Fourth special session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs

Sections

Introduction
Representation at the session
Action of international organs and organizations and the problem of co-ordination
Implementation of international treaties
Publications of the Division of Narcotic Drugs
Operations financed by the United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control
Report of the International Narcotics Control Board for 1975
Scientific research, including cannabis and khat
World requirements of codeine for medical and scientific purposes and the position in regard to its supply
Illicit traffic
Drug abuse and measures to reduce demand
Programme of work and priorities

Details

Pages: 1 to 16
Creation Date: 1976/01/01

Fourth special session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs *

Introduction

As authorized by the Economic and Social Council, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs held its fourth special session at Geneva from 16 to 27 February 1976. The agenda included the following substantive items: Report of the Division of Narcotic Drugs on the work of the United Nations, the specialized agencies and other international organizations relating to narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances; Report of the Sub-Commission on Illicit Drug Traffic and Related Matters in the Near and Middle East; Report of the Meeting of Operational Heads of National Narcotics Law Enforcement Agencies in the Far East Region; Operations financed by the United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control and the question of the policy direction of the Fund by the Commission on narcotic Drugs; scientific research, including research on cannabis and khat; Report of the International Narcotics Control Board, 1975; the world requirements of codeine for medical and scientific purposes, and the position in regard to its supply; review of the illicit traffic; drug abuse and measures to reduce demand; and programme of work and priorities.

In the Report on its fourth special session (document E/5771, E/CN.7/587), submitted to the sixtieth session of the Economic and Social Council, the Commission included a number of important resolutions and decisions and recommended to the Council the adoption of two substantive resolutions. The Council, in its resolution E/RES/2003 (LX), took note of the Report of the Commission on its fourth special session, "without prejudice to the implementation of General Assembly resolution 3529 (XXX) of 16 December 1975 with regard to paragraphs 319-323 of the Report".

In the following analysis of the Commission's fourth special session, the most important subjects dealt with by the Commission are highlighted; the resolutions adopted by the Commission and endorsed by the Council on the Commission's recommendation, as well as the resolutions adopted by the Council, are reproduced in full, whereas the essence of the decisions taken by the Commission and the Council at their respective sessions is reported in the various chapters of this article to which they relate.

Representation at the session

All States members of the Commission were represented at the fourth special session, namely Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Egypt (Arab Republic of), France, Germany (Federal Republic of), Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Madagascar, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, Romania, Sweden, Thailand, Togo, Turkey, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America and Yugoslavia.

* For further details see Commission on Narcotic Drugs, Report of the Fourth Special Session, document E/5771, E/CN.7/587.

The following States sent observers: Afghanistan, Algeria, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Chad, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Senegal, Spain, Switzerland, Tunisia and Uruguay.

The following United Nations bodies were represented at the session: the Office for Inter-agency Affairs, the United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control (UNFDAC), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Social Defence Research Institute, the United Nations Division of Social Affairs, the United Nations Social Development Division and the World Food Programme. The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) was also represented. Representatives of the following specialized agencies attended the session: the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

The International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO-Interpol), an organization having a special agreement with the Economic and Social Council, was represented at the session.

The Customs Co-operation Council (CCC) and the International Arab Narcotics Bureau of the League of Arab States were also represented.

The following inter-governmental organizations attended the session: the Colombo Plan Bureau and the Council of Europe.

The following non-governmental organizations in consultative status also attended: Baha'i International Community; International Confederation of Catholic Charities (Caritas Internationalis); International Council on Alcohol and Addictions; International Federation of Women Lawyers; International Law Association; International Union for Child Welfare; World Young Women's Christian Association and International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers' Associations.

The Commission elected the following officers by acclamation: Sr. Lic. Pedro Ojeda Paullada (Mexico), Chairman; Dr. E. Babaian (USSR), First Vice-Chairman; Prof. B. Rexel (Sweden), Second Vice-Chairman; Dr. D.M. Smith (Canada), Rapporteur.

Action of international organs and organizations and the problem of co-ordination

The Commission took note of the Report of the Division of Narcotic Drugs on the work of the United Nations, the specialized agencies and other international organs relating to narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, which covered the period between the Commission's last (26th) session and this fourth special session. It noted with appreciation, in particular, that the General Assembly, at its thirtieth session on 9 December 1975, had adopted four important resolutions in the field of international drug control dealing with: the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances (A/RES/3443 (XXX)), the 1972 Protocol amending the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961 (A/RES/3444 (XXX)), Adequate priority for narcotics control (A/ RES/ 3445 (XXX)) and the United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control (A/RES/3446 (XXX)).

