Guidelines for the Safe handling and disposal of chemicals used in the illicit manufacture of drugs


The safe handling, storage and disposal of seized chemicals, and waste encountered at clandestine drug laboratory sites present unique problems to law enforcement and regulatory authorities. The location where the chemicals are seized, along with the quantity and condition, are some of the determining factors as to how they are handled. In addition, the disposal of large quantities of seized drugs raises similar environmental concerns as that of seized chemicals.

The first United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Guidelines for the Safe Disposal of Chemicals used in the illicit manufacture of Drugs ( STNAR/36) was published in 2006. At the 33rd meeting of the Heads of Law Enforcement Agencies (HONLEA) Asia and Pacific, in Bali, Indonesia in 2010, Member States noted the significant increase in precursor chemicals discovered regionally and expressed concern about the difficulties encountered in storing and disposing of precursor chemicals in a safe and environmentally friendly manner.

The present Guidelines reflect the discussions of the Expert Group Meeting on the subject, held in Bangkok, Thailand, from 20 to 22 September 2010, and the elaboration of practical methods for the safe handling and disposal of large quantities of seized chemicals, usually under field conditions, and in situations where a waste management infrastructure may not be available. Subsequently, they do not include the entire "laboratory methods" reported in the previous edition but outline the main types of chemical waste disposal and treatment, and provide a comprehensive compilation of specific methods for individual chemicals. The present Guidelines also provides guidance for the identification of potential in-country resources as part of a broader national waste management strategy, outlines the role of the chemical disposal specialist and suggests contents of a training course to assist in introducing the appropriate expertise in the environmentally-responsible management of seized chemicals and other materials related to illicit drug laboratories.


UN document ID number: ST/NAR/36 Rev.1
Publication date: September 2011
Number of pages: 110
Languages: : English ( PDF), Spanish ( PDF), French ( PDF)