Strengthening interdiction capacities of postal inspection, health regulatory and customs officers from South-East Asia and South Asia

Vienna, 07 December 2020 - INCB's Global Rapid Interdiction of Dangerous Substances (GRIDS) Programme hosted a virtual training on the Project ION Incident Communication System (IONICS) for customs, postal inspection and health regulatory officers from South Asia and South-East Asia. The 2-day training assembled more than 40 officers from Hong Kong SAR of China, India, Lao People´s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam and the Asia Pacific Post.

In his opening address, Mr. Fumio Ito, project manager for INCB Project ION highlighted the key role of customs and health regulatory officers as well as postal inspection officers to prevent trafficking of new psychoactive substances, synthetic drugs and precursors especially through the postal system. Concerned about recent developments Mr. Ito emphasized that "Due to their proximity to countries and territories that have been identified as manufacturing hubs of various NPS, South Asian and South East Asian countries are exposed to a particularly high risk of these dangerous substances passing through their territories."

In order to enhance interdiction capacities in the region participants were trained in the effective use of IONICS and received practical instructions on the identification, safe handling and interdiction of dangerous substances. INCB experts also provided participants with intelligence on the changing trafficking patterns and modus operandi of NPS in the region using the Board´s new visual analytics tool (GRIDS Intelligence Tool). In addition to contents related to new psychoactive substances (NPS) and non-medical synthetic opioids, participants were also briefed on basics of the international precursors control framework.

Operationally launched in February 2020, the INCB Global Rapid Interdiction of Dangerous Substances (GRIDS) Programme contributes to implementation of Uni ted Nations General Assembly Resolution 73/192 and CND Resolution 62/8, which calls for international cooperation to address and counter the world drug problem, by responding to requests by Member States to enhance their law enforcement capacity to detect and identify new psychoactive substances and promote intelligence-sharing and cross-border cooperation. As part of the GRIDS Programme, Project ION, the OPIOIDS Project, and the IONICS platform are practical tools to help Member States prevent and address illicit manufacture, marketing, movement, and monetization of dangerous new psychoactive substances (NPS), fentanyl-related substances, and their precursors, through the exchange of information and intelligence, operational cooperation as well as public-private partnerships.

The GRIDS Programme receives generous support from the Governments of Australia, Canada, Japan, and the United States. In particular, the present event was made possible through the support of the Government of Japan.

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