Mandate and functions

The Commission reviews and analyses the global drug control situation, considering the interrelated issues of prevention of drug abuse, rehabilitation of drug users and supply and trafficking in illicit drugs. It takes action through resolutions and decisions.

Functional commission of the Economic and Social Council

It was established by the Economic and Social Council as one of its functional commissions on 16 February 1946 ( resolution 9(I)). The Commission assists the Council in supervising the application of the international drug control treaties. It also advises the Council on all matters pertaining to the control of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors.

Normative functions

The Commission on Narcotic Drugs has important normative functions under the international drug control conventions. It is inter alia authorized to consider all matters pertaining to the aims of the Conventions and see to their implementation. As a treaty organ under the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961 and the Convention on Psychotropic Substances, 1971, the Commission decides, on the basis of recommendations by the World Health Organization (WHO), to place narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances under international control. Pursuant to the Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances 1988, the Commission decides, upon the recommendation of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), to place precursor chemicals frequently used for the manufacture of illicit drugs under international control. The Commission may also decide to remove or modify international control measures over drugs, psychotropic substances or precursors.

For more information, please see: Fact sheet on scheduling procedures

Governing body of the UNODC drug programme

The mandates of the Commission were further expanded in 1991. The Commission functions as a governing body: It approves the budget of the Fund of the United Nations International Drug Control Programme, which is administered by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and finances measures to combat the world drug problem.

Monitoring political commitments on drug control

The Commission was also mandated to monitor the outcome of the 1998 Special Session of the General Assembly on countering the world drug problem, as well as the renewed commitments enshrined in the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action.