Twenty-seventh session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs

Sections

Representation at the session
Drug abuse and measures to reduce illicit demand
Illicit traffic
Annual reports of Governments
Report of the International Narcotics Control Board for 1976
Scientific research
World requirements of opiates for medical and scientific purposes and the position in regard to their supply
Implementation of the international treaties
United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control and operations financed by it
Publications of the Division of Narcotic Drugs
Adequate priority for international drug control

Details

Pages: 1 to 20
Creation Date: 1977/01/01

Twenty-seventh session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs *

Introduction

The UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs held its twenty-seventh session a Geneva from 7 to 25 February 1977. The agenda included the following items Drug abuse and measures to reduce illicit demand for drugs; Illicit traffic Annual reports of Governments; Implementation of the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971; Report of the International Narcotics Control Board; 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 on the work of the UN Narcotics Laboratory and collaborating national institutions and scientists; Reports of specialized agencies and international organs and organizations; Report of the UN Fund for Drug Abuse Control Programme of work and priorities.

The Commission included in its report to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) a number of resolutions and decisions and submitted to the Council for action several resolutions dealing with specific items on its agenda. It also submitted a resolution of a more general character which it felt to be of great importance, regarding adequate priority for international drug control.

The following is an analysis of the work of the Commission's twenty-seventh session which highlights the main topics of the Commission's work. The texts of the resolutions adopted by the Commission and endorsed by the Council as well as the Council's resolutions are reproduced in full. The decisions taken by the Commission and the Council are reported in the relevant chapters of this article.

Representation at the session

All 30 States members of the Commission were represented at the twentyseventh 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.

The following States sent observers: Afghanistan, Algeria, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Burma, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Finland, German Democratic Republic, Greece, Holy See, Iraq, Lebanon, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Senegal, South Africa, 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 Affairs 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 International Labour Office (ILO), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the International Trade Centre (UNCTAD/GATT).

* For further details see "Report of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, Twenty-seventh session", document E/5933, E/CN.7/605.

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

The following inter-governmental organizations attended the session: The Colombo Plan and the Arab Narcotics Bureau of the Arab Organization for Social Defence against Crime of the League of Arab States.

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

Drug abuse and measures to reduce illicit demand

On the basis of a note by the Secretary-General on the subject, the Commission reviewed and noted the following trends of drug abuse in 1975 throughout the world by regions and by drug types: an upward trend in heroin addiction; an over-all widespread abuse of cannabis a considerable number of cannabis offences reported and growing amounts of liquid cannabis seized; an increase in cocaine abuse, mainly in the Americas and Europe; an increasing abuse of psychotropic substances, mostly sedative-hypnotics and amphetamines; abuse of methaqualone, amphetamines and hallucinogens, predominantly by young people; multiple drug abuse emerging as the most common pattern of drug-taking; the use of traditional drugs opium, cannabis and coca leaf persisting in a number of countries; and in countries where opium is traditionally consumed by middle-aged and Older people, complication of the situation by the rapidly increasing abuse of heroin among young people in urban areas.

Most countries of the world are confronted with serious problems of addiction to opiates. The increasing abuse of heroin by young people in urban areas is the pattern which causes great concern, particularly in the Americas, Asia and the Far East, Western Europe and the Near and Middle East. This also applies to the abuse of morphine, though to a much lesser extent. Abuse of other opiates, mainly synthetic narcotics (methadone, pethidine) is spreading in most regions of the world. These trends are also indicated by the quantities of opiates seized, the number of offences involving these drugs, and other related problems. Traditional opium consumption still persists in many countries of Asia and the Far East and in the Near and Middle East, both in rural and urban populations, mostly among middle-aged and older people in the lower-income groups. Intravenous use of heroin is associated with serious health problems, such as hepatitis and even death from an overdose, as well as social problems such' as criminality and other deviant, anti-social behaviour.

Cannabis is the most widely abused drug in most regions. While its abuse has spread in recent years among young people in urban areas, its traditional consumption is persistent and prevalent in many countries among different age groups in both rural and urban areas. Cannabis is the drug most commonly taken, in combination with alcohol or other drugs. The considerable number of drug offences involving cannabis and the impressive amounts seized, particularly liquid cannabis, also indicate the growing magnitude of cannabis-related problems.

The large number of persons chewing coca leaves constitutes a considerable socio-economic and public health problem for some Andean countries of South America. The increasing abuse of cocaine which has recently developed, particularly in the Americas and Western Europe, is also an important characteristic of drug abuse. Cocaine is abused to a very small extent in certain countries of other regions.

The tendency to abuse psychotropic substances continues to increase in most regions. Abuse of sedative-hypnotic drugs (barbiturates, methaqualone) and tranquillizers shows an upward trend in most countries. Methaqualone is taken predominantly by young people, while the abuse of barbiturates in some countries is more commonly encountered among middle-aged persons and in other countries among young persons. Increased abuse of amphetamine-type drugs among young people is also an emerging pattern in all regions. The abuse of LSD and other hallucinogens is on the increase in some countries, predominantly among young people.

An increasing tendency to use combinations of drugs is one of the major characteristics of the present drug abuse patterns in most regions. Drugs are often used in association with cannabis, alcohol and sedative-hypnotics.

