Sustained efforts and cooperation in drug control essential to prevent suffering, says International Narcotics Control Board

Photo: INCB President Professor Hamid Ghodse11 November 2011 - The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) held its 102nd session in Vienna this week to review efforts at the international and national levels to implement the international drug control conventions.

Speaking at the meeting, the President of the Board, Professor Hamid Ghodse, said: "While the Board welcomes the continued efforts of Governments, the international community and civil society, these efforts in drug control must be sustained in order to prevent the suffering caused by drug abuse and inadequate access to internationally controlled medicines for medical purposes."

The Board reviewed national requirements for narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and precursors (chemicals used in the manufacture of illicit drugs). INCB strives to facilitate access to those substances for licit purposes worldwide while ensuring that the availability of the raw materials used in their manufacture is not such that it poses a risk of diversion of licit drugs for illicit use.

The Board identified both developments and shortcomings in the international drug control system that will be brought to the attention of Governments in the Board's Annual Report for 2011, which will be launched in early 2012.

UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov thanked the INCB for its important contribution to ongoing efforts to combat drug production and trafficking, noting that both UNODC and INCB are moving forward in unison through their work, cooperation with Member States and discussions on the issue of drug control. "These problems cannot be solved by individual initiatives, however well intended. They require the firm commitment and resolve of nations working within the framework of the drug conventions and universal human rights. UNODC is promoting greater collaboration among Member States to combat drug production and trafficking," he added.

Regarding  cooperation with Member States, Mr. Fedotov said: "We need all countries in all regions of the globe to participate. We cannot leave any country outside the framework for drug control. The stakes are far too high and the drug traffickers only too willing to take advantage of any weakening of our collective resolve. Also, the dialogue with others who do not agree with our direction must be ongoing."

Established by the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961, the International Narcotics Control Board is an independent, quasi-judicial body mandated to promote and monitor Government compliance with the international drug control conventions.