Legal Framework for Drug Trafficking

The three major international drug control treaties, the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961 (as amended in 1972), the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971, and the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988, are mutually supportive and complementary.

An important purpose of the first two treaties is to codify internationally applicable control measures in order to ensure the availability of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for medical and scientific purposes, and to prevent their diversion into illicit channels. They also include general provisions on illicit drug trafficking and drug abuse.

The 1988 United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances extends the control regime to precursors, and focuses on establishing measures to combat illicit drug trafficking and related money-laundering, as well as strengthening the framework of international cooperation in criminal matters, including extradition and mutual legal assistance.

The three conventions attribute important functions to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and to the International Narcotics Control Board:

UNODC has an important role in assisting these bodies in performing their treaty-based functions, and in assisting States Parties in the implementation of their obligations under the international drug control treaties.