The Commission considered and took note of the preliminary report by the Director of the Division of Narcotic Drugs on the Study on measures to reduce illicit demand for drugs. This report was a synthesis of the working papers prepared for the Study, and of the views and opinions expressed by participants in the Working Group on this Study, held at Geneva from 1 to 5 November 1976. The report presented an examination of the major issues concerning conceptual questions and policy alternatives which should be considered in designing and implementing preventive, treatment and rehabilitation measures, as well as in assessing drug abuse problems, the effectiveness of demand reduction programmes and future needs in this field. It emphasized the need for the integration of social intervention with appropriate programmes of information, education, treatment and rehabilitation aimed at preventing, reducing or alleviating, to the greatest extent possible, the personal and social difficulties associated with illicit drug use. Attention was also directed in the report to the relationship which exists between the illicit demand for drugs and the irrational use of licit psychoactive substances, as well as to the need for the careful control of the manufacture, prescribing and dispensing of drugs considered to have an abuse liability. Consideration was also given to the importance of assessing the nature, trends and other characteristics of drug abuse for designing, implementing and evaluating demand reduction programmes.

The Commission affirmed the principle that drug abuse problems should be regarded and dealt with in the context of the underlying psycho-social, cultural, economic and other factors associated with them and the availability, quality and accessibility of health and social programmes and other resources available in a community. It was urged that national policies should provide realistic approaches to reduce simultaneously both the illicit supply of and the demand for drugs. Programmes aimed at reducing illicit demand for drugs should involve information, education, treatment, rehabilitation, social reintegration and other available family and community resources which could be utilized for appropriate intervention either before or after the commencement of drug abuse. In prevention, as in treatment and rehabilitation, no single technique could be considered ideal and a variety of programme modalities had to be developed, studied and compared; those modalities which best suited the needs of a given community should be implemented.

Some representatives expressed the view that as a general approach, methadone and heroin maintenance without other rehabilitation and supportive therapies were not appropriate methods of treating opiate drug addicts. The view was also expressed that the term "therapy" should not be used when speaking solely of maintenance (the use of drugs to maintain opiate drug addicts without other supportive and rehabilitative measures) and that efforts should be made to assist opiate drug addicts to work towards freeing themselves from their addiction.

In this connexion the Commission recommended for approval to the UN Economic and Social Council a draft resolution, which was endorsed by the Council. The resolution, as adopted by the Council, reads as follows:

E/RES/2064 (LXII) Reduction of Illicit Demand for Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances

The Economic and Social Council,

Having considered the report of the Director of the Division of Narcotic Drugs on the study of measures to reduce illicit demand for drugs, of which the Commission on Narcotic Drugs took note at its twenty-seventh session,

Considering that efforts to combat addiction to the narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances covered by the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961, and by that Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and by the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, call for an attack on the problem at the three levels of demand, supply and illicit traffic,

Being of the opinion that the solutions to the problem of reducing demand are multiple, interdisciplinary and, very often, still at an experimental stage,

Convinced that progress can be achieved only through international and inter-agency co-operation at all levels,

  1. Expresses satisfaction at the fact that the specialized agencies, in particular the World Health Organization, the International Labour Organisation and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization have co-operated in the preparatory work for the report of the Director of the Division of Narcotic Drugs on the study on measures to reduce illicit demand for drugs;

  2. Recommends that the Secretary-General should publish the report of the Director of the Division of Narcotic Drugs and the papers referred to in paragraph 4 thereof, and should continue that study on the same lines as hitherto, in co-operation with the World Health Organization and the other specialized agencies concerned and with the financial assistance of the United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control;

  3. Recommends also that the publication envisaged in paragraph 2 above should include an introduction outlining the reservations of a technical nature which emerged from the statements of some delegations at the twenty-seventh session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs.

Decision I (XXVII) was also adopted by the Commission in this connexion by which the Division of Narcotic Drugs was requested that the study be carried out with the object of preparing a resource book on measures to reduce illicit demand for drugs which should provide practical information in a form that could assist interested countries in designing and implementing programmes in the areas of assessment, prevention and treatment and rehabilitation.

Furthermore, the Commission adopted a resolution with regard to programmes for drug abuse control which reads as follows:

Resolution 1 (XXVII). Programmes for drug abuse control

The Commission on Narcotic Drugs,

Recognizing the seriousness of medical and social problems caused by the spread of drug abuse,

Reaffirming its conviction that the limitation of the use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances strictly to medical and scientific purposes can play a primary role in efforts to solve those problems,

Taking note of the work carried out by the World Health Organization, the Inter-national Labour Organisation and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization on drug dependence,

  1. Invites Governments to improve and expand their programmes designed to reduce demand for dependence-producing drugs;

  2. Recommends:

  1. That the Directors-General of the World Health Organization, the International Labour Organisation and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization:

  2. Should pursue and expand their activities, within the limits of available resources, to assist Governments which so request to implement their medical and social programmes relating to drug dependence;

  3. Should continue to co-operate with the Division of Narcotic Drugs and the specialized agencies of the United Nations and with non-governmental organizations in implementing programmes designed to reduce drug demand;

  4. That the Director-General of the World Health Organization should continue to include the treatment of drug addicts in his public health programmes;

  5. That the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization should, in his programmes, increase measures designed to prevent drug abuse;

  1. Recommends also that the Executive Director of the United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control should give particular attention to the possibility of financing projects and programmes designed to implement health and other measures for the reduction of demand for dependence-producing drugs.

Illicit traffic

Reviewing the illicit traffic situation for 1975-1976, the Commission noted that no major changes in the main features of the traffic were discerned during the year. There were, however, some marked fluctuations in the quantities of various drugs reported seized.

In 1975 world seizures of opium and morphine base were the lowest for several years, major decreases being reported in the two main producing areas, the Near and Middle East and Asia and the Far East. During 1976 increases in morphine base seizures in Hong Kong and Thailand raised the world total for that year up to the level of 1974. In Europe seizures of morphine in tablet form rose by 150 per cent in 1976.

