An official website of the United States government

65th CND | Inter-Agency Efforts to Counter the World Drug Problem
March 17, 2022

USUNVIE/ Colin Peters

65th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs | Agenda Item 7: Inter-Agency Cooperation and Coordination of Efforts in Addressing and Countering the World Drug Problem

As delivered by Narcotics Officer Penny Fields
Vienna, Austria, March 16, 2022

The United States reaffirms the CND’s leading role in international drug policy, and international drug control treaties as the cornerstone of international drug policy.  We remain dedicated to following up on all our commitments to address and counter the world drug problem in a single track, in line with the 2019 Ministerial Declaration. 

As the 2016 UNGASS outcome document makes clear, effectively addressing and countering the world drug problem requires leveraging knowledge and experience across the UN system. 

CND resolution 60/6 on “Intensifying coordination and cooperation among United Nations entities and relevant domestic sectors, including the health, education and criminal justice sectors, to address and counter the world drug problem” provides us with concrete guidance for accomplishing this, while respecting each UN entity’s respective mandates and treaty-mandated roles.  

In 60/6, we reaffirmed that the CND, in its leading role, is responsible for facilitating increased coordination and cooperation with all relevant UN bodies and specialized agencies, within their respective mandates. 

The interagency cooperation called for in 60/6 is intended to support the development and implementation of international drug control policy, as determined by the CND.  It does not cede the policymaking authority of the CND to task teams or other mechanisms that may be established to enhance UN system-wide collaboration.  

At the same time, we must use every tool available to us within the UN system to implement the drug control treaties and policy documents within the mandates established by the Member States through resolutions and decisions.  

More recently, despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen many examples of increased cooperation and collaboration between the Secretariats of UNODC, INCB, and other UN bodies.  In November 2021, UNODC launched its Synthetic Drug Strategy (SDS).  The SDS expands upon the previously supported Opioid Strategy for greater flexibility to adapt UNODC programs to meet Member States’ unique situations in addressing the ever-changing nature of synthetic drugs.  SDS brings together UNODC programs that provide Member States with tools, resources, and training to reduce both the supply and demand for synthetic drugs, including synthetic opioids and their precursor chemicals.  The Strategy ensures coherence in the science on synthetic drugs through proactive consultation with the treaty bodies, other UN agencies, regional organizations, academia, and the scientific community, as well as the private sector including the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. 

Over the past year, INCB has further expanded its collaboration with member states and promoted voluntary actions through its Global Rapid Interdiction of Dangerous Substances (GRIDS) Programme, with Project ION stemming the flow of new psychoactive substances and the OPIOIDS Project countering global trafficking of the most dangerous emerging synthetic opioids and related precursors. GRIDS has facilitated the development of operational intelligence and practical actions which have directly contributed to disrupting transnational organized crime groups and interdicting traffickers attempting to exploit legitimate industry partners.

We must continue this successful collaboration between Secretariats. 

Practical success stories like these are why the Vienna-based institutions are invaluable, unique, and must continue to serve as the primary point for international discussions on drug control matters.  We look forward to working together with Member States to continue to build on this kind of collaboration and cooperation in the future.