Economic and Social Council


805th Plenary Meeting
12 July 1954

1954/548(XVIII)D.Scientific research on opium*/


The Economic and Social Council,

Recalling its resolutions 159 IIC(VII) and 246 F(IX) setting up a United Nations programme for determining the origin of opium by chemical and physical means,

Noting that the report 59/ of the Committee of Chemical Experts appointed by the Secretary-General in pursuance of its resolution 477(XV), and in particular the differing recommendations and conclusions thereof, reflect a divergence of views, and considering that further experimentation may help to clarify the effectiveness of the methods for determining origin with a view to their general acceptance,

Taking into account the recommendations of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs furnished in response to the same resolution,

1. Thanks the Committee of Experts for its valuable assistance;

2. Thanks the governments that have participated in the programme both by furnishing opium samples and by nominating scientists to take part in this work;

3. Thanks the scientists nominated by governments and those of the Secretariat who have made contributions to this programme;

4. Thanks the Government of the United States of America for its generosity in making available the laboratory facilities which have been used by the Secretariat during the past several years;

5. Reaffirms the importance which it attaches to the United Nations programme of opium research designed to develop methods for determining the origin of opium in order to help suppress the illicit traffic;

6. Draws attention to the increased importance which this programme will have when 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 enters into force, especially in connexion with the implementation of article 6 of that instrument;

7. Expresses its satisfaction with the work that has been done in developing and testing new assay techniques and methods for determining the origin of opium;

8. Concludes that the best way of resolving the differing points of view expressed in the report of the Committee of Experts, and of obtaining the widest possible measure of agreement as to the methods for determining the origin of opium and their evaluation, is through the medium of further research, and, to this end:

9. Requests governments within whose territories opium is licitly produced to furnish the Secretariat with clearly-identified samples of opium from each of their producing districts for several successive harvests;

10. Requests governments within whose territories there is illicit production, notwithstanding their bona fide and effective efforts to suppress it, to furnish the Secretariat with clearly-identified samples of opium from each area where illicit poppy cultivation has been discovered, in so far as that may be possible;

11. Requests governments, in accordance with Council resolution 436 F(XIV), to furnish the Secretariat with samples of important opium seizures from the international illicit traffic;

12. Instructs the Secretary-General to address to governments specific requests for samples in adequate quantities, and to remind those governments which have yet to furnish samples to the Secretariat that samples of their opium are vital to the rapid and successful prosecution of this programme;

13. Instructs the Secretary-General further to develop, so far as possible, the opium research of the Secretariat, and, in particular, to increase the number of analyses, deferring for the time being other laboratory work except that having a direct connexion with the problem of determining origin;

14. Considers that it would be very useful to set up a United Nations narcotics laboratory;

15. Refers to the General Assembly, for consideration in connexion with its review of the Secretary-General's reorganization proposals, the question of the establishment of a United Nations narcotics laboratory;

16. Requests the Secretary-General to provide the General Assembly with all information relating to the establishment of such a laboratory, including comparative costs and advantages of locating the laboratory in New York or Geneva.

805th plenary meeting,
12 July 1954

59/ See document E/CN.7/278 and Corr. 1.

*/ Adopted as recommended by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in a draft resolution (E/2606-E/CN.7/283, annex A, para. 3), with minor amendments.