In 1975 heroin seizures throughout the world increased by 44 per cent. Greater operational co-operation on regional and interregional levels contributed to this increase. The major heroin producing areas continued to be situated in countries in South East Asia which supplied regional and European demands and Mexico in the Americas which sustained the market in the United States. Both Mexico and the United States reported appreciable increases in the total amount of heroin seized during 1975 and 1976. During 1976 the flow of heroin into Europe, principally from South East Asia, continued to increase; seizures in Europe rose by 130 per cent over those for 1975. About 90 per cent of this heroin was of the No. 3 variety. The two principal centres in this traffic were Bangkok and Amsterdam but a significant proportion of the traffic stemmed from Malaysia. A small amount of heroin seized in Europe was reported to be of Middle East origin but evidence was lacking as to the place of manufacture.

The substantial drop in opium seizures in Asia and the Far East and the increases in seizures of heroin of South East Asian origin suggested that more heroin is being manufactured nearer to the centres of illicit opium production. Seizures of both No. 3 and No. 4 heroin during 1976 and the discovery of heroin laboratories in the northern part of Thailand support this belief.

As in previous years the cocaine problem remained centered in me American continent. The traffic in this drug had continued to expand year by year in that region and seizures in 1975 were higher than in previous years. The growth of this traffic can be judged from the fact that during 1975 a total of 2,383 kg was seized compared with 460 kg in 1970.

During 1975 and 1976 many regions continued to face a substantial traffic in cannabis and cannabis resin. A slight drop in world total seizures of cannabis herb in 1975 was balanced by a rise in seizures of cannabis resin. The traffic in cannabis herb appeared to dominate in the Americas whilst that in resin was confined mainly to the Near and Middle East and Europe. It was believed that large quantities of cannabis resin from the Lebanon had entered the illicit traffic in the Near and Middle East during the second half of 1976.

The traffic in liquid cannabis remained at a steady level. Western Europe was the region most affected by the traffic in this substance.

In terms of weight, there was an upward trend in seizures of psychotropic substances, the main increases being reported by countries in the American continent. The same trend was noted in respect of LSD and other hallucinogens. Large increases in seizures of amphetamines and central nervous system stimulants were reported in Europe, with illicit manufacture in the Netherlands feeding a demand in Scandinavia, particularly Sweden.

Reports showed that the number of cases of diversions from licit channels had risen considerably in several countries. The most common method of procurement was by theft, often with the use of arms, and forgery of prescriptions. In some cases, it was clear that an international traffic was becoming established in drugs illegally obtained in this way. These offences appeared to be more common in Europe and the Americas.

The main routes from producing to consuming areas remained substantially unchanged. It was noted, however, that enforcement action had caused many couriers travelling by air from one region to another to take more devious routes in an attempt to avoid the suspicion of enforcement authorities at airports and border crossings.

This was particularly noticeable in the heroin-trafficking routes from Asia to Europe. Increasing use was made of commercial goods as a means of concealment for drugs. Many reports described numerous types of articles both of a commercial and personal nature which had been used for this purpose and also showed that air freight was being used more frequently as a means of despatch.

Seizures reports showed that of all the persons implicated in drug offences throughout the world the age group 15-25 years predominated. In many countries the number of foreign offenders apprehended for drug offences increased, as did the number of countries from which they came.

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 the Sub-Commission's study tour of the region and approved the report and its recommendations. The representative of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics said that he was abstaining from approval of the recommendations appearing in the Sub-Commission's report. The representative of Iran informed the Commission that his Government would be pleased to act as host to the meeting of the Working Group which the Sub-Commission had recommended should take place during 1977.

After the debate on the report of the Meeting of Operational Heads of National Narcotics Law Enforcement Agencies in the Far East Region, held at Manila from 15 to 19 November 1976, the Commission decided to take note of the report and of its recommendations. In this context the Commission adopted its decision 2 (XXVII) on the subject of attendance of observers from countries situated outside the Far East Region at future meetings of operational heads of national narcotics law enforcement agencies.

Annual reports of Governments

The Commission reviewed the summary of annual reports of Governments for 1975. Noting with regret that a number of countries do not submit regularly their reports to the Secretary-General, the Commission adopted the following resolution:

Resolution 2 (XXVII). Submission to the Secretary-General of annual reports on the working of the international treaties on narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances,

The Commission on Narcotic Drugs,

Recalling article 21 of the Convention for the Limitation of the Manufacture of Narcotic Drugs, signed at Geneva on 13 July 1931, article 10.1 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, signed at New York on 23 June 1953, article 18.1 of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961, signed at New York on 25 March 1961, and of that Convention as amended by the Protocol Amending the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961, signed at Geneva on 25 March 1972 and article 16.1 of the Convention on Psychotropic Substances signed at Vienna on 21 February 1971, which create for all Parties to these conventions the obligations to submit an annual report to the Secretary-General in accordance with a form drawn up by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs,

Aware that some Parties to these Conventions have not regularly fulfilled their obligations to submit such an annual report to the Secretary General,

Considering the importance of such reports for the proper evaluation of all aspects of the global situation with respect to narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances,

  1. Requests Parties to these Conventions which have not yet been able to fulfil regularly their obligation to submit annual reports to the Secretary-General to make every effort to do so in the future;

  2. Invites Governments which are not under a treaty obligation to submit such reports to co-operate nevertheless as fully as possible with the Commission on Narcotic Drugs by voluntarily submitting such annual reports, in order to facilitate the task of the Commission of evaluating on a truly world-wide basis the situation with respect to narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.

Report of the International Narcotics Control Board for 1976

This report (E/INCB/33)* was introduced by the President of the Board who noted that the principal aspects of the drug problem had not changed greatly during the course of 1976 and that the illicit production, traffic and misuse of opiates, cannabis, cocaine and psychotropic substances continued to cause concern.