Special attention was also given to the findings of the Fifth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders and the recommendations made by this Congress with regard to the drug abuse problem. The relationship between illicit drug supply and demand, in particular the necessity to reduce illicit demand for drugs was stressed. Several representatives at the Commission expressed their satisfaction with the activities of the Inter-agency Advisory Committee on Drug Abuse Control and in particular with its terms of reference, recently amended in accordance with the wish expressed by the Commission.

With regard to the problem of co-ordination of international activities in the field of drug control, the Commission took note of a list of international meetings on drugs reported for 1975, which had been prepared by the Division of Narcotic Drugs, and expressed its satisfaction that the Secretary-General had continued his efforts to ensure the best possible co-ordination in this field and that he would, through the Division of Narcotic Drugs, continue those efforts in the future. In this context, the Commission took decision 1 (S-IV) on information on international meetings on drug abuse. According to this decision, the Division of Narcotic Drugs shall publish in its "Information Letter", to the extent feasible, as part of the continued efforts by the Secretary-General for the best possible co-ordination, all information on international meetings on drugs of abuse, as far as possible in advance of any such meeting. Organizations and bodies likely to organize international regional meetings are therefore asked to inform the Division of Narcotic Drugs, at their earliest convenience, of any such meeting planned by them, so as to enable the Division in turn to advise them of similar concurrent meetings, if necessary and to keep them, as well as governments, informed of all forthcoming meetings through this "Information Letter".

The problem of information was also raised at the Council's sixtieth session, when it considered the Commission's report. In its decision 152 (LX) on information on international narcotic drug control activities, the Council, recalling its resolution 1935 (LVIII) of 6 May 1975, urged the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, in the Report on its Twenty-seventh Session, to expand information relating to bodies entrusted with international narcotic drug control and to make proposals to the Council with a view to rationalizing such activities.

Implementation of international treaties

The Commission took cognizance of the fact the 1972 Protocol amending the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961, had entered into force on 8 August 1975 and noted with satisfaction that the Secretary-General had established, in accordance with article 22 of that Protocol, certified true copies of the Single Convention as amended by this Protocol. In its decision 2 (S-IV), the Commission asked the Division of Narcotic Drugs to publish, as soon as possible and in sufficient copies, the text of the Single Convention, as amended, in English, French, Russian and Spanish.

As of the date of the session, 106 States had become Parties to the Single Convention, 35 to the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances and 47 to the 1972 Protocol amending the Single Convention; several representatives, however, expressed their deep concern that the 1971 Convention on Psychotripic Substances had not yet entered into force and considered it essential that all countries not yet Parties to that Convention should take urgent action to adhere to it. It is to be mentioned that, in the meantime, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances entered into force on 16 August 1976.

With regard to the annual reports to be submitted by governments to the Secretary-General by virtue of the international treaties in this field, the Commission, by its decision 3 (S-IV), agreed that in future a summary of annual reports established by the Division of Narcotic Drugs shall be issued as a Commission document, for examination, on a regular basis, by the Commission during its session. This became necessary in view of the extensive new data contained in that summary due to the new form adopted by the Commission for such annual reports (E/NR.FORM/Rev.3).

Publications of the Division of Narcotic Drugs

The Commission took note of the fact that the range of subjects published in the Bulletin on Narcotics had continued to broaden in the field of drug demand in 1975 and that this publication was a very useful tool, not only for governmental authorities but also for research experts. With regard to the Bulletin on Narcotics, the Commission adopted the following resolution concerning the Spanish edition of that Bulletin:

The Commission on Narcotic Drugs,

Recognizing that the quality of the articles in the Bulletin on Narcotics meets the practical needs of those who, by the nature of their work, are required to face drug problems,

Noting that it is very difficult for experts in Spanish-speaking countries to keep abreast of developments, because of the lack of scientific publications in Spanish dealing with research on and activities relating to drug problems, and that requests for the Spanish edition have increased in the last few years,

  1. Decides that the Spanish edition of the Bulletin on Narcotics should be published in the same form as the English and French editions;

  2. Requests the Secretary-General to arrange for the Spanish edition of the Bulletin on Narcotics to be published in printed form, the cost being charged to the regular budget of the United Nations.

The Commission noted with appreciation that the main developments on international drug control during 1975 had been dealt with by the 12 issues of the monthly "Information Letter", published in English, French and Spanish by the Division of Narcotic Drugs and financially supported by the United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control; the distribution of the "Information Letter" had increased during 1975 and now comprised some 11,00 recipients (see also Commission decision 1 (S-IV) referred to above).

Operations financed by the United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control

The Commission considered the Report on operations financed by the United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control, which was jointly prepared by the Division of Narcotic Drugs and the secretariat of the Fund.

