21 April 2016, New York – Intervention on behalf of the European Union at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS) Roundtable 4: Cross-cutting issues: new challenges, threats and realities in preventing and addressing the world drug problem in compliance with relevant international law, including the three drug control conventions; strengthening the principle of common and shared responsibility and international cooperation, delivered by H.E. Ambassador Mr. Didier Lenoir, Ambassador, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the International Organisations in Vienna
Thank you, Mr. President, Executive Director, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen.
Needless to say, there are a number of new challenges drug policy faces today. One of the most important challenges are new psychoactive substances.
The rapid pace with which new psychoactive substances appear on the market has dramatically changed today’s drug scene. While back in 2009, the European Union registered only 24 new psychoactive substances in one calendar year, in 2015, 100 NPS were reported for the first time, and more than 560 substances are currently monitored by our drug agency.
The threat posed by this phenomenon is further increased if we consider that the internet has become a large market place for these substances – in the European Union alone these substances can be obtained from around 700 websites.
It is therefore necessary to take firm action in the European Union and elsewhere. While we have a mechanism addressing the most dangerous new psychoactive substances at European Union level, the overwhelming majority of Member States reinforce this European mechanism through national instruments.
At the centre of this European mechanism is the Early Warning System. Thanks to this system we can make sure that European Member States share information about new psychoactive substances discovered on their territory. Also, this system allows us to proceed quickly with an in-depth analysis of the most dangerous substances, which can lead to the banning of these substances at European Union level.
Today at UNGASS, we are glad to see that this important phenomenon has received global recognition and has become the focus of attention across different continents. The UNGASS outcome document bears witness to that.
We welcome the inclusion of a number of concrete and action-orientated recommendations on new psychoactive substances into the UNGASS outcome document. We particularly welcome the call to share relevant information on new psychoactive substances with WHO, UNODC and INCB as well as the call to strengthen the use of established reporting and informational exchange systems, including UNODC Early Warning Advisory on New Psychoactive Substances and International Narcotics Control Board’s Project ION.
We will now put our efforts into making sure that these recommendations are put into practice and encourage other countries to do the same.
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