There had, however, been a number of important positive developments. Of primary importance had been the coming into force of the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances. He hoped that the number of Parties to the treaty would increase rapidly and that more major manufacturing countries would be included among them. Another positive aspect was the progress in regional co-operation exemplified by the coming into effect of the South American Agreement on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances and the further development of interregional collaboration.

At the suggestion of the Chairman of the Commission, the section of the report entitled "Supply of raw materials for the licit manufacture of opiates" was discussed under the item dealing with the "World requirements of opiates for medical and scientific purposes and the position in regard to their supply".

The President of the Board praised the work supported by UNFDAC in a number of countries and the determination of the Governments concerned. Control measures had been reinforced and programmes of crop substitution, law enforcement, prevention and treatment undertaken. He paid tribute to Turkey for its remarkable achievement in resolving the opium problem in that country. During 1976, a mission had visited the Laos People's Democratic Republic and Nepal and, at the request of UNFDAC, had made recommendations on the furnishing of assistance to those two countries. Nepal had since adopted a new narcotics law to strengthen its action against traffickers and had resumed furnishing data to the Board on the licit movement of drugs.

Within the framework of the permanent dialogue which it is required to maintain with Governments, the Board, with the assistance of the Fund and in collaboration with the Division of Narcotic Drugs, had conducted a seminar for national drug control officials at Santa Cruz, Bolivia, designed to help Latin American Governments to better meet their treaty obligations. He thanked the Bolivian Government for its valuable assistance and for the information it had given at the seminar on the efforts it had undertaken to prevent illicit trafficking and abuse and to reduce the cultivation of coca leaves.

The growth of the traffic in opiates and the abuse of heroin were of particular concern to the Board. Some South-East Asian countries had recorded increases in addiction, and the quantities of heroin coming from those countries seized in Western Europe had grown and had approached those seized during the peak year 1972, of the now dismantled "French Connexion". The Board was endeavouring to assist the Governments of those countries to remedy the situation.

The President of the Board noted the problem which could be posed by an over-production of narcotic raw materials for the licit manufacture of opiates. In the field of narcotics, whatever might be the needs and the importance of economic considerations, it was not they alone which should dictate the solution of any problem. Recently, when there had been a serious shortage of opiate raw materials, the largest producer of those raw materials had maintained-even though the text of the treaties did not specifically require it-fair trading conditions with regard to quantities and prices, without being motivated by purely economic considerations. Another large State, in order to relieve the shortage, had released a part of its stocks without disturbing market equilibrium.

In conclusion, the President of the Board thanked the six departing Board members for their efforts in the cause of drug control. In addition, he paid a tribute to Mr. Joseph Dittert, the former Secretary of the Board, who had retired on 31 January 1977, for his outstanding contribution to international narcotics control over a period of 40 years.

The Commission, in its debate on this item, gave a positive evaluation of the report of the Board and the Economic and Social Council adopted a resolution, the text of which reads as follows:

E/RES/2068 (LXII) Report of the International Narcotics Control Board

The Economic and Social Council,

Having considered the report of the International Narcotics Control Board on its work in 1976,

Recalling its resolution 2000 (LX) of 12 May 1976,

  1. Expresses its appreciation to the members of the International Narcotics Control Board for their distinguished service in international drug control;

  2. Expresses its appreciation, in particular, of the service of those members whose terms of office expired during 1977, and of the outstanding contribution rendered by M. J. Dittert, who has retired after forty years' service to the Board, the last ten years as its Secretary;

  3. Commends the Board for its comprehensive and valuable report on its work in 1976;

  4. Recommends that report to the urgent attention of all Member States.

Scientific research

The Commission noted the progress made in the United Nations scientific research programmes. As in the past, one of the main functions of the United Nations Narcotics Laboratory was the co-ordination of research being carried out within the programmes, particularly so as to avoid unnecessary duplication of effort. Close contact was maintained with scientists participating in the programmes and the Laboratory continued to arrange for the exchange of materials needed for the investigations. International collaboration was expanded during the period under review, and several representatives described the research being carried out in their respective countries.

Research was accelerated to increase, for medical purposes, the production efficiency for phenanthrene alkaloids (morphine, codeine and thebaine) per unit of cultivated area. The Laboratory has expanded its collection of germ-plasm of both Papaver somniferum and Papaver bracteatum and has integrated these materials into plant selection and breeding projects to develop varieties better adapted to environmental conditions. This research includes work on the identification of plants with high alkaloid content, winter hardiness, pest resistance and uniformity of capsule height and maturity.

An important part of the research programme is devoted to the development of better cultural, harvesting and storage practices to increase the production efficiency per unit of area. These improvements would mean a considerable increase in codeine yield, which could result in a reduction in area under cultivation and better control. In this connexion, studies are being carried out in Bulgaria, Egypt, France, Hungary, India, Spain, Poland, Turkey and the United States of America and considerable progress has been reported.

Investigations on the biosynthesis of phenanthrene alkaloids is being undertaken in the Netherlands and Norway. Research is also under way in the United States of America to elucidate the development of laticifers and latex vessels in capsules of the poppy plants. Information from these studies will substantially aid in understanding the biosynthetic pathway and storage of alkaloids in both Papaver species.

A semi-quantitative thin-layer chromatographic procedure was developed for the determination of the phenanthrene alkaloids. This method was in wide-scale use in the evaluation and selection of plants with superior alkaloid content. Research was also continuing on the development of suitable quantitative methods for the determination of morphine, codeine and thebaine in straw.

In 1976 the fourth working group on Papaver bracteatum was held in France and an expert group was convened in the United States of America to review the research on increasing codeine production. The recommendations of both groups were being implemented in order to accelerate the research. The Commission noted that, when adequate scientific data and technology were available, it would be possible to ensure annual recurring quantities of phenanthrene alkaloids to be obtained from a significantly smaller area of cultivation, so adjusted as to avoid over-production, but adequate to satisfy the world demand for codeine and to ensure the maximum control.

