UNODC and the response to drugs

UNODC is the United Nations agency with a mandate to support countries in the implementation of three UN conventions on drugs:

Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961, as amended by the 1972 protocol
Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971
Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988

Based on these conventions, UNODC assists the Member States to develop their national legislations on drugs, seeking to establish legal frameworks of reference on the subject, nationally, regionally and globally.

Moreover, UNODC supports countries in developing answers to the problematic use of drugs and its adverse consequences to health, through the implementation of prevention actions and a network of integrated services of attention and assistance, based on scientific evidence, respect for human rights and ethical standards.

Commission on Narcotic Drugs - CND

UN's Economic and Social Council established the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), in 1946, as the central agency for drug related policies. The Commission allows Member States to analyze the global drug situation, pursue the decisions reached during the 20th Special Session of the General Assembly on drug related issues and take global measures within their scope of action. The Commission also monitors the implementation of the three international conventions on drug control and is qualified to act in all of the conventions' target areas, including the addition of substances to the international control lists.

More information on CND's mandate, functions, members, reports and other documents.

UNODC's action

UNODC's approach to the drugs issue is multi-faceted and encompasses the most diverse aspects of the subject, with orchestrated and specific actions in the areas of health, education and public safety, among others. On one side, in order to contribute to demand reduction, UNODC implements projects for prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of addicted subjects, as well as for preventing transmission of the HIV virus associated with drug use. On the other side, seeking to reduce supply, it promotes programmes to combat money laundering associated with the illegal drugs market, to monitor illicit crops and to strengthen governments' capacity to intercept and restrain drug trafficking.

In order to advance this work, UNODC undertakes efforts in promoting studies and analyses on drug production, traffic and consumption, in order to offer grounds for the implementation by the countries of interventions that are adequate to each national context. UNODC also offers legal assistance to countries for the implementation of UN's conventions and treaties for drug control, with the necessary adaptations to national legislations.

On the prevention area, UNODC promotes the construction of strategies directed towards information and knowledge to allow people, particularly the young, to develop their capabilities and to have the opportunity to make decisions that favour their quality of life.

On the issue of treatment, UNODC seeks to improve the quality of the responses to abuse and dependence on drugs through international cooperation and information interchange between different countries. The main global initiative in this direction is Treatnet.

UNODC promotes within different countries the development of strategies of attention to drug use, based on scientific evidence, using an approach that prioritizes respect to human rights and the real needs of the services' users in their clinical, motivational and social aspects.

UNODC publishes annually the World Drug Report, which gathers the main data and trends analyses on production, traffic and consumption of illegal drugs worldwide. The data are compiled by UNODC from questionnaires sent to the Member States and compose a reference document to guide global policies on drugs.

Youth and Drugs

The programmes designed to prevent the inadequate use of drugs are always considered the most important intervention and have as their priority target the youth. UNODC's work in this area is based on principles that call for the establishment of community-based action, with wide incentive to the participation of the youth; activities of extended perspective regarding different types of substances, with focus on people and social interactions; and the guarantee that other groups that can influence the youth's life conditions are considered in the programmes developed.

UNODC has been working on the identification and dissemination of good practices and reference documents, with the contribution of community and youth institutions, through two projects: the Global Youth Network and the Global Initiative on Primary Prevention of Substance Abuse.

With the help of the youth, members of academic institutions, professionals working in the area and other UN agencies, UNODC has been identifying what works better for prevention. Towards this end, the participation of the youth in this process contributes to more effective and lasting results.