Economic and Social Council


805th Plenary Meeting
12 July 1954

1954/548(XVIII)B.International control of narcotics and implementation of the treaties*/



The Economic and Social Council,

Having regard to the increase in the illicit traffic in many regions of the world and to the importance of combating such traffic by all possible means, including effective surveillance of licit operations,

Having regard to the increase in the number of addicts in certain countries,

Considering that the application of the Conventions of 1925 and 1931 is capable of further improvement,

Calls upon governments to ensure close adherence to and strict compliance with the provisions of the Conventions of 1925 and 1931 relating to the control of production, manufacture, trade and distribution, and, in particular, to carry out promptly and fully their obligations as regards the furnishing of reports, statistics, estimates and otherwise to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, the Permanent Central Opium Board and the Supervisory Body.


The Economic and Social Council,

Considering the ever-increasing number of narcotic drugs and the numerous trade names under which they appear on the market,

Believing that the use of different trade names for the same narcotic drug creates difficult problems for national as well as international control organs,

Believing also that there is no objection to the use of such trade names by individual firms so long as uniform international non-proprietary names are simultaneously added for identification,

1. Notes with appreciation the work undertaken by the World Health Organization in the matter of selecting international non-proprietary names for narcotic drugs as well as for other drugs;

2. Expresses the view that, for the purpose of ensuring effective narcotics control, it is highly desirable that the existing complicated and slow procedure for the establishment of such names for newly-developed narcotics should be simplified and speeded up as much as possible.


The Economic and Social Council,

Recalling that one of the aims of the Protocol for Limiting and Regulating the Cultivation of the Poppy Plant, the Production of, International and Wholesale Trade in, and Use of Opium, of 23 June 1953, is to limit the production of opium throughout the world to medical and scientific needs,

Noting that in general no opium other than that produced in the seven countries named in article 6 of the Protocol may become the object of international trade,

Fearing that, if the production of opium is now begun in other countries which have not in recent years engaged in such production, the existing over-production will be seriously aggravated,

Urges the governments of all other countries in which there has been no production of opium in recent years to prohibit such production in the future.


The Economic and Social Council,

Having considered the report of the Permanent Central Opium Board,55/

Having noted in particular the statements contained there in to the effect that there are gaps in the statistics received from governments which detract from the efficacy of the control exercised by the Board,

Having regard to the additional work which will fall to the Board and the Supervisory Body as a result of the coming into force of the Opium Protocol of 1953,

1. Takes note with satisfaction of the report of the Permanent Central Opium Board;

2. Recommends that governments of countries producing opium indicate how they calculate the amount of their production, exports and stocks as regards the establishment of morphine content and, if possible, water content;

3. Calls upon all governments to transmit complete statistics to the Board regularly and promptly;

4. Notes with interest the action already taken in connexion with the remuneration of members and the strengthening of the staff of the Board and the Supervisory Body, and expresses the hope that this will be completed at an early date.


The Economic and Social Council,

Having regard to the statement entitled Estimated World Requirements of Narcotic Drugs in 195456/ issued by the Drug Supervisory Body,

Considering the statement contained therein that substantial over-estimates are being made, amounting, for instance, as regards the world totals for 1952, to 25 per cent for morphine, 27 per cent for codeine, 54 per cent for cocaine and 49 per cent for pethidine,

Having regard to the fact that the estimates required by the Convention of 1931 should represent as accurately as possible the needs of each country for the drugs concerned,

Having regard also to the statement in the report that many governments do not carry out fully their obligation under article 5 of the Convention of 1931 to explain the methods employed to calculate the quantities which figure in their estimates,

1. Reminds governments that they have no interest in over-estimating their needs, that excessive estimates do not necessarily increase the permitted maxima for manufacture since, in accordance with article 6 of the 1931 Convention, the maxima are (within the estimates) the total of the quantities needed for consumption, conversion, export and the maintenance of stocks at the desired level, and that, if this total exceeds the estimates, supplementary estimates may be made by the government under article 14;

2. Recommends governments to make sufficient but not excessive estimates, and to accompany them by explanations of the methods employed to calculate the quantities involved;

3. Draws the attention of governments also to the need for transmitting any supplementary estimates in sufficient time, and for using the appropriate methods for calculating the estimates for consumption and stocks as recommended by the Drug Supervisory Body.57/

805th plenary meeting,
12 July 1954

55/ See document E/OB/9 and Add. 1, United Nations publication, Sales No.: 1953.XI.10 and Addendum.

56/ See document E/DSB/11; United Nations publication, Sales No.: 1953.XI.9

57/ Ibid, Chapter VII.

*/ Adopted as recommended by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in a draft resolution (E/2606 - E/CN.7/283, annex A para. 1), with minor amendments.