Significant advances were made in the research on the chemical composition of khat ( Catha edulis Forsk.) and 27 components have now been isolated. Most of these are nitrogen-containing substances that have not previously been reported in nature. Of these 27 components, 6 are phenylalkylamine derivatives and related compounds, 15 are high-molecular-weight polyester-type alkaloids and 6 are neutral substances.

Of particular interest was the elucidation of the chemical structures of the highly complex alkaloid components and, in this connexion, very close collaboration was developed between the United Nations Narcotics Laboratory and the Department of Chemistry at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom. Further investigations were also made on the phenylalkylamine components and in this research the Laboratory collaborated closely with the United States National Institutes of Health.

Qualitative and quantitative differences in chemical composition were found between samples from Kenya and Yemen and it was suggested that it would be of interest to study khat material from other geographical regions.

Thus far, khat components had been isolated only in small amounts, but efforts were now being directed towards producing compounds in amounts adequate for pharmacological testing. Comprehensive data on the effects of khat were essential, in order to assist the countries concerned in dealing with the problems resulting from chewing of khat.

It was noted that serious medical, social and economic problems were associated with the chewing of khat in Democratic Yemen, Somalia and Yemen. There were also indications that the use of khat was spreading to neighbouring countries. The Commission was informed that a joint study would be undertaken by the Pan-Arab Organization for Agricultural Development and the Regional Office of FAO to review the question of khat as a whole.

In the cannabis research programme, further investigations were carried out on the isolation and characterization of components of cannabis and cannabis smoke, with a view to identifying biologically active ones. Studies were being carried out in many countries on various aspects of cannabis and the United Nations Narcotics Laboratory had continued to provide the samples of cannabis and cannabis components needed for the research.

A working group of experts was convened at the University of Mississippi, (USA) to consider the botany and chemotaxonomy of cannabis and the group defined certain areas where further research was needed.

In view of the interest expressed in the possible use of herbicides for the destruction of illicit narcotic crops, UNFDAC considered that it would be appropriate for the United Nations Narcotics Laboratory to take preliminary steps to obtain information on this subject. An Advisory Panel was therefore convened in Geneva to discuss the feasibility of the use of herbicides. The Panel made recommendations in respect of data collection, research and international collaboration and it had also suggested that a background document should be prepared for the guidance of Governments expressing interest in the use of herbicides. Reference was made in the Commission to the caution needed in the selection and use of herbicides in order to protect man and the environment and the Commission was informed that herbicides had been used successfully for the eradication of illicit crops in Mexico.

As in previous years, technical assistance in the form of training in methods for the identification and analysis of drugs of abuse was provided by the United Nations Narcotics Laboratory and, during the period under review, fellowship-holders were received from Antigua, Burma, India, Iran, Mexico, Pakistan, Poland, Thailand and Turkey. The UN Laboratory had contributed to the strengthening of national narcotics laboratories in areas directly affected by the illicit traffic. Technical information, advice and reference samples were provided for laboratories in many developing countries and in collaboration with UNFDAC, equipment was also provided for some laboratories.

The Commission expressed its appreciation of the considerable progress achieved in the United Nations research programmes on drugs of abuse and of the work accomplished by the United Nations Narcotics Laboratory during the period under review.

World requirements of opiates for medical and scientific purposes and the position in regard to their supply

For the consideration of this item the Commission had before it the following documents: the pertinent section of the report of the INCB for 1976 which evaluated the effects of the changes in pattern of production and consumption of opiates; a report prepared by the UN Narcotics Laboratory describing the research carried out to increase the production efficiency for phenanthrene alkaloids (per unit of cultivated land) and a working paper submitted by Canada entitled "Demand and supply in the licit international trade in opiates and their raw materials".

It was the opinion of a number of delegations that current trends indicated a world-wide excess in the production of narcotic raw materials for medical and scientific requirements, with a risk of adverse consequences, resulting in economic dislocations and the increased availability of such materials for illicit purposes. The Commission, bearing in mind the responsibilities conferred on the Board by the 1961 Convention, would appreciate the Board continuing to follow the situation carefully and endeavouring to bring about a balance between the world requirements of opiates for legitimate purposes and the supply of narcotic raw materials. The hope was expressed that all Governments would continue to co-operate fully with the Board to that end and would provide the information necessary to enable the Board to make realistic world-wide projections, and that, within the framework of existing international treaties, the Board would consider arrangements for making possible long-term forecasts.

In the opinion of a number of delegations, it should be recommended to the Board that in co-operation with the Division of Narcotic Drugs and UNFDAC, a thorough economic and technical study be made of the effects of various systems of cultivation and production of raw materials on the manufacture of opiates and of possible changes from opium production to Papaver somniferum poppy straw cultivation and eventually to Papaver bracteatum cultivation, taking into account other relevant factors. Advice should also be given to the Commission on the control of Papaver bracteatum and contingency plans for overproduction should be developed involving production controls, stock-piling or such other measures as the Board might consider appropriate.

The Report of the United Nations Narcotics Laboratory on the progress of international scientific research aimed at ensuring adequate supplies of codeine (the major opiate in world production) for medical and scientific purposes, under conditions designed to ensure the maximum control was favourably noted by delegations. In view of the fact that many facets of that work had not been completed, the Laboratory should continue its endearours to complete it. It was noted that thebaine was a substance under control in accordance with the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961, and that alkaloid could be extracted from Papaver bracteatum, a species of the genus Papaver which was not under international control. Some delegations expressed the view that the absence of information on the cultivation of Papaver bracteatum and on the quantities used for the extraction of thebaine to produce codeine could constitute an obstacle to the rapid and thorough assessment of licit thebaine and thus codeine production.