The report presented a summary of operations by sector of activity, placing particular emphasis on development over the past year, showing steady expansion of activities continued during 1975, with a total of 79 projects having received Fund support, out of which 21 had been completed and 58 where currently in operation. Fund allocations to projects during 1975 represented a 55.6 per cent increase over those for 1974. Whereas actual Fund expenditure during the year 1974 had totalled US$ 4,858,300, allocations for 1975 amounted to US$ 6,194,300, with projected allocations for 1976 and 1977 of US$ 9,090,000 and US$ 10,143,800 respectively. Since the last report to the Commission contributions to the Fund amounted to US$ 5,787,919, bringing the total of contributions in cash and kind since the creation of the Fund up to US$ 19,407,547. The Commission expressed its appreciation of the work carried out by the Fund, as well as that of the Division of Narcotic Drugs and the specialized agencies executing programmes and projects financed by the Fund; it welcomed, in particular, the increased emphasis on the evaluation of projects, particularly the introduction of outside evaluation teams. The Commission agreed that there should be a clear distinction between the functions of the Fund and those of the Division. The Government of Turkey was congratulated on its successful efforts to prevent any narcotic drugs of Turkish origin from entering the illicit traffic, as was the Fund for its assistance provided to the Turkish Government. Satisfaction was expressed with regard to the report of the outside evaluation mission to Thailand and it was felt that the findings of the mission justified the provision of sufficient resources from the Fund to enable the completion of the five-year pilot project. The increased commitment of the Thai Government to the programme was also welcomed. The accomplishments in projects concerned with law enforcement, e.g. assistance provided to Afghanistan and the continued growth of the Central Training Unit of the Division of Narcotic Drugs, were also commended, whereas some doubt was expressed regarding the final outcome of the hashish crop replacement project in Lebanon.

The Commission stressed the point that a greater proportion of the Fund's resources should be allocated to projects designed to reduce the demand for illicit drugs. Concern was also expressed at the absence of projects related to the control of psychotropic substances. In this respect, the Commission, by its decision 4 (S-IV), requested the Executive Director of the Fund and the Director of the Division to devote due attention to the elaboration of projects related to the control of psychotropic substances.

The view was expressed that the specialized agencies should devote more of their resources to drug abuse control projects, thereby relieving some of the pressure brought to bear on the relatively small resources of the Fund.

The extensive discussion on the Commission's function in establishing general policy guidelines for the Fund and the best means of doing so resulted in the adoption of decision 5 (S-IV), in which the Commession expressed its view that more efficient machinery was needed for the examination of projects financed by the Fund, in order to better enable the Commission to fulfil its duty of providing policy guidelines to the Fund; the Commission decided thereon to request the Executive Director of the Fund and the Director of the Division to study the question of the machinery for issuing policy guidelines by the Commission to the Fund and to present a joint proposal on the matter to the Commission at its twenty-seventh session, and also requested the Executive Director of the Fund to submit to the Commission, as from 1976, semi-annual progress reports on operations financed by the Fund.

The continued effort to use a regional approach to operations financed by the Fund was noted with satisfaction, as was the appointment of a regional narcotics co-ordination adviser in South-East Asia, in addition to the regional narcotics adviser for the Middle East, and the emphasis on regional training by the Division's Central Training Unit. Several delegations and observers welcomed the plans to provide for regional advisers in Africa and Central and South America. The view was expressed that any information material distributed by the Division should be adapted to the specific needs of the individual regions.

Whereas general satisfaction with the operations financed by the Fund and executed either by the Division of Narcotic Drugs or the specialized agencies was expressed, concern was however felt that the Fund would not have adequate financial resources to support the projects already being planned for the next two years, let alone any new projects that might need assistance from the Fund. The Fund was therefore advised to exercise caution in handling the projects it would finance, so as to avoid an unproductive dispersion of resources on too large a number of small projects. As increased contributions to the Fund would be the obvious solution to the problem, it was hoped that Governments would heed the appeal launched by the Executive Director on behalf of the Secretary-General for general and sustained contributions.

The emphasis placed by the Commission on continued evaluation of projects supported by the Fund is reflected in resolution 2 (S-IV) which reads as follows:

Resolution 2 (S-VI). Evaluation of projects supported by the United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control

The Commission on Narcotic Drugs,

Recalling General Assembly resolutions 3278 (XXIX) and 3446 (XXX), which, inter alia, recognize the importance of the role played by the United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control in international efforts to reduce drug abuse and illicit traffic in drugs,

Bearing in mind the important responsibillity which the Executive Director of the Fund has for following up and evaluating Fund-supported projects by virtue of the Secretary-General's decision on organizational structure in 1973,

Recalling the view of the Commission at its twenty-sixth session that the continued confidence and financial support of Governments could be affected by objective assessments of the results obtained by projects financed by the Fund,

Noting the report of the Executive Director of the Fund on evaluation undertaken to date,

  1. Reaffirms the importance it attaches to the Executive Director of the United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control arranging periodic objective evaluations of Fund-supported projects by evaluators independent of the executing agencies,

  2. Requests the Executive Director of the Fund to continue and further develop the practice of arranging such periodic evaluations.

