For information only - not an official document

 25 June 2021

President of the International Narcotics Control Board, Jagjit Pavadia:

Statement on the occasion of the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

26 June 2021

VIENNA, 25 June (UN Information Service) - On the occasion of the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) highlights the importance of evidence-based drug policy as a prerequisite to ensuring health and well-being.

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the need for universal access to health care, including access to medicines containing controlled substances and uninterrupted services for the prevention of drug abuse and treatment of substance use disorders. The pandemic has also highlighted the need for reliable factual information which is accessible to all.

The theme of the 2021 International Day is "Share Facts On Drugs, Save Lives". In an increasingly interconnected world, the sharing of facts about drugs is crucial to ensuring accurate perceptions of risks associated with drug use. INCB reiterates its call on governments to ensure the provision of evidence-based prevention services and recognizes the valuable role of civil society in this regard. The provision of these services must also be stepped up in view of the mental health impact of the pandemic.

Comprehensive data on drug use patterns and trends is key to developing effective treatment and rehabilitation programmes. In some countries and regions, such data remains virtually non-existent. INCB has been calling on governments to improve data collection in order to facilitate the design and adoption of evidence-based drug policies and the provision of appropriate prevention, treatment and rehabilitation services. Regional and international organizations and bilateral partners also have an important role in the provision of support in this regard.

The United Nations drug control conventions have at their heart the objective of safeguarding the health and wellbeing of all people. They oblige Parties to take all practicable measures for the prevention of illicit drug use and for early identification, treatment, education, aftercare, rehabilitation, and social reintegration. INCB reminds governments that these measures must be evidence-based and respect human rights. Children have a right to be protected from the illicit use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and from involvement in the illicit production and trafficking of drugs.

There is an urgent need to overcome stigma associated with drug use so that all people, including women and minority communities, can adequately access prevention and treatment services without discrimination. Sharing facts on drug use can contribute to addressing stigma.

The system of international drug control established by the three international drug control conventions has proven to be effective in ensuring the continued international trade in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and precursor chemicals for industrial, medical and scientific purposes. During the pandemic, countries were able to continue to import quantities of controlled substances to meet their estimated requirements. There is a strong need, however, for countries to improve the accuracy of their estimates of licit requirements for narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, to improve availability of and access to medicines containing controlled substances and to ensure that no patient suffers unnecessarily. INCB urges governments to carefully study their national health data to improve the accuracy of their estimated requirements. INCB is building the capacity of competent national authorities in this regard through INCB Learning, in cooperation with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Many lives can be saved through the implementation of the provisions of the drug control conventions, supported by the sharing of facts and data. Public health and wellbeing can be enhanced, contributing to the attainment of Sustainable Development Goal 3 of Good Health and Wellbeing for all at all ages.  


INCB is the independent, quasi-judicial body charged with promoting and monitoring Government compliance with the three international drug control conventions: the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. Established by the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961, the thirteen members of the Board are elected in a personal capacity by the Economic and Social Council for terms of five years.

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Email: incb.secretariat[at]

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