For information only - not an official document

16 November 2018

International Narcotics Control Board concludes its 123 rd session with treaty compliance and health and well-being at the core of deliberations

VIENNA, 16 November 2018 (UN Information Service) - The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) concluded today its 123rd session in Vienna. In closing the session, the INCB President, Dr. Viroj Sumyai, recognized once again the importance of compliance by countries with the three international drug control treaties to ensure the health and well-being of their people, and emphasized the importance of cooperation at all levels. 

Over the past three weeks, the Board addressed diverse challenges at the core of the world drug problem. The Board devoted a significant amount of time to consider the matter of treaty implementation, in particular with respect to recent developments concerning the legalization of cannabis for non-medical and non-scientific purposes. The Board reiterated that the drug control treaties limit the use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances exclusively to medical and scientific purposes, and highlighted the serious consequences that non-compliance can have on public health, especially among vulnerable groups.

The Board also gave significant attention to the opioid overdose crisis in North America, and the potential opioid abuse problems in other parts of the world. The Board, and its Standing Committee on Estimates, reviewed the availability of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for medical purposes in different countries. In this context, the Board finalized a special report on the matter to be published in early 2019 as a supplement to its Annual Report for 2018.

The Board finalized during the session its 2018 Annual Report, dedicating a thematic chapter to the use of cannabis and cannabinoids for medical, scientific and "recreational" purposes, and approved its report on precursors and its technical publications on narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. The 2018 Annual Report, its supplement on availability and the report on precursors will be launched worldwide in March 2019.

During the session, the Board also focused its attention on the findings of its recent country missions and agreed on recommendations to be made to the respective Governments on improving their national drug control systems.

This session also marked the 50 th anniversary of INCB. On this occasion, INCB invited Member States to discuss the international drug control system, challenges and the way forward. The Board reiterated its commitment to continuous cooperation with Member States, as well as international organizations and civil society.

On the margins of the session, the INCB President addressed the fifth intersessional meeting of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, where he emphasized that the fundamental objective of the drug control treaties is to safeguard "the health and welfare of humankind by ensuring the availability of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for medical and scientific use, preventing drug abuse and providing treatment for those affected by drug use, as well as address the diversion of controlled substances and precursors chemical to illicit activities".

The Board met with the Chair of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs as part of ongoing cooperation and in preparation for the ministerial segment of the sixty-second session of the Commission to be held in March 2019. In line with the Joint Statement of INCB, UNODC and WHO in Implementation of the UNGASS 2016 Recommendations , and in the spirit of ongoing cooperation, the Board held consultations with officials from the World Health Organizations (WHO), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), as well as the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). The discussions focused on cooperation among the agencies within their respective mandates to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly relating to health and well-being.

The Board will continue its work in February 2019.


The Vienna-based International Narcotics Control Board is an independent body, formed in 1968 pursuant to the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and mandated to monitor and support governments' compliance with the three international drug control treaties. Its 13 members are elected by the Economic and Social Council to serve in their individual capacities for a term of five years. The 123 rd session of the Board takes place from 30 October - 16 November 2018.

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INCB Secretariat
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