That was required to permit the Board to fulfil its task of making estimates of the total world production of narcotic raw materials, with a view to limiting production to the amount essential for licit purposes.

The majority of the delegations referred to proposals to commence the commercial exploitation of Papaver bracteatum to meet part of domestic medical requirements and expressed great concern and reservations regarding the desirability of such action. Some delegations were of the opinion that the Commission should recommend that Governments not now cultivating poppies for the production of opiates should continue to refrain from cultivating any species of poppy for that purpose. Some delegations expressed the view that Papaver bracteatum should be used as a replacement crop for Papaver somniferum only.

The Commission adopted a recommendation, 1 (XXVII), whereby Governments which have not yet cultivated poppy are urged to give the most careful consideration in taking all decisions on issues related to starting the cultivation of Papaver bracteatum for commercial purposes. In this connexion, the Economic and Social Council adopted a resolution on this subject which reads as follows:

Resolution 2067 (LXII). Restriction of the cultivation of the poppy

The Economic and Social Council,

Recalling recommendation 1 (XXVII) on restriction of the cultivation of the poppy, adopted by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs at its twenty-seventh session,

  1. Endorses recommendation 1 (XXVII) of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs;

  2. Requests the Secretary-General to transmit to all Governments the opinions and proposals submitted during the debate on these issues at the twenty-seventh session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and the sixty-second session of the Economic and Social Council;

  3. Invites Member States to submit, through the Secretary-General, comments on this issue to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs at its next session and to the International Narcotics Control Board.

Implementation of the international treaties

With regard to the implementation of international treaties, the Commission noted that, as of the date of the session, 108 States had become Parties to the Single Convention, 43 to the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, 55 to the 1972 Protocol amending the Single Convention and 1 to the Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol. The Commission was also informed that several legal commentaries had been published by the UN in relation to the treaties and that the text of the Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol had as well been issued in several languages.

By its decision 3 (XXVII), the Commission decided to publish the text of the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances in a sufficient number of copies in English, French, Russian and Spanish. This publication will also include the text of the Final Act and resolutions adopted by the UN Conference for the adoption of a Protocol on Psychotropic Substances as well as the Schedules annexed to the Convention.

The Commission deliberated during several meetings on the implementation of the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances. The 1971 Convention entered into force on 16 August 1976. In this connexion, the Commission adopted the following resolutions:

Resolution 3 (XXVII). Measures to implement the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances

The Commission on Narcotic Drugs,

Bearing in mind the role of the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances in the control of the marketing and use of certain medicaments,

Recognizing the need on the one hand to ensure the availability of effective therapeutic substances and on the other to protect public health against their undesirable effects,

Having regard, in particular to articles 2, 3, 10 and 20 of the Convention, which expressly or implicitly concern the World Health Organization and entrust it with a number of responsibilities,

Having regard to resolution 31/125, adopted at the 102nd meeting of the United Nations General Assembly at its thirty-first session, relating to the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances and inviting the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Director-General of the World Health Organization to take into consideration their respective responsibilities under the Convention,

Recommends:

  1. That the World Health Organization should as a matter of extreme urgency make all the necessary arrangements to enable it to discharge as rapidly as possible the functions assigned to it under the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances;

  2. That Governments which have not yet done so should be urged to ratify, or to accede to, the 1971 Convention.

Resolution 4 (XXVII). Control measures for salts of substances listed in the Schedules to the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971

The Commission on Narcotic Drugs,

Noting that the substances listed in the Schedules to the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, denominated chemically as bases or acids, are in most cases insoluble in water and therefore not always suitable for pharmaceutical and medical use,

Realizingthat most of those scheduled substances are manufactured, distributed and used in the form of their salts,

Cognizantof the fact that most countries in their laws and regulations provide for the same controls over the salts of such substances as apply to the substances themselves,

Convincedthat it is desirable that the salts of all the substances listed in the Schedules should be subject to the same control measures as the substances themselves,

  1. Recommendsthat Governments which have not already done so promptly apply the same control measures to salts of all substances listed in the Schedules of the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances as are applied to the substances themselves;

  2. Further recommends the World Health Organization, possessing all the information required, to notify the Secretary-General at its earliest convenience of the need to have the salts of such substances included in the Schedules to the 1971 Convention.

Resolution 5 (XXVII). Special administration for the application of the provisions of the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971

The Commission on Narcotic Drugs

Recallingarticle 6 of the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971, as well as article 15 of the 1931 Convention for Limiting the Manufacture and Regulating the Distribution of Narcotic Drugs as amended by the 1946 Protocol, and, in particular, article 17 of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961, and the same article of that Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol,

Convincedthat the aims of the above-mentioned Conventions would be achieved best by the establishment and maintenance, in each country, of a special administration which would be in charge of the application of the provisions of both the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971 and the international treaties on the control of narcotic drugs,

  1. UrgesGovernments to establish and maintain, in their respective countries, a special administration for the purpose of applying the provisions of both the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971 and the international treaties on the control, of narcotic drugs, in particular the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961, and that Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, in order to ensure common and co-ordinated action at the national level in the control of all drugs of abuse under international control;

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

Furthermore, the Commission adopted three decisions in relation to the implementation of the Convention. By decision 4 (XXVII), the Commission decided that, in addition to transmitting the texts of important laws and regulations on the control of psychotropic substances to the Secretary-General, Parties to that Convention should henceforth report to the Secretary-General on important changes with regard to such laws and regulations and should transmit to him also the texts of such changes. It also took action by decision 5 (XXVII) to entrust the Division of Narcotic Drugs with the publication of such texts of laws and regulations in the E/NL. series, the new title of which should be "National laws and regulations relating to the control of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances".

