Global Synthetic Drugs Assessment 2020

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) presented the Global Synthetic Drugs Assessment 2020. It provides an analysis of the global synthetic drugs market. This report presents a global thematic analysis of the key trends and emerging developments of the synthetic drugs market as well as the recent trends in the manufacture of synthetic drugs.

The first part of this report provides options for responses to counter the synthetic drug problem. The second part presents a global thematic analysis of the key trends and emerging developments of the synthetic drugs market as well as the recent trends in the manufacture of synthetic drugs, including the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The third part provides the key findings of the synthetic drug situation in the different regions of the world.

 

The report is available follow this link>>>.

The Regional overviews highlight context-specific dynamics relating to the demand and supply of synthetic drugs in Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania. The regional overview for Europe is available following this link>>>.

 

Open letter to UNODC Executive Director

In an open letter, with the support from more than 100 civil society organisations, the International Drug Policy Network Consortium (IDPC) invited Ms Ghada Waly, Executive Director, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, to mark International Human Rights Day by calling on Member States to change drug policies and practices that violate human rights, and entrench exclusion and discrimination.

My Waly was invited to issue a strong statement that underlines UNODC’s commitment to rights-based drug policies, and calls for change in the laws and practices that threaten health and human rights. The 2020 International Human Rights Day, which will be held under the title ‘Recover better: Stand Up for Human Rights’, includes a thematic focus on the need ‘to apply human rights standards to tackle entrenched, systematic, and intergenerational inequalities, exclusion and discrimination’. As such, it presents a key opportunity for UNODC to highlight its commitment to the promotion of drug policies that respect, protect, and fulfil human rights, in line with the UN System Common Position.

Drug Policy Network South East Europe is one of the civil society organisations which supported the letter.

To read the letter, follow this link>>>.

 

NGO Marketplace and civil society engagement at the CND

The Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs (VNGOC) together with the UNODC Civil Society Team are inviting you to a joint webinar presenting the NGO Marketplace and giving guidance on how to engage effectively at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND).

The webinar will include a tour through the new features of the NGO Marketplace, information on this years CND intersessional meetings and guidance on how to best apply for speaking opportunities.

To ensure a broad engagement, the webinar will be held twice:

  • Monday, 21 July 2020, 4 pm CEST, Vienna (2 pm UTC)
  • Tuesday, 22 July 2020, 10 am CEST, Vienna (8 am UTC)

To register, follow this link>>>.

 

New ties, new opportunities

DPNSEE hosted the Donor conference for vulnerable populations in South East Europe on Thursday 6 August 2020. The aim of the Conference was to present the needs and potential projects of vulnerable populations in South East Europe and establish better communication, coordination and cooperation between service providers and public and private funding programmes.

The Conference included plenary presentations from the region and donors and work in two separate discussion rooms: Sustainability of services for vulnerable populations and Emerging needs of key populations.

47 representatives of civil society organisations, international organisations and donor community participated.

We hope to produce and distribute the report from the Conference in the next few days.

The presentations from the Conference are ready to download:

  • Monica Ciupagea, Expert – Drug use and HIV, HIV/AIDS section, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime: HIV prevention, treatment and care among people who use drugs following this link>>>.
  • Jan Zlatan Kulenović, Director of Programs, Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO): Supporting Regional Youth Cooperation following this link>>>.
  • Sergii Filippovych, Project Director, Alliance for Public Health, Ukraine, coordinator of the regional #SOS_project supported by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Sustainability of services for key populations in EECA & SEE Region following this link>>>.
  • Ganna Dovbakh, Executive Director, Eurasian Harm Reduction Association: Key challenges of harm reduction in COVID era following this link>>>.
  • Yuri de Boer, Senior Program Manager, AFEW International: Emergency Support Fund for Key Populations in EECA following this link>>>.

 

 

World Drug Report 2020

Around 269 million people used drugs worldwide in 2018, which is 30 per cent more than in 2009, while over 35 million people suffer from drug use disorders, according to the latest World Drug Report, released today by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The Report also analyses the impact of COVID-19 on the drug markets, and while its effects are not yet fully known, border and other restrictions linked to the pandemic have already caused shortages of drugs on the street, leading to increased prices and reduced purity.

The Report provides a wealth of information and analysis to support the international community in implementing operational recommendations on a number of commitments made by Member States, including the recommendations contained in the outcome document of the special session of the General Assembly on the world drug problem, held in 2016.

