World Humanitarian Day 2022 (#ItTakesAVillage)


Simplify Control Procedures on Controlled Substances during Humanitarian Emergencies

Vienna, 19 August 2022 - On World Humanitarian Day 2022, the International Narcotics Control Board calls on governments to adopt simplified control measures on controlled substances during humanitarian emergencies, to foster access to medicines and assist the work of humanitarian aid workers. 

With an increasing number of conflict-related humanitarian emergencies and all-time high humanitarian needs, the theme of World Humanitarian Day 2022 (#ItTakesAVillage) highlights the danger faced by humanitarian aid workers and the importance of supporting them in the delivery of humanitarian aid.

Internationally controlled substances such as morphine, diazepam and phenobarbital, listed as WHO essential medicines, form part of the humanitarian aid that can be provided by frontline workers to effectively provide trauma care and pain control during conflict-related humanitarian emergencies. Accelerated access to controlled substances can be guaranteed if governments adopt simplified control measures during such emergencies, which allows faster delivery to emergency sites and improved access for distribution to affected communities.

Joining the "village" of humanitarians facing this issue on a daily basis, INCB encourages governments to follow the Model Guidelines for the International Provisions of Controlled Medicines for Emergency Medical Care , which details how competent national authorities may permit the export of medicines containing narcotic drugs and/or psychotropic substances to areas of emergencies, in the absence of corresponding import authorizations and/or estimates.

Providing further details on the formulation and application of simplified control measures in an increasingly uncertain humanitarian landscape, INCB's factsheet Lessons from countries and humanitarian aid organizations in facilitating the Timely Supply of Controlled Substances during Emergency Situations (2021) summarized the latest lessons learnt from countries and medical emergency relief organizations in their provision and delivery of controlled substances.

In supporting Governments and their competent authorities on the implementation of the international drug control conventions, a chapter dedicated to how to ensure availability in humanitarian emergency situations, has also been included in INCB Learning's latest e-module on Adequate Availability.

INCB stands ready to facilitate the international movement of controlled substances during humanitarian emergencies and encourages governments and humanitarian aid organizations to bring to its attention challenges they face.

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