Estimated world requirements of narcotic drugs in 1958

Abstract

In pursuance of the International Convention of 13 July 1931, the Drug Supervisory Body publishes an annual statement of estimated world requirements of narcotic drugs. This statement also includes estimates for the narcotic drugs brought under international control by virtue of the Protocol of 19 November 1948.

Details

Pages: 46 to 47
Creation Date: 1958/01/01

Estimated world requirements of narcotic drugs in 1958

In pursuance of the International Convention of 13 July 1931, the Drug Supervisory Body publishes an annual statement of estimated world requirements of narcotic drugs. This statement also includes estimates for the narcotic drugs brought under international control by virtue of the Protocol of 19 November 1948.

The Bulletin published, in volume VIII, No. 1, a table showing for the most important narcotic drugs what the world estimates had been from 1950 to 1956, together with the actual figures of production for these drugs from 1950 to 1954. In volume IX, No. 1, the Bulletin published a table showing the world estimates for the same drugs for 1957, together with the actual figures of production for them in 1955. The following table shows the world estimates for these drugs for 1958, together with the actual figures of production for them in 1956,1 the last year for which statistics have been published by the Board. The figures on production have been taken from the Report to the Economic and Social Council on the work of the Permanent Central Opium Board in 1957, and the figures on estimates as well as the comments have been taken from the document Estimated World Requirements of Narcotic Drugs in 1958 published by the Supervisory Body (document E/DSB/15, 15 December 1957).

Drug

Production in 1956 a (kg)

Estimated world requirements in 1958 (kg)

Morphine
87,419 110,408
Diacetylmorphine
60 98
Thebaine
2,810 3,233
Codeine
80,384 95,263
Ethylmorphine
5,489 7,674
Cocaine
1,683 2,224
Pethidine
14,505 16,034
Methadone
290 678

a Incomplete. Most but not all countries have furnished statistics.

In its introduction to its statement, the Supervisory Body studies the impact of new drugs on its work.

"The problem of the control of narcotic drugs, whether at the national or the international level, has widened considerably in the last decade, owing to the appearance of a number of new drugs, most of them synthetic ones. The ever-growing number of these substances did not fail to affect the Supervisory Body's work. Thus, the Statement of Estimates for 1954 contained estimates for 32 drugs (17 natural and 15 synthetic). By the time the present Statement was drawn up, this number had risen to 44 (20 natural and 24 synthetic).

1 See above, "Legal Trade in Narcotics in 1956 ".

"The Supervisory Body's task of examining estimates has to be performed all the year round. The original annual estimates are dealt with during a session, while most of the upplementary and revised estimates - and hardly a days goes by without some being received - are dealt with in the interval between sessions, through correspondence between the members of the Supervisory Body and the secretariat. For 1956, counting the estimates submitted for each separate drug, some 1,500 of them were dealt with during sessions, and some 800 by correspondence - i.e., more than twice the numbers recorded before the advent of synthetic drugs.

"As the number of narcotic drugs increased, this work could naturally have been expected to grow in volume. Yet it grew in complexity as well, owing to the fact that the chemical descriptions of the new drugs, and particularly the synthetics, are lengthy, complicated, and can be expressed in several different ways. The Supervisory Body, for obvious reasons, was reluctant to use trade names alone in its official documents and correspondence, so that until the World Health Organization had proposed international non-proprietary names for these drugs - hitherto a lengthy process - there was little choice but to quote their chemical descriptions."

The Supervisory Body then studies the relation between estimated and actual requirements.

"The aim of the 1931 Convention was to establish an efficient system, both national and international, for limiting the manufacture and regulating the distribution of narcotic drugs, the basis for such limitation and regulation being the world's legitimate requirements for medical and scientific purposes.* In its examination of the estimates furnished by governments, the Supervisory Body constantly referred to this criterion and took account of the statistical information received by the Permanent Central Opium Board on imports and exports, consumption, manufacture and stocks. In so doing, it has often noted that the estimates furnished by certain governments were considerably higher than the statistics for previous years seemed to warrant. The Supervisory Body has therefore found it necessary on several occasions to name the countries where this over-estimation was particularly large, and to explain that the submission of exaggerated estimates ran counter to the spirit of the 1931 Convention.

"The Supervisory Body notes with satisfaction that its earlier recommendations have been taken into account and that the tendency to over-estimate, although still marked in respect of certain drugs, is definitely receding as regards both the number of countries involved and the proportion in which their estimates proved higher than actual requirements."

* Preamble to the Convention of 13 July 1931.

Finally, from the estimates submitted from 1952 to 1957 the Supervisory Body concludes :

  1. the estimates of the following nine drugs, while fluctuating from year to year during the period under review, show on the whole a fairly stable trend :

    Morphine Thebacon Ethylmorphine

    Oxycodone Thebaine Pholcodine

    Hydrocodone Codeine Methadone

  2. the figures for hydromorphone and pethidine decreased between 1952 and 1956, a trend which ceased with the estimates for 1957;

  3. the figures for dihydrocodeine show an unmistakable upward trend;

  4. for the other drugs considered,namely diacetylmorphine, cocaine, phenadoxone and levorphanol, the trend of the estimates is clearly downwards."