INCB countering precursor and opioids trafficking with its international partners

PANAMA CITY/VIENNA, 31 May 2018 - INCB raised concerns that trafficking in synthetic opioids, including fentanyls and their related precursors, which have contributed to increasing drug overdoses in North America, may spread to neighbouring countries in the region. Mr. Reiner Pungs, INCB precursors expert, identified new developments in precursors and fentanyls trafficking in the Americas, at the OAS/CICAD meeting of the Group of Experts on Chemical Substances and Pharmaceutical Products held in Panama City, Panama.

Addressing regional and national experts, Mr. Pungs stated that, "seizures of new psychoactive substances, including potent fentanyl-related substances, have been reported in South American countries and there may be possible links to active trafficking networks in North America". At INCB working group meetings on opioids trafficking held in January and April 2018, international experts linked the synthetic opioids overdose crisis to a high volume of internet transactions of fentanyls. Mr. Pungs presentation contrasted the challenges in interdicting the numerous low weight shipments within the international letter, express mail and courier systems, with large shipments of precursors.

In April, the heads of INCB and the Universal Postal Union (UPU) signed an agreement to counter the trafficking of dangerous synthetic opioids among the billions of letters and e-commerce packets sent annually. The signing of the agreement coincides with the Board's activities targeting trafficking of synthetic opioids and fentanyl-related substances, including through its newest initiative, the Operational Partnerships to Interdict Opioids' Illicit Distribution and Sales (OPIOIDS) Project

Mr. Pungs urged governments to, "identify national focal points in police, customs, postal and regulatory agencies to utilize the INCB secure global communication platforms and to share intelligence and information through these systems", referring to the Precursors Incident Communications System (PICS) and the Project ION Incident Communication System (IONICS).

The Board's Global Projects- Project PRISM, Project Cohesion, Project Ion and its OPIOIDS Project-are helping Governments to respond to changing trafficking patterns involving precursors, NPS and fentanyls by developing and quickly sharing specific intelligence on their sources and trafficking patterns, convening task forces and specialized intelligence operations, as well as providing information and alerts to Governments and partners like OAS/CICAD. INCB continues to make available to Governments tools, task forces, technical expertise and training designed to improve cooperation against precursor and drug trafficking and increase interdiction of these substances.


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Click here to learn more about INCB Precursor Controls

Click here to learn more about the OPIOIDS Project

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