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Pike, Brigid (2011) UN reviews responses to world drugs problem. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 38, Summer 2011, pp. 11-12.

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2011 marks the 50th anniversary of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. An important a milestone in international drug control, this convention codified all existing multilateral treaties on drug control and extended the existing control systems to include the cultivation of plants grown as the raw material of narcotic drugs.  

While the UN’s Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), the central policy-making body of the United Nations in drug-related matters, acknowledged this anniversary, it was business as usual at the CND’s 54th annual meeting in Vienna. Four resolutions passed at the meeting relevant to drug policy issues currently being addressed in Ireland are noted here.1
54/2: Promoting international co-operation to prevent drug-affected driving
Member states are urged to develop national responses to address the issue of drug-affected driving by assessing and monitoring the magnitude of the phenomenon at national level and by exchanging information and best practices on effective responses. They are also encouraged to develop effective roadside testing options to assess drug-affected driving and to raise public awareness. With regard to this last issue, member states are invited to ensure measures are consistent with measures tackling other road safety risks, such as driving under the influence of alcohol.
54/5: Promoting rehabilitation- and reintegration-oriented strategies in response to drug use disorders and their consequences that are directed at promoting health and social well-being among individuals, families and communities
Member states are encouraged to ensure that drug demand reduction policies and practices include access to evidence-based and humane treatment, care and related support services aimed at rehabilitating and reintegrating people suffering from drug dependence and drug-related diseases, and that these services focus on health and social well-being among individuals, families and communities. They are also encouraged to provide a diverse range of treatment facilities, including medically assisted and psychosocial treatment and rehabilitation, that match the needs of dependent drug users in all relevant social and clinical conditions, and exhorted to improve the availability and coverage of these services as part of their country’s overall health-care system. Finally, they are urged to identify and firmly counter discrimination against drug users, and to develop effective interventions that lead to social reintegration, including programmes that facilitate the employment of people in treatment and recovery that are tailored to their specific needs in the rehabilitation process.
54/8: Strengthening international co-operation and regulatory and institutional frameworks for the control of precursor chemicals used in the illicit manufacture of synthetic drugs
Acknowledging that the diversion of pharmaceutical preparations containing ephedrine and pseudoephedrine is a concern because these may not be subject to similar levels of control as bulk (raw) ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, the meeting identified a wide range of actions to address the issue. These included strengthening legislative and regulatory frameworks, monitoring and controlling all points of entry to and exit from countries, including communications via the Internet, improving information-sharing with the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) and collaborating with the national chemical industry.
54/11: Improving the participatory role of civil society in addressing the world drug problem
Member states are encouraged to ensure that civil society plays a participatory role, where appropriate, through consultation, in the development and implementation of drug control programmes and policies, in particular with regard to aspects of demand reduction. Member states are also encouraged to cultivate an environment that promotes innovation and to take into account promising approaches taken by civil society to assist governments in their efforts to address the world drug problem, provided that such approaches are in conformity with the international drug control conventions, are based on scientific evidence, and are in accordance with relevant human rights obligations.
Other items on the CND meeting agenda included (1) round-table discussions on regional and international co-operation to combat the world drug problem and its links with organised crime, revitalising the principle of common and shared responsibility for the world drug problem, and addressing key public health issues such as addictive behaviours by youth and drugged driving; (2) a review of the implementation of the international drug-control treaties, including consideration of the annual report of the INCB; and (3) a review of the implementation of the UN’s political declaration and 10-year action plan, agreed in 2009, to counter the world drug problem. 2  As Ireland is not currently a member of the CND, the Irish delegation attended with observer status. 1.The full text of these resolutions, together with other 10 resolutions passed at the meeting, are contained in the advance unedited official report issued by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, Report on the fifty-fourth session (2 December 2010 and 21-25 March 2011)Economic and Social Council Official Records, 2011, Supplement No. 8 (E/2011/28–E/CN.7/2011/15)
2.Accounts of the CND meeting have been posted on the internet by international NGOs, including a summary of the main events and analysis of the key discussions and debates, compiled by the International Drug Policy Consortium , and a detailed account accessible on the  International Drug Policy Consortium–International Harm Reduction Association CNDblog at  For further information on Ireland and UN drug policy, see Drugnet Ireland, Issues 8, 18, 22, 27, 30 and 34.
Item Type
Publication Type
International, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
All substances
Issue Title
Issue 38, Summer 2011
Page Range
pp. 11-12
Health Research Board
Issue 38, Summer 2011
Accession Number
HRB (Available)

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