In the context of operations financed by the United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control, the Economic and Social Council at its sixtieth session, on 12 May 1976, adopted resolution E/RES/2004 (LX) concerning the Fund. The resolution reads as follows:

E/RES/2004 (LX). United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control

The Economic and Social Council,

Recalling its resolution 1937 (LVIII) of 6 May 1975, endorsed by the General Assembly in its resolution 3446 (XXX) of 9 December 1975, in which the Council appealed to Governments for generous and sustained contributions to the United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control,

Aware of the fact that, despite the appeals made in those resolutions to Governments For generous and sustained contributions to the Fund, the financial resources of the Fund have remained insufficient to enable it to expand its activities and to provide additional assistance to the developing countries concerned in carrying out their respective drug control programmes, particularly those countries where the further success of such programmes depends on the expansion of such assistance to obtain maximum results,

  1. Notes with satisfaction that the United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control, in collaboration with Governments and the international organizations concerned, has undertaken a number of activities which have contributed, through the strengthening of national drug control programmes, to the significant advancement of international efforts to reduce drug abuse and illicit traffic in drugs;

  2. Expresses its appreciation for the efforts being made by the Governments of a number of developing countries concerned, which have undertaken effective programmes, with the assistance of the Fund, aimed at further strengthening measures for the reduction of illicit traffic in drugs, which have produced encouraging results;

  3. Notes with concern that the request of a number of countries for additional assistance for their respective drug control programmes could not be met owing to the insufficient financial resources of the Fund;

  4. Reiteratesits previous appeals for additional generous and sustained contributions to the Fund;

  5. Expresses the hope that Governments will, as early as possible, positively and generously respond to the appeals already made by the Council itself and by the General Assembly.

Report of the International Narcotics Control Board for 1975

This report (E/ INCB/ 29) was presented to the Commission by the President of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) who drew attention to the most important points of the Board's report. Whereas the Board was satisfied with the measures taken by the Government of Turkey in controlling the cultivation of the opium poppy, the Board remained concerned over the uncontrolled and illicit growth of the opium poppy which continued in many parts of the world and led to considerable quantities of opium, morphine and heroin entering the illicit traffic. With regard to cannabis, which remained one of the most abused substances throughout the world, he pointed to the fact that preliminary research had not dispelled fears regarding the dangers of its long-term use. The appearance of increasing quantities of liquid concentrate of cannabis in the illicit traffic had made the problem even more difficult. The President of the INCB called upon each government to decide upon the most appropriate measures to prevent the non-medical consumption of cannabis and called for the punishment of traffickers. The increasing illicit traffic in cocaine between South and North America, in addition to there being more and more traffic directed towards the European continent, required greater effort on the part of governments before cocaine abuse became too great a problem. Supporting the appeal to governments, by the Commission and other organs of the United Nations, to adhere to the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances and also the call for further developing regional co-operation in order to develop common strategies to combat drug abuse and the illicit drug traffic more effectively, the President of the INCB concluded by stating that the present situation in this field brought to mind three elementary truths: the primacy of national control; the solidarity of States; and the necessity of forecasting in time and taking quick action, in order to avoid situations which would require long and costly remedial action.

In its debate on the Report of the INCB, the Commission expressed its unanimous satisfaction with the work of the Board and appreciated the way in which its report had been prepared; several representatives, however, pointed out the need for the Report of the Board to be more specified and clear in its conclusions, so as to avoid possible misinterpretation and confusion.

The Economic and Social Council, in its resolution E/RES/2000 (LX), took note of the contribution to international drug control made by the INCB during 1975, commended the Board on its comprehensive and informative report for 1975 and called upon all member States to give urgent and serious attention to the activities of the Board.

Scientific research, including cannabis and khat

The Commission noted the progress made in the United Nations scientific research programmes, as reflected in the report on the subject. It expressed its high appreciation of the achievements and the work accomplished by the United Nations Narcotics Laboratory during the period under review. The Commission felt that international collaboration in research was of the greatest importance and it urged that this should be further expanded by the United Nations Narcotics Laboratory in order to avoid unnecessary duplication of efforts and to keep close contact with collaborating scientists all over the world.

