Travelling Internationally with Medicines Containing Controlled Substances

The international drug control system enables travellers to carry small quantities of preparations containing narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for personal medical use only. The drug control treaties do not regulate this matter directly, but article 4(a) of the 1971 Convention permits Governments to introduce special provisions for international travellers to carry small quantities of preparations with psychotropic substances other than those listed in Schedule I of that Convention.

For International Travellers

Are you about to travel internationally with medicines containing controlled substances?

Many prescribed medicines contain substances that are internationally controlled. People travelling internationally with their medicines need to be aware of potential regulations before departing on their trip. INCB works with Governments and national authorities to gather information so travellers are aware of the legal status and regulations of a substance when entering a country.

Persons travelling internationally are strongly advised to carefully review the general information and the country specific information in the links below. INCB makes every effort to work with Governments to have the latest information available.

For Competent National Authorities

The INCB assists competent national authorities in the matter of international travellers carrying controlled substances in two ways.

1. Support for the Drafting of Regulations

The International guidelines for national regulations concerning travellers under treatment with internationally controlled drugs have been developed by UNODC and INCB pursuant to Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) resolution 44/15. The Guidelines are intended to support competent national authorities in establishing a regulatory framework for travellers under treatment carrying small quantities of preparations containing internationally controlled substances. Although it is not compulsory for States to implement the unified procedures suggested in the guidelines, their wide application would facilitate both the mutual disclosure of relevant information through INCB and the work of government authorities.

2. Publication of National Regulations

Countries are invited to submit to the INCB their national regulation regarding travellers under medical treatment carrying controlled substances (CND resolution 46/6). Such information should be submitted by filling in a standardized table.

INCB translates the submitted information from countries into all official UN languages and publishes them. The list of countries' regulation has proven to be a useful and much needed resource for both travellers and competent national authorities alike.

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