Decision 6 (XXVII) deals with a vote by correspondence in order to include in the respective Schedules the Salts of the substances listed in Schedules I to IV annexed to the 1971 Convention. In accordance with the relevant articles of the 1971 Convention, the Commission also established the forms for the import authorization, the export authorization and the export declaration, with regard to certain substances and preparations under the control of that Convention. Parties to the Convention are required to follow those forms established by the Commission.

The Commission finally requested the secretariat to study and to prepare for the Commission's consideration, in close co-operation with the competent specialized agencies and other international organizations, in particular with the WHO, a number of other matters related to the implementation of the 1971 Convention which include, inter alia, the question of the exemption of preparations from certain control measures and the carrying by international travellers of small quantities of preparations for personal use.

United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control and operations financed by it

The Commission considered the report of the UN Fund for Drug Abuse Control, which presented a summary of operations by sectors of activity, concentrating on developments during the past year. More detailed descriptions of all projects undertaken with Fund Support were provided in an addendum to the report, consisting of individual progress reports on all operations financed by the Fund from 1971 to 1976.

During that period, the Fund has supported a total of 88 projects and programmes, of which 21 have been completed. The Fund has already taken steps to arrange independent outside evaluations for some large projects it supports and will arrange others at the appropriate time. The Fund budget for 1976 was $US 9.1 million, with $US 10.1 million projected for 1977. Based on continuing multi-year programmes and anticipated new requests, Fund budgets are expected to continue at about the same level in subsequent years. However, the Fund's yearly income is around $US 5 million. In order to maintain the Fund's budget level active attempts are being made to increase the contributions of Governments on the one hand and on the other to cut down the actual expenditure in 1977 to $US 7.2 million.

In 1976, the Fund launched an intensified campaign to inform Governments about programmes supported and financed by the Fund, with a view to obtaining sustained and increased voluntary contributions. Increased efforts have also been made to generate support among non-governmental organizations and the general public. The number of contributing Governments has gone up from 40 in 1975 to 70 in March 1977, and the total contributions to the Fund reached nearly $US 29 million.

The Fund-assisted programme of the Government of Turkey has led to the complete disappearance of opium of Turkish origin from the illicit traffic.

Since the introduction of the law enforcement project in Afghanistan supported by the Fund, the national narcotics police have seized ever greater quantities of opium, these reaching 14 tons in 1976.

The crop replacement and community development project in Thailand has shown that the opium poppy can be successfully replaced, with equal or better financial benefits to the farmer. Similarly impressive results can be produced elsewhere. Bolivia, Burma, Pakistan and Peru have entered into agreements with the Fund and the Division of Narcotic Drugs, and an agreement with the Laos People's Democratic Republic is under discussion. Increased attention is given to projects for the reduction of illicit demand for drugs, in keeping with the policy guidance given by the Commission, notably the relevant components of the programmes in Burma, Pakistan and Thailand, as well as projects executed by WHO and UNESCO.

In addressing the Commission the Executive Director of the Fund said that the Fund had always been intended as a trigger mechanism to show what could be done, not as a replacement for funds which should be set aside in the regular budgets of the various UN agencies. Both international and national agencies which dispensed development aid should be made to realize that the aid provided through the Fund to farmers who had previously cultivated illicit narcotic crops was in fact reaching the "poorest of the poor", in keeping with the purpose of development aid.

The Executive Director paid tribute to countries which have made contributions to the Fund. He thanked the countries receiving Fund assistance for their persistent efforts to curb drug abuse. Recognizing their difficulties in meeting their international obligations, difficulties which had in fact been the main reason for creating the Fund, he pointed out that it was the responsibility of National Governments to apply the results of pilot projects to wider opium-producing areas, with assistance as needed from the international community. The Fund itself could not provide financial assistance on a continuing basis but the Fund could assist whenever possible in these efforts to secure such assistance from wider sources. The financial situation of the Fund prevented it at the present time from undertaking new commitments or renewing programmes which were running out.

He then outlined a strategy for the reduction of opium supply, whereby efforts would be concentrated on the "Golden Triangle" in view of actual or expected successes in other regions. Governments in South East Asia had recognized the growing problem in their region and had determined to fight it. He cited Thailand as the key to the "Golden Triangle" because of that country's geographical position as an outlet for nearly all the opium produced in the entire "Golden Triangle". He recognized the valiant efforts of the Thai authorities to solve this problem, and drew attention to the success of the Fund-supported crop replacement and community development project.

The Fund and the Division were congratulated on the informative documents presented to the Commission and nearly all delegations expressed their general satisfaction with the success of operations financed by the Fund.

In view of the difficult financial situation, a number of delegations felt that the Fund should concentrate on the consolidation of existing projects and not take on any new commitments until additional resources became available. On the other hand, several African representatives supported by other delegations, considered that such an attitude would be unfair, in view of the fact that the Fund had financed very few operations in Africa, and dangerous because the drug situation was potentially explosive in many countries, which might find themselves compelled to apply for urgent assistance from the Fund. As a result of the debate on this question, the Commission recommended the adoption of a draft resolution by the Economic and Social Council. The text of the resolution which was endorsed by the Council reads as follows:

E/RES/2065 (LXII) Special attention to be devoted to African countries in preventing and combating abuse of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances

The Economic and Social Council,

Recalling resolution II adopted by the United Nations Conference to consider amendments to the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961, in which the Conference states that the fulfilment by the developing countries of their obligations under the Convention will be facilitated by adequate technical and financial assistance from the international community,

Recognizingthat many African countries, particularly those south of the Sahara, lack the resources to enable them to fulfil their obligations under the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961, and that Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and under the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances,

Taking note of the efforts so far made by certain specialized bodies of the United Nations to preyent and combat drug abuse in some African countries,

Noting that despite these efforts the actual situation in the field with regard to drug abuse is beginning to show undeniable signs of gravity,

  1. Invites the Secretary-General to ensure that the various specialized bodies of the United Nations and the specialized agencies shall devote special attention to the African countries, particularly those south of the Sahara, and assign to them some measure of priority in their programmes designed to combat narcotic drug abuse, particularly in such fields as epidemiological and sociological surveys, technical assistance, personnel training, regional seminars, regional co-operation, treatment, social rehabilitation and reintegration, information and education and crop replacement;

  2. . Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs at its next session on the measures taken or planned.

The view was expressed by several delegations that the Fund should continue to concentrate its resources on forms of assistance offering the most direct benefit, particularly country programmes. In this connexion the Commission recommended the text of a draft resolution to the Council. The resolution as adopted by the Council reads as follows:

E/RES/2066 (LXII). Co-ordination of technical and financial assistance in areas of illicit production of narcotic raw materials

The Economic and Social Council,

Recallingparagraph 4 of its resolution 1559 (XLIX) of 11 November 1970,

Recognizing the importance of economic and social measures in the struggle against drug abuse,

Convincedthat projects concerned with providing farmers and others dependent on the illicit cultivation of narcotic plants with alternative economic and social opportunities can make, as part of a national development programme including control measures, an important contribution to the progressive elimination of such dependence and can help to meet countries' own economic and social needs, as well as the world demand for food,

Convincedthat narcotics-related projects, including projects developed on a pilot basis and aimed at replacing such illicit cultivation of raw materials by alternative economic opportunities, if acceptable on their economic merits to the multilateral institutions, could generate supplementary assistance for national economic and social development programmes of the Governments concerned and help to meet obligations under the international drug control treaties,

  1. Urges the Governments concerned with crop replacement projects to take into account the strong desirability of including such projects as referred to above as additional and integrated components in their development programmes when applying for technical or financial assistance or both from multilateral institutions for the realization of those projects;

  2. Invites all Governments, the competent United Nations organs and organizations, the specialized agencies and other international or multilateral financial institutions, when considering applications for development assistance from Governments concerned in the progressive elimination of such illicit cultivation, to give special attention, to the extent feasible, to such programmes and projects;

  3. Requeststhe Secretary-General to transmit the text of the present resolution to all Governments, to the executive heads of the United Nations bodies and agencies concerned, including the United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control, the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, the World Food Programme, the World Bank and other international or multilateral financial institutions engaged in development assistance.

Furthermore, the Commission adopted decision 8 (XXVII) regarding the establishment of a machinery for the issuing of policy guidelines by the Commission to the Fund. In the decision, the Commission requests the Executive-Director of UNFDAC and the Director of the Division of Narcotic Drugs, among other things, to further study this question and to develop further proposals, in particular based on the need for a pragmatic and inexpensive solution.

Publications of the Division of Narcotic Drugs

The Commission noted the Bulletin on Narcotics had continued to publish articles on a wide range of current drug-related problems and matters dealing with drug abuse control. It commended the usefulness of this publication and reiterated its opinion as to the high quality of the Bulletin. Starting in 1977 the Spanish edition of the Bulletinwould be financed by the regular budget and published in the same form as the English and French editions.

With regard to the Information Letter, a publication financially supported by UNFDAC and issued in English, French and Spanish, the Commission was of the opinion that the Letterwas fulfilling an important role in disseminating current information on drug abuse control. Bearing in mind the lack of publications in the Arabic language on drug abuse control and the need for regular information for the Arabic countries on this subject, the Commission adopted decision 7 (XXVII) whereby the Information Letter will also be published in Arabic.

The Commission welcomed the publication of the English version of a booklet entitled The United Nations and Drug Abuse Control and recommended that it should be translated and published in other languages.

Adequate priority for international drug control

In the course of its debate on the agenda item "Programme of Work and Priorities", several representatives, referring to General Assembly resolution 3445 (XXX) entitled "Adequate priority for narcotics control", and the opinions expressed by the Commission since 1975, reiterated their deep concern about what they considered to be an unjustifiable low priority for international drug control. In that context, some delegations also stressed the recent entry into force of the 1971 Convention, which must be implemented by the Division of Narcotic Drugs as the competent body within the United Nations Secretariat, and which imposes additional functions. The Commission recommended the adoption by the Economic and Social Council of a draft resolution on the subject which the Council adopted with some substantial changes in operative paragraph two. The resolution as adopted by the Council reads as follows:

E/RES/2081 (LXII). Resources for international drug control

The Economic and Social Council,

Recalling the discussions which took place at the twenty-sixth session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and General Assembly resolution 3445 (XXX) of 9 December 1975, on adequate priority for narcotics control, as well as General Assembly resolution 31/125 of 16 December 1976, on accession to and implementation of the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances,

  1. Observes that the arguments previously put forward are still valid and in particular that they have become even more cogent in view of the recent entry into force of the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances;

  2. Recommends that the Committee for Programme and Co-ordination and the General Assembly should ensure that the necessary resources shall be allocated under the regular budget of the United Nations for international drug control bearing in mind the importance of this programme.

At the end of its twenty-seventh session, the Commission adopted its provisional agenda for the fifth special session to be held at Geneva in February 1978. The provisional agenda includes the following substantive items: Illicit traffic; Drug abuse and measures to reduce illicit demand; Implementation of the international treaties on the control of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances; Reports of international organs, organizations and bodies on their activities in the field of drug control; Report of the INCB for 1977 and world requirements of opiates for medical and scientific purposes and the position in regard to their supply; Report of the UN Fund for Drug Abuse Control and reports related to operations financed by it; and Programme of work and priorities.