The Commission studied, in particular, the cannabis programme and the research being carried out in this field. Several representatives stressed the need for further studies on the chemistry of cannabis, cannabis smoke and "hashish oil". Investigations were also urgently needed on the effects of cannabis use, particularly in the long-term, and the hope was expressed that research would be intensified so that adequate scientific data would be available as soon as possible. Such data would facilitate, at the national level, the formulation of measures to be introduced concerning the non-medical consumption of cannabis. With regard to research and the papers issued by the UN Narcotics Laboratory on the chemical composition of khat ( Catha edulis Forsk.), the Commission noted the considerable progress made in the relatively short time since the initiation of that project. The isolation of khat components by the Laboratory would permit relevant pharmacological studies to be undertaken. Comprehensive data on the effects of khat were essential to provide information that would assist the countries concerned in dealing with problems associated with the chewing of khat, and would be an important basis for future consideration of the possible control of khat.

The considerable expansion of the Laboratory's collection of reference samples of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances was noted, as was the continued research on the developments of methods for the identification, by law enforcement officers, of drugs of abuse.

The strengthening of national narcotics laboratories in areas directly affected by illicit traffic and the training of scientists by the UN Narcotics Laboratory were considered essential for the effective control of drugs of abuse; the Commission expressed the hope that these activities of the Laboratory would be continued and expanded. In this respect, as well as with regard to the acquisition of instruments and equipment needed by the Laboratory, the hope was expressed that the Laboratory would be provided with adequate resources for its research and training activities.

World requirements of codeine for medical and scientific purposes and the position in regard to its supply

The Commission considered the annex to the Report of the INCB and the sections of the scientific research document dealing specifically with that subject.

As to the supply and demand equation, it noted that the Board considered it difficult to undertake a detailed study of the demand for opiates in the world as a whole, not only because of the diversity, of conditions prevailing in various countries, but also because it was necessary to take into account a large number of factors not all of which are accessible to the Board. Codeine consumption had increased by 45 tons between 1952 and 1962 and by exactly the same amount between 1962 and 1972. This implied that the percentage annual increase had been gradually slowing down. The question therefore arose whether the annual rate of growth would in future continue to decrease of would level off. This would depend on several factors to be taken into consideration, such as population and number of physicians. During the two decades considered above the pro rata number of physicians increased faster than the size of the population, while active consumption increased faster than the number of physicians. During the second decade, however, these variables showed a downward trend, and the decrease in consumption was more marked than the other trends. Thus, although supply difficulties were very real in recent years, it would be exaggerated to describe the situation as one of shortage. The INCB Report concluded that supply difficulties experienced in 1973 and 1974 should come to an end after the 1975 harvests and that, in the medium-term, the supply of raw material would be adequate to meet the increase in demand for medical and scientific requirements. However, until reserve stocks of opiates were built up again to a satisfactory level, the risk of a recurrence of these difficulties would also be present because of the vulnerability of the raw materials to weather conditions. Nevertheless, in view of the growing share of poppy straw in the manufacture of morphine and its geographical distribution over both hemispheres, greater reliability of supplies might be expected in the future.

Expressing its appreciation for the useful analysis by the Board as well as general agreement with the conclusions reached therein, the Commission concluded that the period of crisis appeared to be over but the problem remained and needed concerted action. The need for codeine continued and was even growing mainly due to the population increase and the large number of people being covered by health insurances. It was therefore suggested that it would be very useful to project the likely demand, first at the national level. Conversely, it might be projected that the demand for codeine could come to a halt as a result of new developments. At any rate, a global estimate of future codeine requirements would be an essential element in any process of stabilization of codeine production and trade.

As to the scientific research, the Commission considered the results of the programmes undertaken by the UN Narcotics Laboratory which included investigations on the opium poppy, Papaver somniferum (both on the incised and unincised capsules), and on Papaver bracteatum, as well as the report of a working group convened by the Laboratory to consider the feasibility of the conversion of thebaine into drugs of abuse. Great appreciation was expressed about the substantial progress achieved in the international scientific research programme designed to maximize the output of phenanthrene alkaloids per unit of cultivated area. It was suggested that the focus of attention could now begin to shift from research to application. There appeared to be a consensus on the following points: ( a) while the emergency situation in terms of codeine supply which existed in 1973 and 1974 seems to be over, caution should still be exercised, since stocks were depleted both at the producer and consumer level; ( b) research should therefore be accelerated in order to improve the yields of the phenanthrene alkaloids per unit of cultivated area; ( c) utmost caution should be exercised so that the delicate balance between demand and supply should not be upset; ( d) as far as possible, prospective planning should be continued by the Board on the subject of demand and supply within the existing drug control system. Finally, the Commission agreed to ask the INCB and the United Nations Narcotics Laboratory to report to it on this subject at its next session.

