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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 trends on NPS, as a basis for effective evidence-based policy responses. It also serves as a repository for information/data on these substances and a platform for providing technical assistance to Member States. The system seeks to contribute to an improved understanding of the patterns of distribution and use of NPS.

Why was it 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 UNODC EWA was launched on the occasion of the World Drug Day on 26 June 2013.

Who administers it ?

The EWA is administered by the UNODC Global Synthetics Monitoring: Analyses, Reporting and Trends (SMART) programme. The programme seeks to improve the capacity of targeted Member States to generate, manage, analyze, report and use information on illicit synthetic drugs. The SMART programme operates from Vienna and has teams in Asia (Bangkok) and the Americas (Washington DC).

Who is the target audience ?

The EWA provides access to basic information on new psychoactive substances intended for the public. Specific information on NPS which is only available to registered users targets three main user groups - forensic drug laboratories, law enforcement authorities and policy makers/organizations.

What can the EWA provide to registered users?

The EWA can provide a wide range of services to registered users, it:

  • serves as a reference point and platform for collating and coordinating existing information on NPS at the global level;
  • provides knowledge to the international community in facilitating the understanding of NPS;
  • shows a real-time picture on the global emergence of NPS;
  • offers listings of new NPS, their emergence, and recent trends;
  • provides information on the different types of legislation in place including country specific information;
  • releases NPS briefs and a EWA Newsletter.

How is data collected ?

Data on NPS is collected from a variety of sources including:

  • The global survey on NPS conducted by the Global SMART programme (2012 and 2014);
  • The UNODC International Collaborative Exercises (ICE) programme with over 180 national forensic science laboratories in 60 countries;
  • Law enforcement data collected through the UNODC Individual Drug Seizure (IDS) Database;
  • The Annual Report Questionnaire (ARQ) submitted by all Member States;
  • Implementation of the statement of intent of the G-8 plus group under the UK presidency;
  • Proactive collection of data by the Global SMART teams in Asia using the Drug Abuse Information Network for Asia and the Pacific (DAINAP);
  • The Drug Abuse Information Network in Latin America and the Caribbean in collaboration with the Organization of American States;
  • Reports of regional networks of forensic science institutions;
  • Interagency meetings (EMCDDA INCB, Interpol, OAS, WADA, WCO and WHO) designed to facilitate sharing of data/information.