This March, Vienna hosted the meeting for the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND). The countries involved came together to take head-on the agenda of hindrances confounding the drug-control campaign. Among the discussed issues, and one common on American soil was the opioids menace. The discussion featured among many, fentanyl and its derivatives, whose threat is considerably unparalleled. This was the chance also for the United States to make an important appeal: that the member countries should make international efforts to employ innovative techniques to curb the opioid disaster.
I was involved deeply in the Austrian campaign as a member of the U.S. team of delegates sent there. As delegates, we were to represent the U.S. interest to call for international attention toward the opioid problem. My role was to lead the task force in the negotiations with other countries and arouse an interest towards to the matter. The aim of the whole deliberation would be to channel all efforts towards resolving the threats arising from the new wake in drug trafficking.
Synthetic drugs are the feature mark of the new era in drug trafficking. Criminal groups dealing with drug distribution have borrowed this new way to escape the authorities. Additionally, the dark web is providing a platform not just for easier trafficking but ready markets as well. The international post is then used to provide shipping services to deliver the products. Authorities are facing a hard time intercepting these illegal under the table dealings. The reason is that the substances are trafficked in small sizes which control officers find more difficult to identify unlike if they were delivered in bulk quantities. I managed during the negotiations to convince member countries of this new occurrence. From that, I was able to engage with China, countries from the European Union and others to give their commitment to take action on the matter.
Another of my tasks was to present the request by the U.S. to have tightened international control mechanisms in place against artificial opioids. The proposal to the CND was to include control laws against carfentanil, which is 10,000 times deadlier than morphine. Toward accomplishment of that, I collaborated with my interagency team together with partners from abroad to lobby for member states to vote for this proposal. My goal was to get the participating countries on our side so the proposal would garner sufficient votes for its implementation.
I was eager on the day of decision to know the outcome of the matter. As the countries gave their votes under the guidance of the Secretariat, my anticipation grew. Minutes later, our proposal was declared unanimously accepted. The effort of the U.S. emerged victorious with countries in attendance giving approval of it. In addition to that, other analogs of fentanyl were also included to be part of the substances mentioned that needed enhanced control. To this regard, members voted for their inclusion. Further still, the 186 member countries will need to introduce local regulations to help keep watch on the mentioned opioids. This will help cut off access to the drugs by international traffickers.
Out of the CND deliberation, severable actions will be given priority. We will (1) increase the speed of implementation of control mechanisms for opioids within the participating states; (2) advocate for diligent cooperation of the member countries in information sharing concerning changes and trends in use and movement of synthetic opioids, as well as more participation of India, Mexico and China in the online database of drugs organized by the UN; (3) increase law enforcement capacity to handle online trafficking of the drugs, which also involves sharing ideas on effective methods through the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) assembly; and (4) collaboration with regulatory officials to intercept drug shipments by working with relevant updates on prevailing trends sourced from the Universal Postal Union (UPU).
The U.S. has achieved great milestones as evident from the CND assembly of March. Nevertheless, there lies more work ahead. We will, therefore, proceed to cooperate with partnering organizations from abroad to actuate the resolutions made at the gathering toward the elimination of the threat of synthetic opioids.