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What is the Early Warning Advisory?

The UNODC Early Warning Advisory (EWA) was launched in June 2013 as a response to the emergence of new psychoactive substances (NPS) at the global level. The EWA aims to monitor, analyze and report emerging trends on NPS, as a basis for effective evidence-based policy responses. It also serves as a repository for information/data on NPS and a platform for providing technical assistance to Member States.

Since 2017, the EWA Tox-Portal expands the scope of data collection to NPS identified in toxicology cases. The EWA Tox-Portal is an innovative tool to collect, analyse and share data on toxicology and harm related to the use of NPS at a global level.

Why was the EWA established? 

In its Resolution 56/4 (2013) entitled “Enhancing international cooperation in the identification and reporting of new psychoactive substances”, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) recognized the importance of sharing information on NPS at a global level. The CND urged UNODC to continue facilitating timely and comprehensive sharing of information on NPS including analytical methodologies, reference documents, mass spectra and trend-analysis data. Consequently, the EWA was launched on the occasion of the World Drug Day on 26 June 2013. 

Who administers the EWA?

The EWA is administered by the UNODC Laboratory and Scientific Services through its SMART Forensics Programme. The Programme seeks to improve the capacity of targeted Member States to generate, manage, analyze, report and use information on illicit synthetic drugs.  

Who is the target audience?

The EWA provides access to basic information on new psychoactive substances intended for the public. Specific information on NPS is only available to registered users which includes professionals working in forensic drug laboratories, law enforcement, border control and customs authorities, the health sector and other relevant entities. 

How is data collected?

The database of the EWA is updated weekly. The main data sources and collection mechanisms include: 

  • The global survey on NPS conducted by UNODC in 2012, 2014, 2016, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022;  
  • The network of laboratories participating in the UNODC International Collaborative Exercises (ICE) programme comprising of several hundred drug analysis laboratories in close to 100 countries and territories; 
  • The Annual Report Questionnaire (ARQ), UNODC’s mandatory annual drug data reporting mechanism; 
  • Data sharing arrangements with specific partners (see Partners).