55a CNDCommission on Narcotic Drugs concludes 2012 session with strong health focus

16 March 2012 - Wrapping up its week-long fifty-fifth session today in Vienna, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) agreed a set of decisions to prevent illicit drug use, while strengthening national and regional responses to worrying drugs trends.

Composed of 53 Member States, the policy-setting body of the United Nations on drug-control matters adopted 12 resolutions, including on the treatment, rehabilitation and social reintegration of drug-dependent prisoners; treatment as an alternative to incarceration; and preventing mortality from overdose.

Underlining the need for gender-specific interventions, the CND also called for the promotion of drug prevention, treatment and care for female drug addicts.  Another resolution urged more evidence-based strategies to prevent the use of illicit drugs, especially among young people.

In his closing remarks, Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), hailed the fundamental role of the three drugs conventions in safeguarding public health and told delegates: "it is only by acknowledging the drug conventions as the foundation for our shared responsibility that we can make successive generations safe from illicit drugs".

The CND acknowledged the role played by developing countries in sharing best practices, including through cross-continental and interregional cooperation, to promote alternative development programmes in poor rural communities dependent on the cultivation of illicit drug crops.

Among new issues to emerge during the current session of the CND was the increasing diversion of chemicals to manufacture illicit amphetamine-type stimulants, a group of synthetic drugs that includes ecstasy and methamphetamine. The Commission urged international cooperation to curb the manufacture of new psychoactive substances.  Through another resolution, States called for the development of an international electronic authorization system for the trade in controlled substances.

The 2012 session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, which met from 12 to 16 March, drew some 1,200 participants from 120 countries, observers, international organizations and NGOs.

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