The Global Synthetics Monitoring: Analyses, Reporting and Trends (SMART) programme works with Governments to assist them in generating and analysing data on the situation with respect to amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) and new psychoactive substances (NPS).

The expansion of the global synthetic drugs market, including amphetamine-type stimulants and new psychoactive substances, is a recent phenomenon and is becoming of increasing concern worldwide. ATS are a group of substances including amphetamine, methamphetamine and ecstasy-type substances. After cannabis, ATS are the second most widely used drugs in the world, with use levels often exceeding those of heroin and/or cocaine. In recent years NPS, such as synthetic cannabinoids, synthetic cathinones, phenethylamines, and others, have established themselves on the drug market. The number of NPS continues to increase and already exceeds the total number of substances under international control. NPS have a wide geographical spread and pose a health risk to the public while awareness remains limited. The negative impact of synthetic drugs on society is profound and there is a need for an integrated and consistent response.

 

As a response to the synthetic drug problem, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) launched the Global SMART Programme in 2008. The programme aims at enhancing the capacity of Member States in priority regions by providing technical support to laboratory personnel, law enforcement and research officers, to generate and use synthetic drug information for effective policy design and programme interventions. Core operations started in the UNODC Headquarters in Vienna and expanded to priority regions in form of regional teams. In East and South-East Asia, the programme is being implemented with the partner governments of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam. In 2011, SMART began operations in Latin America where, in cooperation with its implementing partner the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD).

The programme has set-up and strengthened online data-sharing mechanisms and provided training to priority countries on how to improve data generation and analysis of synthetic drugs. SMART specifically assesses the needs of Member States in priority regions in the systematic collection of drug data including, seizures, trafficking and use as well as forensic drug analysis capabilities. Capacity building activities are implemented to ensure that Member States can generate and manage information on synthetic drugs/new psychoactive substances through technical support in form of trainings/workshops targeted at laboratory personnel, law enforcement and research officers. In addition SMART ensures that information and data on synthetic drugs and new psychoactive substances are available and accessed in priority regions and globally.

   
    For further information on the Global SMART Programme please contact the UNODC SMART team.