Board's plan of action yielding early results in addressing the global synthetic opioids crisis

GEVENA, 26 September 2018 - National experts and international partners gathered at 5 th WHO-UNODC Expert Consultation on New Psychoactive Substances to discuss the threat posed by illicit synthetic opioids. The event focused on practical solutions to the challenges posed by trafficking and misuse of synthetic drugs, most notably dangerous fentanyl-related substances.

Photos: United Nations.

INCB highlighted practical actions taken under its global projects and outcomes realized from its synthetic opioids plan of action. Mr. Rossen Popov, Deputy Secretary of the Board stated, "the Board recognized early the threat illicit fentanyls posed and moved to rapidly review for scheduling key precursors", referring to the international scheduling of ANPP and 4-NPP in early 2017.

Panel experts repeatedly highlighted that international scheduling efforts and the limited information available could not keep up with the rate of new fentanyl-related substances appearing on illicit drug markets with deadly effect. Mr. Popov, stated that the Board's practical approach partnered with governments, international agencies, and in particular relevant industries to reduce availability of substances", pointing to most recent efforts with some of the largest internet trading platforms voluntarily removing fentanyls vendors from their marketplaces.

To assist in this endeavour, INCB recently established and released to governments, task forces and international partners and relevant industries a list of fentanyl-related substances with no currently known legitimate medical or industrial uses, inviting governments to refrain on a voluntary basis from the manufacture, import, export or distribution of these substances. "The focus here is from a proactive rapid consumer protection approach as a tool to accompany the on-going international scheduling efforts", saidMr. Popov.

INCB global OPIOIDS Project supports expansion and training of multi-agency national focal points in police, customs, postal and regulatory agencies in high-risk countries to share real-time operational intelligence through INCB secure global communication systems, Precursors Incident Communications System (PICS) and the Project ION Incident Communication System (IONICS).

The Board's global OPIOIDS Project, Project ION and Project PRISM, Project Cohesion, are helping Governments to respond to changing trafficking patterns involving fentanyl-related substance by quickly sharing specific intelligence on their sources and modus operandi, convening task forces and specialized intelligence operations, as well as providing information and alerts to Governments and partners in its efforts to interdict sales and distribution of these substances.


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