For information only - not an official document

18 March 2019

INCB President presents key reports and recommendations to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs

VIENNA, 18 March 2019 (UN Information Service) - The President of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) presented the body's 2018 Annual Report, Availability Supplement and Precursors Report to the 62nd session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, which is being held in Vienna from 14 to 22 March.

Addressing the Commission under an agenda item on the work of the Board, the INCB President, Dr. Viroj Sumyai, drew attention to the deteriorating drug control situation in Afghanistan. INCB has invoked article 14 bis of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, with the agreement of the Government of Afghanistan, as a serious call to the relevant United Nations bodies and agencies to provide further assistance to address the drug control situation in the country. Dr. Sumyai cautioned: "Unless local, national, regional and international efforts to address those challenges are effectively pursued, poverty, insurgency, terrorism and obstacles to development are likely to remain unaddressed."

The INCB President set out the key conclusions and recommendations of the thematic first chapter of the 2018 Annual Report, on Cannabis and cannabinoids for medical, scientific and "recreational" use: risks and benefits. Dr. Sumyai emphasized that the use of controlled substances, including cannabis, is limited by the conventions exclusively to medical and scientific purposes.

The INCB President also addressed the Commission on international cooperation to ensure the availability of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for medical and scientific purposes while preventing their diversion. The global disparity in availability of controlled medicines was confirmed by the findings of an INCB survey and data reported to INCB, as set out in the 2018 INCB Supplement on Availability, " Progress in ensuring adequate access to internationally controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes". Dr. Sumyai welcomed the clear indications of progress being made in the short time that has passed since recommendations on ensuring availability and access were made at the 2016 special session of the General Assembly on the world drug problem. He stressed that "Governments are committed to realizing the goal of ensuring adequate availability of and access to internationally controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes. That goal is at the heart of the international drug control conventions, is key to achieving sustainable development goal 3 on health and well-being, and should also be at the heart of national drug control policy and practice."

Dr. Sumyai reported on action being taken by the Board to support Member States in ensuring availability while preventing diversion and abuse, including the INCB Learning Project and efforts to improve use by national authorities of the electronic Import and Export Authorization System (I2ES).

The President of INCB also spoke under an agenda item on Challenges and future work of the Commission and the World Health Organization in the review of substances for possible scheduling recommendations. INCB has called for an international policy discussion on possible ways to address the challenge posed by "designer" precursors and new psychoactive substances, and to prevent these potentially harmful substances from reaching people. Dr. Sumyai emphasized that efforts should be focused on enabling authorities worldwide to disrupt the supply of designer precursors to illicit manufacturers without adding to the regulatory burden.


INCB is the independent, quasi-judicial body charged with promoting and monitoring Government compliance with the three international drug control conventions: the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. Established by the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961, the thirteen members of the Board are elected in a personal capacity by the Economic and Social Council for terms of five years.

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