Home > UN affirms 100 years of international drug control.

Pike, Brigid (2012) UN affirms 100 years of international drug control. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 42, Summer 2012, pp. 4-5.

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On 23 January 1912 the world’s first multi-lateral legal instrument to control drugs, the International Opium Convention, came into force. Holding its 55th annual session in Vienna in March 2012, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), the policy-setting body of the United Nations on drug control matters, passed a resolution reaffirming the three UN drug conventions, and the CND’s ‘unwavering commitment to ensure all aspects of demand reduction, supply reduction and international co-operation are addressed in full conformity with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, international law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights’.1 

Seven of the other 11 resolutions adopted by the CND are also directly relevant to Ireland’s national drug policy.2  
New psychoactive substances
Member states are encouraged to monitor the situation in their own countries; share information (including patterns of use, risks to public health, forensic data and regulation of new psychoactive substances) with other member states and with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC); adopt measures to reduce supply and demand in accordance with national legislation; and improve research, analysis and forensic and toxicological capability. They are also encouraged to consider a wide variety of responses, such as temporary and emergency drug control measures in response to an imminent threat to public health, the use of consumer protection, medicines legislation and hazardous substances legislation, and, where appropriate, criminal justice measures aimed at preventing the illicit manufacture of and trafficking in new psychoactive substances, and are urged to co-operate, in accordance with national law, in judicial and law enforcement activities to tackle the trade in and distribution and manufacture of those new psychoactive substances that have already been identified as posing risks to public health and that are subject to control within certain member states.
Drug-dependent persons released from prison
Member states are invited to consider developing or strengthening regulatory frameworks for the implementation of measures facilitating the continued treatment, care, rehabilitation, social reintegration and related support services for drug-dependent persons being released from prison settings. They are also called on to consider developing and implementing pre-release and post-release programmes aimed at preventing relapse and reoffending, and to provide service providers with the training necessary to work with drug-dependent persons in pre-release and post-release programmes. In addition, member states are encouraged to integrate these measures in their national strategies on drug demand reduction.
Strategies and measures specifically for women
This resolution is discussed in a separate article on International Women’s Day elsewhere in this issue of Drugnet Ireland.
Electronic drug import and export authorisation system
Member states are encouraged to provide the fullest possible financial and political support for developing, maintaining and administering an electronic import and export authorisation systemin accordance with the requirements of the international drug control conventions.
Drug overdose prevention
Member states are encouraged to include effective elements for the prevention and treatment of drug overdose, in particular opioid overdose, in national drug policies, where appropriate, and to share best practices and information on the prevention and treatment of drug overdose, in particular opioid overdose, including
the use of opioid receptor antagonists such as naloxone. They are also encouraged to strive to ensure that all efforts are made to implement comprehensive supply and demand programmes that promote the health and well-being of their citizens.
Evidence-based drug prevention
Member states are urged/encouraged to:
o    develop, promote and implement cost-effective policies and interventions to prevent the use of illicit drugs, with special emphasis on children, youth and populations at risk, using current academic, scientific and practitioner-based studies;
o    continue to raise the awareness of policymakers of the risks and the threats posed to society by abuse of drugs and of the individual and social conditions that make people vulnerable to abusing drugs;
o    target their prevention programmes towards domains where individuals, in particular children and youth, are most likely to encounter illicit drugs;
o    develop and implement specific policies and interventions aimed at the healthy and safe development of children and youth that are particularly vulnerable to individual or environmental risks;
o    take into account gender-specific services in their drug prevention systems;
o    promote public health and healthy lifestyles, such as physical activities, sport and recreation programmes, in order to facilitate drug prevention;
o    engage in close co-ordination with all stakeholders in their societies to target prevention with a cross-cutting and multidisciplinary approach;
o    co-operate, on both the bilateral and regional levels, to strengthen national capacities with respect to prevention policies and their implementation;
o    exchange experiences and best practices on the prevention of the use of illicit drugs in families, schools, universities, workplaces, communities and other domains.
Alternatives to imprisonment
Member states are encouraged/invited to:
o    consider allowing the full implementation of drug dependence treatment and care options for offenders, as an alternative to incarceration, in order to help strengthen drug demand reduction policies while promoting both public health and public safety;
o    share their experiences and good practices, based on successful implementation of evidence-based alternative approaches to the prosecution and imprisonment of drug-using offenders, including examples of legislation, and to provide technical assistance to interested states, upon request;
o    promote co-ordination and co-operation between competent authorities, such as health, public security and justice authorities, as well as service providers;
o    consider including in their national anti-drug strategies alternative approaches to prosecution and imprisonment for drug-using offenders that could act as a valuable link between demand reduction programmes, particularly those relating to treatment, and the areas of law enforcement and justice.
1. United Nations (2012) Commission on Narcotic Drugs Report of the fifty-fifth session (13 December 2011 and 12–16 March 2012). Unedited advance version. Economic and Social Council, E/2012/28, E/CN.7/2012/18.
2. See the session report for the background to each resolution and full list of actions. The four resolutions not described here relate to alternative development and issues to be addressed in Africa and Afghanistan.

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