8 June 2023
NEW YORK/VIENNA, 8 June (UN Information Service) – The President of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), Professor Jallal Toufiq, presented the Board’s 2022 reports to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) on Wednesday at United Nations Headquarters in New York.
At ECOSOC’s Management Segment meeting, Professor Toufiq presented the Board’s 2022 annual report, precursors report and supplementary report, “No Patient Left Behind: Progress in Ensuring Adequate Access to Internationally Controlled Substances for Medical and Scientific Purposes”.
The INCB annual report reviews the functioning of the international drug control system and highlights critical developments in the area of drug control. The INCB President, in referring to the thematic chapter of the report, noted that the trend in a small number of countries to legalize cannabis goes against the drug control conventions, which require that countries limit the use of internationally controlled drugs to medical and scientific purposes. He raised the Board’s concern about the public health threat posed by legalization of cannabis, which is controlled under the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs as a substance that is highly addictive and liable to abuse. The public health threat is further exacerbated by the high potency of cannabis products, such as concentrates and edibles, and the packaging of these products in ways that appeal to children.
The INCB President also highlighted the surge in illicit coca bush cultivation and cocaine production and trafficking, which has led to increased availability and use of cocaine of a higher purity. INCB is working with governments to prevent the trafficking of chemicals used in the illicit manufacture of cocaine and other drugs.
The attention of the Council was drawn to the worsening opioid overdose crisis in North America, and the expansion of trafficking in fentanyl and other non-medical synthetic opioids to other regions, such as Oceania. The INCB GRIDS (Global Rapid Interdiction of Dangerous Substances) Programme is supporting governments in disrupting trafficking in these highly potent substances.
Presenting the supplementary report to the Council, the INCB President noted that some progress has been made in addressing inequities in availability of internationally controlled narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for medical and scientific purposes. Yet much more remains to be done, as most of the world population still has limited or no access to these substances, which are essential for anaesthesia, palliative care, pain management and for the treatment of mental health and neurologic conditions and opioid use disorder. It was also noted that in some countries excessive availability and over-prescription have contributed to an epidemic of drug use disorder and overdose.
The 2022 INCB reports set out recommendations for governments and international and regional organizations to improve the implementation of the three international drug control conventions and progress on the Sustainable Development Goals, especially SDG 3 on health and well-being and SDG 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions.
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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