65th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs | Agenda Item 6: Commitments to address and counter the world drug problem
As delivered by Christine Cline, Division Chief, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
March 16, 2022
Thank you, Chair. The United States appreciates the CND’s Secretariat ongoing efforts to support the implementation of all policy commitments in a “single track,” including by organizing thematic discussions as part of the Commission’s multiyear workplan.
The United States welcomes the CND’s continued balanced approach in addressing the challenges identified in the 2019 CND Ministerial Declaration.
In the 2019 Ministerial Declaration, Member States committed to intensified action in addressing the challenges posed by uncontrolled precursor chemicals and designer precursors. This issue is a top priority for my delegation. Seeing the increased use of three precursor chemicals in the illicit manufacture of fentanyl, the United States requested the UN to consider these chemicals for international control. These unscheduled precursors emerged following the 2017 control of two other fentanyl precursors, NPP and ANPP, and are specifically sought out by criminals to evade national and international control on those chemicals. The CND is poised to vote on this initiative this week.
The United States is also striving to take action against uncontrolled precursor chemicals, including designer precursors, through our resolution this year on this topic. The text provides actionable guidance to support Member States in implementing this commitment at the national, regional, and international levels. We look forward to learning also from our colleagues within the CND, as well as the INCB and UNODC, about additional opportunities and best practices for addressing these challenges.
In line with our Ministerial commitments, the United States remains a proud supporter of the INCB’s Global Rapid Interdiction of Dangerous Substances program and its emphasis on private sector engagement. The INCB’s ability to produce operational outcomes through GRIDS platforms including PICS, PENS and IONICS, facilitates real-time cooperation among law enforcement officials worldwide to disrupt the illicit supply chain of synthetic drugs through increased international intelligence sharing to support ongoing investigations into those criminals and criminal organizations trafficking in synthetic drugs and precursor chemicals. We encourage countries to continue to support and utilize these valuable platforms.
In the Ministerial Declaration, we also reiterated our resolve to fulfill our treaty mandates in ensuring access and availability of essential medicines for medical and scientific purposes. Lack of access to vital medicines for the relief of pain and suffering in many parts of the world remains a serious concern and requires our urgent attention. In the CND, we committed to remove unduly restrictive regulations and impediments to ensure access to controlled substances for medical purposes. But more work is needed to fulfill this treaty-mandated obligation.
We reiterate our call upon the INCB and the World Health Organization to support Member States in identifying and addressing barriers in this regard, including legislative and regulatory barriers that may be undermining access to evidence-based medications for opioid use disorder in some parts of the world.
Taking action to address challenges posed by synthetic drugs was a critical priority in the Ministerial Declaration. For the United States, addressing the opioid epidemic remains an urgent priority. We are taking action at the national level to advance prevention, treatment, harm reduction and recovery programming addressing the public health risks of opioid and other substance use disorders.
Last March, President Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan, providing nearly $4 billion to expand access to vital behavioral health services. The President has also requested $11.2 billion in next year’s budget to expand access to substance use prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and recovery support services, as well as to bolster the nation’s behavioral health infrastructure.
Moreover, we continue to support UNODC, among many other international expert organizations, to advance drug use prevention, treatment, and recovery initiatives worldwide. This includes new efforts to enhance the quality of treatment and to expand access to relevant technical assistance through innovative online resources.
Our Ministerial Declaration reflects policy commitments aimed at steering Member States to tackle today’s most pressing challenges. The most significant global drug control threat we are facing is the illicit manufacture, trafficking, and misuse of synthetic drugs. We applaud UNODC for taking action to develop its new Synthetic Drug Strategy.
As part of this strategy, UNODC, together with INCB and WHO, developed a ToolKit on Synthetic Drugs, which is comprised of a menu of best practices to drive national action in addressing the multifaceted challenges associated with the synthetic drug threat. We urge Member States to avail themselves of this ToolKit as an invaluable reference source to guide efforts in this area. The United States is pleased to have supported the new strategy by providing over seven million dollars of support.