To read and download the report, follow this link>>>

COVID-19 and drug markets

UNODC press release

Measures implemented by governments to curb the COVID-19 pandemic have led to drug trafficking routes by air being disrupted, along with drastic reduction or increased interdiction in trafficking routes over land. Some drug supply chains have been interrupted and traffickers are looking for alternative routes, including maritime routes, depending on the types of drugs smuggled. These are some of the findings from a report on drug market trends during COVID-19, launched on 7 May by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Synthetic drugs, such as methamphetamine tend to be trafficked across continents by air more than other types of drugs. Restrictions on air travel are, therefore, likely to have a particularly drastic effect on this illegal cargo. The bulk of cocaine is trafficked by sea and large cargos have continued to be detected in European ports during the pandemic.

So far, heroin has mostly been trafficked by land. But due to the pandemic, maritime routes seem to be increasingly used now to traffic heroin as shown by seizures of opiates in the Indian Ocean.

Trafficking in cannabis, however, may not be affected in the same way as that of heroin or cocaine, given that its production often takes place near consumer markets and traffickers are thus less reliant on long, transregional shipments of large quantities of the drug.

 

Drug consumption trends

Several countries have reported drug shortages at the retail level. This can lead to an overall decrease in consumption, but mainly of drugs mostly consumed in recreational settings.

In the case of heroin, however, a shortage in supply can lead to the consumption of harmful, domestically produced substances – heroin shortages have been reported by countries in Europe, South West Asia and North America and some countries in Europe have warned that heroin users may even switch to fentanyl and its derivatives.

An increase in the use of pharmaceutical products such as benzodiazepines has also been reported, already doubling their price in certain areas. Another harmful pattern resulting from drug shortages is the increase in injecting drug use and the sharing of injecting equipment. All of which carry the risk of spreading diseases like HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, and COVID-19 itself. The risk of drug overdose may also increase among those injecting drugs and who are infected with COVID-19.

 

Trends in drug production

Restrictions resulting from lockdown could hinder the production of opiates with the key months of harvest in Afghanistan being March to June. Due to COVID-19 labour force might not be able or willing to travel to areas where opium poppy is grown in the country, which could affect this year’s harvest.

Cocaine production also appears to be impeded in Colombia, as producers are suffering from a shortage of gasoline. While in Bolivia, COVID-19 is limiting the ability of state authorities to control coca bush cultivation, which could lead to an increase in coca production. In Peru, however, a drop in the price of cocaine suggests a reduction in trafficking opportunities. This may discourage coca bush cultivation in the short-term, although the looming economic crisis may lead more farmers to take up coca cultivation in all the major cocaine producing countries.

A decline in international trade in the current pandemic could also lead to shortages in the supply of precursors, vital for the manufacture of heroin as well as for synthetic drugs. A limited supply in Mexico, for example seems to have disrupted the manufacture of methamphetamine and fentanyl, while in Lebanon and Syria it is affecting the production of captagon. Czechia on the other hand expects a shortage of metamphetamine for the same reasons.

In the long-run, the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to lead to a lasting and profound transformation of the drug markets, which can be fully understood only after more research is done. The economic difficulties caused by COVID-19 may affect people who are already in position of socioeconomic disadvantage harder than others.

The COVID-19 and drug markets Report is available online here >>>

Conference on protection of vulnerable populations in South East Europe

Spread of the coronavirus and illness officially known as COVID-19 around the world, in Europe and in the region of South East Europe has a devastating effect on general population as well as on people who use drugs and other connected vulnerable populations (homeless people, sex workers, LGBTI, MSM, people living with HIV and many others).

DPNSEE reacted early on the information about possible outbreak of the coronavirus in Europe sending a Letter to member organisations inviting them to prepare for the coronavirus outbreak with brief instructions, publishing the Public appeal to protect vulnerable groups from coronavirus COVID-19, sharing and translating instructions and advice on coronavirus and keeping contacts with our member organisations and international partners. We regularly update news from South East Europe – they are available at the News section of our website.

We held conference calls with our member organisations by countries from South East Europe last weeks. We heard a lot of good stories about their work and ideas to share.

Analysing the situation and discussing potential developments during and after the outbreak, the DPNSEE Board decided to hold the on-line Conference on protection of vulnerable populations in South East Europe. The Conference will be held with support of the Service for Combatting Drug Abuse at the Croatian Institute for Public Health and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime – UNODC Programme Office in Serbia.

The aim of the Conference is to contribute to ensuring the sustainability of services for key populations during and after the coronavirus epidemic. As stated in the UNODC document Suggestions about treatment, care and rehabilitation of people with drug use disorder in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic “it is important to ensure the continuity of adequate access to health and social services for people who use drugs and with drug use disorders and provide the continuum of care required as described in the International Standards for the Treatment of Drug Use Disorders (UNODC/WHO, 2020) to the best extent possible also in times of crisis”.

