheduled in the youth and students. Dangers of abuse of substances like tramadol and pregabalin, dangerous and warrant scheduling under Conventions of 1961 and 1971. Without scheduling, diversion and illicit use. Tramadol is a substance contains precursors that have been scheduled. UNODC should gather statistical information through country offices and Member States on pharmaceutical substances that need to be scheduled. We also think we need to gather data and information on scheduling precursors. It is noteworthy we have not seen usually seen substances removed from schedules, which means we need to consult and gather information of cannabis, which entails negative impacts. Sudan looks forward to closer cooperation with UNODC in different fields, especially in terms of control of drugs.

Algeria: The illicit drug trafficking is a major problem for all countries. Not only because of effect of public health and young people, but also links with other transnational organised crime: terrorism and arms trafficking. To address this scourge effectively, we are based on the three international conventions, and control and implementation mechanisms. The adoption of the 6 recommendations of WHO on reclassifying cannabis and related substances confirmed that this substance is a source of concern to many countries. The adoption of 1 of the 6 recommendations, voted with a margin of 1 vote, on the removal of cannabis from Schedule IV, wasn’t necessary. Based on the data gathered from the ground, we can see that cannabis is one of the most widespread drugs, confirmed by UNODC World Drug Report. Cannabis brings the greatest number of people into contact with criminal justice system. For all of these reasons, we express our fears about the adoption of recommendation 5.1. We will continue to have strict control of cannabis and related substances in accordance with article 39 of the conventions. We carried out a study that revealed that hashish, or cannabis resin, is one of the most widespread forms of cannabis; mostly coming from neighbouring countries. Analysing the samples of hashish, and combined with other reports from outside Algeria, (sound quality is atrocious, says interpreter). Cannabis has changed greatly because of the introduction of new hybrids, which has changed levels of THC. Seizures of hashish in Algeria that have THC content of 49%. This is not a ‘soft’ drug. Scientific studies confirm this kind of hashish is dangerous and a ‘classical hard drug’ like cocaine. Cannabis and derivatives are a major risk to the public health of our people. We don’t support relaxation of regime of cannabis control. Increase in seizures. 50 tons in 2019. Even more in 2020. More cannabis trafficked into Algeria, from west and southwest of country. Algeria reiterates commitment to counter world drug problem, stepping up actions domestically. This strategy brings together ministries and authorities: law enforcement strengthening, prevention policies, treatment for users.

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