Note - Changes in the scope of control

Abstract

The international treaties on narcotic drugs make provision for placing new narcotic drugs under international control, by means of a procedure which involves governments, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, and the World Health Organization. The procedure may be applied not only in respect of the extension of control to new drugs, but also in respect of exemption from control of drugs or their preparations.

Details

Pages: 55 to 55
Creation Date: 1963/01/01

Note - Changes in the scope of control

The international treaties on narcotic drugs make provision for placing new narcotic drugs under international control, by means of a procedure which involves governments, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, and the World Health Organization. The procedure may be applied not only in respect of the extension of control to new drugs, but also in respect of exemption from control of drugs or their preparations.

The international procedure for extending control to new drugs is put into motion upon an application being made by a government to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who transmits it immediately to governments and the World Health Organization. The latter subsequently decides whether the substance considered is capable of producing addiction or is convertible into such a substance. If so, it is placed under one of the two existing control regimes provided in the conventions. The decision is ultimately communicated by the Secretary-General of the United Nations to all governments, whereupon the drug in question enters the control system.

In the case of the exemption from control of drugs or their preparations, the procedure is similar except that, as regards exemption of preparations, the World Health Organization can act on its own initiative.

During 1962 a request was received from the Government of the French Republic under article 1 of the Paris Protocol of 19 November 1948, relating to the drug pethidine-intermediate-C. The World Health Organization decided that the substance and its salts are capable of being converted into a product liable to produce addiction. It placed this drug and its salts under the regime established by the 1931 Convention for drugs specified in its article 1, paragraph 2, group I, such as morphine.

The 1931 Convention also permits the placement ot a new narcotic drug under international control, buf only if it belongs to the phenanthrene alkaloids group of opium or to the ecgonine alkaloids group of the coca leaf. If a new drug belonging to these groups is found not to be addiction-producing by itself, but to be convertible into a drug liable to produce addiction, the procedure for deciding which particular regime should apply to it (i.e., the more strict regime applied to drugs such as morphine, or the more lenient regime applied to drugs such as codeine), is different from that prescribed by the 1948 Protocol in such cases. While under the 1948 Protocol the decision is taken by the World Health Organization, under the 1931 Convention the decision is taken by a body of three experts competent to deal with the scientific and technical aspects of the matter, of whom one member is selected by the government concerned, one by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, and the third by the two members so selected. In 1962, two drugs were considered according to that procedure by such bodies. One evaluated the drug nicocodine and its salts and decided that it should be placed under the more lenient regime of control- namely, that applicable to codeine (article 1, paragraph 2, group II, of the 1931 Convention). Another such body considered the drug myrophine and its salts, which had already been thus considered before, without any decision being taken; it decided that myrophine and its salts should be submitted to the stricter regime of control - namely, the one that is applied to morphine (article 1, paragraph 2, group I, of the 1931 Convention).