Illicit traffic

Reviewing first the illicit traffic situation for 1974 on the basis of the report submitted by the Division of Narcotic Drugs, the Commission noted that new trends were frequently appearing which, whilst not altering the main features of the problem, did affect the situation in the regions other than the one in which they arose.

Seizures of opium were well below the level of the previous year owing largely to the absence of spectacular seizures made in 1973. The effects of increased pressures by the enforcement services and the damage undoubtedly suffered by traffickers in 1973 might have forced them to reduce considerably the size of their consignments. The trade in morphine base continued to decline. The drop in cannabis resin seizures, when viewed together with the substantial rise in seizures of liquid cannabis, could indicate that traffickers are making greater use of the many advantages undoubtedly to be gained by dealing in cannabis in liquid form, in the same way that manufacturers of heroin do with morphine base. Traffickers continued to look to the Far East and Mexico for their major supplies of heroin. It was noted that from reports received it was very clear that traffic from the Far East to Europe had become more organized and that Asian traffickers were very much involved at both ends of the traffic, as there was also evidence of their implication in the traffic to North America; in this respect, the importance of the Netherlands as a transit and distribution point for drugs destined for countries of Western Europe was also mentioned.

After consideration of the illicit traffic situation with regard to specific substances involved and of the analysis of the illicit traffic by regions, the Commission recommended to the Economic and Social Council for adoption a resolution concerned with financial transactions related to illicit trafficking in narcotics. On 12 May 1976 the Council endorsed this resolution which reads as follows:

E/RES/2002 (LX). Financial transactions related to illicit trafficking in narcotics

The Economic and Social Council,

Recalling articles 4, 35 and 36, particularly article 36 (2) ( a) (ii), of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961, as amended by articles 13 and 14 of the 1972 Protocol,

Mindful of the importance of improving by all available means international co-operation to combat illicit trafficking in drugs and their abuse,

Aware that such illicit trafficking requires large sums of money and involves financial transactions of significant size, and that leaders or illicit trafficking organizations may be involved in these transactions, although not in the actual movement of drug contraband,

Believing that close attention by authorities to financial transactions concerning persons suspected of involvement in illicit drug trafficking may be valuable in apprehending and convicting major drug traffickers,

  1. Urges Governments which have not already done so to enact such legislation as may be necessary to make financial support provided knowingly, by whatever means, in furtherance of offences enumerated in article 36 (1) of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961, a punishable offence, and to co-operate with one another in exchanging information to identify drug traffickers committing such an offence;

  2. Requests the Secretary-General to bring the present resolution to the attention of Governments.

With regard to the work of the Sub-Commission on Illicit Drug Traffic and Related Matters in the Near and Middle East, the Commission considered and approved the report and the recommendations of a Working Group of the Sub-Commission. It also approved a proposed study tour of the region by the Sub-Commission in October 1976.

After consideration of the report of the Second Meeting of Operational Heads of National Narcotics Law Enforcement Agencies in the Far East Region, held at Jarkarta from 17 to 21 November 1975, the Commission endorsed the report and the recommendations contained therein with the following exception: In its decision 6 (S-IV) the Commission foresees that the membership for the forthcoming session would be enlarged by adding to the present membership: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and the Republic of Korea, which, after being contacted by the Secretariat, indicated that they had good reasons to participate and wished to do so. The Commission also decided however that no countries outside the region should be invited to participate as observers in this meeting and that all participating countries should be asked to defray the cost of their participation, and, in cases where this would make it impossible for them to participate, the United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control would undertake to defray this cost.

Drug abuse and measures to reduce demand

On the basis of a note by the Secretary-General on the subject, the Commission reviewed the main trends of drug abuse in 1974 throughout the world by regions and by drug type. With regard to the latter, it was noted that the problem of opiate addiction was emphasized by many countries in all regions of the world. Heroin addiction was mostly affecting young people and was widespread in many regions of the world except in Africa where the problem was the abuse of synthetic narcotics and other opiates. Abuse of synthetic narcotics was on the rise in several countries. Persistent widespread abuse of cannabis, mostly taken by young people and very commonly taken in association with other drugs, remained a recurrent pattern in all regions. In many countries, cannabis was the most frequently abuse drug. Abuse of coca type drugs, in particular of cocaine, was another important characteristic of drug abuse, especially in the Americas, and the appearance of this phenomenon in the rest of the world was observed. Cocaine, frequently abused by adolescents, was often taken in combination with other drugs. There was an over-all trend towards the abuse of psychotropic substances, among which barbiturate type drugs dominated. But a large number of countries in most regions were facing the problem of extensive amphetamine abuse which was also increasing. Multiple drug abuse, including almost all kinds of combinations, represented an emerging trend which was becoming predominant and was on the increase in most countries of the world, in particular among young people.

