For information only - not an official document

12 March 2018


Joint Statement of INCB, UNODC and WHO in Implementation of the UNGASS 2016 Recommendations

61st session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs

1.   We, the Heads of the International Narcotics Control Board, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the World Health Organization are committed to support our Member States to effectively address and counter the world drug problem.

We agree that if we are to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, including its health targets, we need to vigorously address the world drug problem with a greater focus on the health and well-being of people. We need a balanced, comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach that puts people at the centre of the response and in particular those who are the most vulnerable.

This is in line with the objectives of the three international drug control conventions, to which we are committed. This is also aimed at facilitating implementation of the outcome document of the 30 th Special Session of the General Assembly, entitled "Our joint commitment to effectively addressing and countering the world drug problem". It is also consistent with the aim to achieve universal health coverage, where all people receive the health services they need, including people who use drugs and their families.

Our three entities complement one another, given the different roles they play and the mandates entrusted to them. By working together, we can "deliver as one" to serve people, communities and countries as a whole. We are committed to strengthen this collaboration, to advocate and to promote quality programmes and policies that improve public health and support high-impact actions that leave no one behind, are driven by science, and champion equity and human rights.

We recognize the challenges that lie ahead, but also the opportunities that we should embrace. We reaffirm our support for the full implementation of the outcome document of UNGASS 2016 and we also recognize that the world is a rapidly changing place and that urgent action is required to address emerging threats.

We will focus our joint efforts on addressing the following priorities:

- improving equitable access to controlled medicines in particular for the management of pain and for palliative care;

- scaling up effective prevention of non-medical drug use, and treatment services and interventions for drug use disorders;

- confronting the 'opioid crisis' that is devastating so many communities;

- intensifying delivery to people who use drugs of a comprehensive set of effective and scientific evidence-based measures aimed at minimizing the adverse public health and social consequences of drug abuse laid out in the technical guide issued by WHO, UNODC and UNAIDS 1, towards eliminating AIDS, tuberculosis and viral hepatitis epidemics;

- tackling the increasing challenges of new psychoactive substances for drug control and health services.

2.   We therefore will work to proactively support countries:

- to implement public health and social welfare measures as key elements of our response to the world drug problem;

- to enhance information-sharing and early warning mechanisms in support of a scientific evidence-based review of the most prevalent, persistent and harmful new psychoactive substances and precursors to facilitate informed scheduling decisions by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs;

- to ensure and improve access to and quality of:

 - to help monitor the progress in addressing the world drug problem and implementation of the UNGASS 2016 operational recommendations.

3.   We stress the importance of Member States taking action to:

- strengthen their public health systems and their national coordination efforts to address the drug problem and dedicate appropriate resources and capacity for the successful implementation of their comprehensive drug-related policies;

- advance universal health coverage efforts, by taking action to improve access to controlled medicines and effective and ethical prevention of drug use, and treatment services for people with drug use disorders and associated health conditions, including HIV, viral hepatitis and tuberculosis;

- facilitate information exchange and share the relevant data and information with our three entities to enable us to perform our respective treaty-based core functions; and

- enhance political support and adequate resources to enable our three entities to deliver on these commitments and advance the achievement of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Dr. Viroj Sumyai
International Narcotics Control Board

             Mr. Yury Fedotov
             Executive Director
             United Nations Office
             on Drugs and Crime

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
Director General
World Health Organization




1 Technical guide for countries to set targets for universal access to HIV prevention, treatment and care for injecting drug users, issues by the World Health Organization, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS.