Access to controlled drugs for medical purposes

At the 53rd session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) held in March 2010, the Commission adopted Resolution 53/4 "Promoting adequate availability of internationally controlled licit drugs for medical and scientific purposes while preventing their diversion and abuse".

"Ensuring availability of controlled medications for the relief of pain and preventing diversion and abuse - Striking the right balance to achieve the optimal public health outcome" is a discussion paper based on a scientific workshop and prepared as a conference room paper for the 54th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs. At this session, the adequate availability of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for medical and scientific purposes in accordance with the international drug control treaties was on the agenda. The discussion paper aims to complement two other major documents on availability of controlled medicines, namely the INCB's 2010 Annual Report, and particularly its supplement "Availability of internationally controlled drugs: ensuring adequate access for medical and scientific purposes", and the World Health Organization (WHO) revised " Ensuring balance in national policies on controlled substances: guidance for availability and accessibility of controlled medicines".

Building on the paper, UNODC has drafted a questionnaire with a view to enhance reporting on the impediments to ensuring the availability of pain medications whilst preventing diversion and abuse. UNODC welcomes comments on the draft questionnaire.