In order to depict better the situation in different countries and to improve the document on drug abuse and measures to reduce demand, submitted by the Secretary-General, the Commission, in its decision 7 (S-IV), agreed that information available to the United Nations such as statements of representatives to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs made at the previous session, as well as reports of the United Nations and its specialized agencies on meetings dealing with the abuse of drugs, should be taken into consideration when drafting this document. In its decision 8 (S-IV), the Commission asked the secretariat to provide technical assistance in drug abuse assessment to those governments requesting it, in order to assist governments in the formulation of a meaningful policy in their countries and in improving their reporting on drug abuse to the United Nations.

The Commission agreed that activities to reduce the illicit supply of drugs could not be effective unless measures were also taken concurrently to reduce the illicit demand for drugs and held that a balanced approach to both the reduction in illicit supply of, and illicit demand for, drugs was important. In this connexion, the Commission adopted its decision 9 (S-IV) on Study on measures to reduce illicit demand for drugs. It decided therein that such a study was necessary and asked the Director of the Division of Narcotic Drugs to undertake it, together with one or more experts and with the participation of the international bodies concerned. It further decided that this study should be carried out as soon as possible and the results thereof should be communicated to the Commission at its next session. The cost of this study should be defrayed by voluntary contributions from governments and by financial assistance by the United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control.

With regard to the manufacture of heroin and its use in medical practice, the Commission adopted its resolution 3 (S-IV) which reads as follows:

Resolution 3 (S-IV). Prohibition of the manufacture of heroin and its use in medical practice

The Commission on Narcotic Drugs,

Expressing its concern at the fact that addiction to heroin and the illicit traffic in this preparation have recently been steadily increasing in various countries,

Considering that heroin represents a great danger to human health, that in most countries of the world the medical profession does not regard it as of therapeutic value and that it has been omitted from the pharmacopoeia and from lists of medicaments,

Noting that, under the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961, the strictest measures of control are to be applied to heroin,

Anxious about the health and well-being of mankind,

Recommends to any Government that has not yet done so that if, in its opinion, the prevailing conditions in its country render it the most appropriate means of protecting the public health and welfare, it should prohibit all manufacture of heroin and its use in medical practice on human beings.

Programme of work and priorities

Under this item the Commission first considered the problem of its cycle of sessions. The extensive debate is reflected in the text of the following resolution which the Commission recommended for approval to the Economic and Social Council and which was endorsed by the latter with some modifications. The resolution, as adopted by the Council, reads as follows:

E/RES/2001 (LX). Cycle of sessions of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs

The Economic and Social Council,

Recalling paragraph 16 ( b) of its resolution 1768 (LIV) of 18 May 1973 on the rationalization of the work of the Council, in which it decided that its subsidiary and expert or advisory bodies would meet biennially unless it should decide otherwise,

Bearing in mind that in resolutions 1778 (LIV) of 18 May 1973 and 1848 (LVI) of 15 May 1974, it authorized the Commission on Narcotic Drugs to hold special sessions of two weeks each in 1974 and 1976, since the serious problem of drug abuse required continuing vigilance by that Commission so that both the principle of biennial sessions and the need for more frequent meetings of the Commission could be recognized by convening special sessions of that Commission as necessary,

Referring to its decision 124 (LIX) of 31 July 1975, by which it drew the attention of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, at its fourth special session, to the discussion which took place in the Policy and Programme Co-ordination Committee on that Commission's cycle of sessions, and to the deliberations and conclusions of the Commission at its fourth special session,

Recognizing that, in view of the seriousness of the problems concerning the abuse of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, continuing vigilance by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs is absolutely necessary,

Considering that:

  1. The Commission on Narcotic Drugs, since its establishment in 1946, met continuously on an annual basis from 1946 to 1976, with the exception of the years 1967 and 1972,

  2. The work to be carried out by the Commission under its statutory functions according to the international treaties on narcotic drugs has considerably increased over the years, in particular after the entry into force of the 1972 Protocol Amending the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961, under the numerous resolutions adopted by the Council itself and by the General Assembly, and in the field of operations financed by the United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control, to which the Commission gives the policy directives,

  3. This workload will increase even more with the imminent entry into force of the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, which will broaden the field of competence, responsibility and action of the Commission by bringing also psychotropic substances under international control, and will require proper implementation at the international level through the Commission,

  4. The developments in this field accelerate and change so rapidly from year to year, in particular with regard to the changing patterns of abuse of, and illicit trafficking in, drugs, requiring that sufficient time be available, on an annual basis, for the Commission to discharge, properly and efficiently, its duties in this enlarged field of international drug control,

  1. Decides to maintain the principle of biennial sessions of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, the next session of which shall take place in 1977 at Geneva and shall be, exceptionally, of three weeks' duration, provided that the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances has entered into force;

  2. Also decides that the conditions exist to justify the convening of a special session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in 1978.

