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Report of the International Narcotics Control Board for 2019

  • 29 Feb 2020
  • 4 min read

Why in News

The United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has released the 2019 report of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB).

  • The report features India among top manufacturers of illicit and licit drugs that are smuggled to other countries and into the hands of addicts.

Global Scenario

  • Increased Smuggling of Pharmaceutical Drugs:
    • Drug traffickers tend to smuggle pharmaceutical drugs rather than illicit drugs (e.g. hashish,heroin,etc.) because of the more lenient penalties imposed for smuggling of controlled pharmaceutical drugs.
  • Phenobarbital Drug:
    • It is one of the most internationally traded controlled psychotropic substances, with more than 161 countries reporting imports of the substance in 2018.
    • It included on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines for treating epilepsy (a neurological disorder).
    • China is the lead manufacturing country of phenobarbital in 2018, followed by India and Hungary.
  • Limited Usage of Pre-Export Notification:
    • It has also been noted that countries like China, South Korea and the United States have received drugs without pre-notification through the PEN Online system.

PEN Online System

  • The Pre-Export Notification (PEN) Online is developed by UNODC/International Narcotics Control Board (INCB).
  • It is used by the Member States exporting precursor chemicals to alert the national competent authorities in the importing country with the details of the export transaction.
  • It enables the easy on-line exchange of information between the Member States on shipments (export and import) of the chemicals required for the manufacture of illegal addictive drugs.
  • The system also facilitates electronic reply to acknowledge receipt and notify the exporting country of clearance to export. An electronic copy is sent to INCB by default.

National Scenario

  • Diversion of Pharmaceutical Drugs:
    • It has also noted an increased diversion of controlled pharmaceutical precursors, in particular ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, from licit to illicit channels has continued in India.
      • Precursors are chemicals which are used to manufacture narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
      • Ephedrine and Pseudoephedrine have been notified as ‘controlled substance’ in India.
      • The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985 empowers the Central Government to declare any substance as ‘controlled substance’ after considering its possible use in the production or manufacture of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances.
  • Tramadol Drug:
    • Globally most of the tramadol seized between 2013 and 2017 was reported to have originated in India. e.g.India was the source of 87% of the tramadol seized in Ghana in 2017.
    • Tramadol, sold under the brand name Ultram among others, is an opioid pain medication used to treat moderate to moderately severe pain.
    • The drug is under the control of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

  • The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) was established in 1997.
  • UNODC publishes the World Drug Report.

International Narcotics Control Board

  • The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) is the independent and quasi-judicial monitoring body for the implementation of the United Nations international drug control conventions.
  • It was established in 1968 in accordance with the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961.
  • Its secretariat is located in Vienna, Austria.

Source: HBL

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