New UN Toolkit on Synthetic Drugs offering cross-cutting resources and practical solutions

© UNODC

Vienna (Austria), 6 October 2020 — The non-medical use of synthetic opioids has reached epidemic levels in many countries with alarming public health consequences. These substances are extremely harmful and accounted for two thirds of deaths attributed to drug use disorders worldwide in 2018.

In response, the UNODC Opioid Strategy established the UN Toolkit on Synthetic Drugs to bring together over 230 cross-cutting resources and tools from across the UN system. This dedicated platform provides practical guidance towards identifying comprehensive solutions to the threats posed by synthetic drugs.

“Opioid use disorder deaths are up by 71 per cent over the past 10 years, and methamphetamine seizures are at a record high. To help countries protect health and take action, the UN Toolkit on Synthetic Drugs developed by UNODC provides practical resources on legislation, forensics, health policy and more,” said UNODC Executive Director Ghada Waly.

The Toolkit has been accessed by over 2,000 users in 92 countries to date. It is now available on a new website where users can access this specialized knowledge and expertise in an interactive and user-friendly manner.

Besides providing a wealth of tools and resources, the Toolkit includes a new Ask an Expert feature which allows users to contact specialists with their questions about the various topics presented in the Toolkit. With its up-to-date information, improved design and easy navigation, the Toolkit offers not only practical tools for identifying effective solutions, but also an enhanced user experience.

Justice Tettey, Chief of UNODC's Laboratory and Scientific Services, said that, "synthetic drugs constitute one of the most significant drug problems worldwide and countries need access to multi-disciplinary resources to address such challenges. The UN Toolkit on Synthetic Drugs brings together the know-how and innovative approaches of multiple UN agencies to help countries counter the challenges posed by these drugs."

The UN Toolkit on Synthetic Drugs was developed in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), the Universal Postal Union (UPU) and other international organizations working to counter threats related to synthetic drugs.

The Toolkit features a varied range of topics that are critical to addressing the challenges presented by synthetic drugs, from precursor chemicals and forensic analysis capacity, to postal security and access to controlled medicines. New features and resources will be added to the Toolkit regularly as well as versions in all other UN languages and a mobile app to broaden its reach.