The Commission also examined the matter of "Secretariat units for international narcotics control" on the basis of the decision of the General Assembly requesting the Economic and Social Council to examine the programme aspects of the present secretariats of the INCB and the Division of Narcotic Drugs, with a view to identifying any duplication and overlapping of activities that might exist and to consider within this context the possibility of streamlining or combining both secretariats in the interests of economy and expeditious administration and management. This decision of the General Assembly had been referred by the Economic and Social Council to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs for examination at its fourth special session and also to the Committee for Programme and Co-ordination at its sixteenth session.

After in-depth discussion, the Commission adopted resolution 4 (S-IV) which reflects the Commission's view on the subject and its recommendation to the Council. This resolution reads as follows:

Resolution 4 (S-IV). Secretariat units for international narcotics control

The Commission on Narcotic Drugs,

Recalling the General Assembly's request that the Economic and Social Council examine the programme aspects of the present secretariat of the International Narcotics Control Board and the Division of Narcotic Drugs, with a view to identifying any duplication and overlapping of activities that might exist, and to consider, within this context, the possibility of streamlining or combining both secretariats in the interest of economy and expeditous administration and management,

Having been requested by the Council to consider and express its views on this question,

Bearing in mind that the Board, an organ established by the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and composed of persons acting in their individual capacity, carries out, assisted by its staff, specific technical functions enumerated in the treaties on narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances,

Noting that the Division of Narcotic Drugs, a regular administrative segment of the United Nations Secretariat, serves as the secretariat of the Commission, a policy-making body composed of government representatives, and in the field of drug control carries out operational and other functions differing from those of the Board and therefore properly subject to scrutiny exclusively by the Commission and not by the Board,

Aware that the Board's functions are of such a nature that the Single Convention requires the Council, in consultation with the Board, to make all necessary arrangements to ensure the full technical independence of the Board in carrying out these functions,

Recalling that as recently as May 1973 the Council, in agreement with the Commission, the Secretary-General and the Board, reconfirmed, without objection, the arrangements, in effect for many years, which provide for the Board's staff to operate separately from but in tandem with the Division,

Reiterating its belief that these arrangements take account of the treaty requirements and at the same time do not lead to duplication and overlapping and provide the most efficient framework for the Board and its staff, and the Division, to carry out effectively their differing mandates,

Taking into account resolution I of the 1972 United Nations Conference to consider amendments to the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961, which expresses the view that the administrative arrangements in respect of the secretariat of the Board meet the wishes of States parties to the Single Convention and to earlier conventions and recommends that they be continued,

Recommends to the Council that the arrangements now in force should remain in effect.

At its sixty-first session on 3 August 1976, the Council, after having reviewed the report and recommendations of the Commission and of the Committee for Programme and Co-ordination, adopted the following resolution on the subject:

E/RES/2017 (LXI). Secretariat units for international narcotics control

The Economic and Social Council,

Recalling that the General Assembly has requested it to examine the programme aspects of the present secretariat arrangements of the International Narcotics Control Board and the Division of Narcotic Drugs, with a view to identifying any duplication and overlapping of activities that might exist, and to consider, within that context, the possibility of streamlining or combining both secretariats in the interest of economy and expeditious administration and management,

Taking into account the provisions of article 9, paragraph 2, of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961,

Having received the reports and recommendations of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and of the Committee for Programme and Co-ordination on this question,

  1. Reconfirms that in the present circumstances the administrative arrangements now in force shall continue in effect;

  2. Notes with satisfaction that the Commission on Narcotic Drugs has decided to continue to monitor the possibility of streamlining the administration of the services concerned, bearing in mind the need for economy and for the most efficient and expeditious management.

At the end of its fourth special session, the Commission adopted its provisional agenda for its next (twenty-seventh) regular session in February 1977, which includes the following substantive items: Drug abuse and measures to reduce demand; Illicit Traffic: Review of the illicit traffic, Sub-Commission on Illicit Drug Traffic and Related Matters in the Near and Middle East, and Meeting of Operational Heads of National Narcotics Law Enforcement Agencies, Far East Region; Annual reports of governments; Implementation of the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971; Report of the International Narcotics Control Board for 1976; World requirements of opiates for medical and scientific purposes and the position in regard to their supply; Report of the Division of Narcotic Drugs; Scientific research, including the Report of the United Nations Narcotics Laboratory and collaborating national institutions and scientists; Reports of specialized agencies and international organs and organizations; Report of the United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control; and Programme of Work and Priorities.