INCB President presents 2022 annual report to

Commission on Narcotic Drugs

VIENNA, 15 March 2023 - The President of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), Ms. Jagjit Pavadia, has presented the Board's 2022 Annual Report, Precursors Report and special supplement on availability to the sixty-sixth session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, which is taking place in Vienna from 13 to 17 March.

On the first day of the session, the INCB President addressed the opening segment, briefing on the most important drug-related challenges to health and wellbeing, namely: (i) the trend to legalize cannabis for non-medical purposes, (ii) the surge in illicit coca bush cultivation and cocaine production, (iii) the worsening overdose crisis in North America, (iv) the increasing use of non-scheduled chemicals and designer precursors in illicit drug manufacture, and (v) the disparities in the availability of and access to internationally controlled substances for medical purposes.

The President addressed the Commission under agenda item 5 (b) on Challenges and future work of the CND, the WHO and the INCB in the review of substances for possible scheduling. Ms. Pavadia highlighted the challenges that non-scheduled chemicals and the proliferation of designer precursors pose to international drug control efforts and the need to adopt effective solutions to address this situation. The review of the adequacy and propriety of Table I and Table 2 by the Commission has been mentioned by the President as a potential option to address the new challenges posed by unscheduled chemicals and designer chemicals, which are currently not adequately addressed internationally. Finally, the President reported on the increase in trafficking in new psychoactive substances, their misuse and deaths due to new non fentanyl opioids, such as the "nitazene" group of substances, which have been identified through INCB's GRIDS Programme.

Also addressing the Commission under agenda item 5 (c) on International Narcotics Control Board, the INCB President presented the Board's 2022 Annual Report, supplement on availability and Precursors Report, highlighting the Board's recommendations to Governments and international organizations. These include addressing the trend to legalize the non-medical use of cannabis, which was the focus of the thematic chapter of the annual report. Also covered was the surge in illicit cocaine production and trafficking, the importance of mental health, the promotion of equality and non-discrimination towards people who use drugs and in access to prevention, treatment and rehabilitation programmes, and the importance of electronic import and export authorizations as well as the responsibilities of transit countries. Ms. Pavadia also provided an update on INCB's work to assist Member States in implementing the drug control conventions and advancing the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular SDGs 3 and 16, and reiterated the INCB's position that all drug control policies must be consistent with international human rights obligations. The President also referred to the publication of guidance for governments to address the diversion of non-scheduled chemicals and in implementing CND Resolution 65/3. Finally, the President highlighted the work of the GRIDS Programme and INCB Learning in supporting Member States.

Under agenda item 5 (d) on International cooperation to ensure the availability of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for medical and scientific purposes while preventing their diversion, the President stressed that although the international drug control system was created to protect the health and well-being of all, most of the world's population still has limited or no access to essential controlled drugs, especially in in low- and middle-income countries. Ms. Pavadia outlined INCB efforts to support Member States to improve the availability of medicines containing controlled substances, including through the publication of a supplement to its 2022 Annual Report entitled " No Patient Left Behind: Progress in Ensuring Adequate Access to Internationally Controlled Substances for Medical and Scientific Purposes" and the INCB Learning programme. The President reiterated the commitment of the Board to collaborate with WHO, UNODC, the Pan American Health Organization, the Organization of American States Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission to ensure better availability.

Finally, the President offered the INCB's sympathies to those affected by the recent earthquakes in Syria and Türkiye, as well as the current humanitarian emergency in Ukraine. Ms. Pavadia took the opportunity to remind governments of the possibility of implementing simplified control procedures in these emergency contexts as provided for in the international drug control conventions.

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