Besides our members and other civil society organisations from the region and wider, we invite to the Conference national drug agencies and health institutions, international organisations partners and donors.

The Conference will be held via Zoom at the following link https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86072202401 on Thursday 23 April 2020 starting at 14:00 CET (15:00 EEST). The conference would last for a maximum of two hours.

The Agenda will include two items:

  1. Overview of situation with coronavirus among vulnerable populations in South East Europe.
  2. Proposed actions to ensure sustainability of services for key populations during and after the coronavirus epidemic.

The background documents for the Conference we plan to prepare and post here in the next few days include:

  • Overview of the situation with coronavirus COVID-19 in SEE with two annexes (available here>>> with both annexes or here>>> as a separate document):
  • Annex 1 – Information received from countries of South East Europe during conference calls (available here>>>)
  • Annex 2 – DPNSEE activities during the coronavirus outbreak (available here>>>)
  • Draft list of actions and measures to ensure sustainability of services for key populations during and after the coronavirus epidemic (in progress).

In preparations for the Conference, we shall also use and refer to the documents which are also produced and promoted internationally, including those from UNODC, UNAIDS, EMCDDA and other national and international intergovernmental and civil society organisations.

We sincerely hope that you shall join us in this effort to make sure that a truly inclusive universal health coverage grounded on rights-based laws, policies and procedures is achieved by prioritizing and protecting vulnerable groups.

 

New COVID-19 documents translated into Serbian

Timok Youth Centre from Serbia and DPNSEE continue translating and publishing UNODC documents in Serbian. Now this includes three infographics on COVID-19 – HIV prevention, treatment, care and support for people who use drugs:

Rome Consensus for Humanitarian Drug Policy

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Partnership on Substance Abuse, co-sponsored by the Government of Italy, UNODC, WHO, in cooperation with the Levenson Foundation, the C4 Recovery Foundation, PTACC and the Villa Maraini Foundation, has launched the Manifesto “Rome Consensus 2.0 towards a humanitarian drug policy” at the 63a CND at UNODC in Vienna.

The Manifesto wants to promote universal access to treatment and care, as well as alternative measures to criminal justice for people who use drugs. The aim is to address the drug problems at all levels by giving emphasis to a humane attitude in support of people with drug disorders. The primary objective of humanitarian aid and approach is to save lives, alleviate suffering and maintain human dignity.

The Rome Consensus 2.0 is available following this link>>>

To sign the Rome Consensus 2.0 please visit following link>>>

Your Input needed!

Displaced populations may be vulnerable to substance use disorders for a variety of reasons. These include pre- or post-migration stress and trauma, including loss of homes and livelihoods, violence, torture, mental health disorders and family separation.

The UNODC Prevention Treatment and Rehabilitation Section (PTRS) in coordination with WHO and UNHCR is planning a consultation process to develop a technical guidance tool to address substance use and substance use disorders, as well as associated health and social consequences in Relief and Humanitarian Settings and to increase access to substance use disorder treatment also in Humanitarian Settings. An expert group meeting is tentatively scheduled for the third quarter of 2020.

As part of the consultation process civil society organisations are invited to provide relevant information about treatment and care for displaced populations. In particular by:

  • Sharing national experiences, studies and good practices on addressing substance use disorders and providing treatment and care for people with substance use disorders in humanitarian settings and/or for displaced populations;
  • Informing about the current use of technical tools, guidelines, protocols or else to guide the work on treatment and care for people with substance use disorders in humanitarian settings and among displaced populations;
  • Indicating to UNODC which kind of technical guidance tool would be most relevant, needed and applicable in order to provide improved services for people with substance use disorders in humanitarian settings or for displaced populations with substance use disorders;
  • Describing existing mechanisms for interaction and coordination at the national/regional level, including joint- or inter-ministerial entities, civil society coordination mechanisms or else which bring together health, humanitarian and other sectors that could play a key role in a later implementation of the technical guidance tool to be developed by UNODC, in coordination with WHO and UNHCR, to address substance use disorders as well as associated health and social consequences in Relief and Humanitarian Settings;
  • Providing the full name and complete contact details of a focal point, to facilitate future communication and exchange about the information provided.

The information collected will be used to understand the use and barriers for application of currently available tools, identify needs, gather information on what kind of technical tool could be practically applicable and increase access to treatment and care of substance use disorders in humanitarian settings.

Relevant input should be sent as soon as possible but no later than 15 May 2020, by sending it to Ms. Anja Busse (anja.busse@un.org), Mr. Wataru Kashino (wataru.kashino@un.org) and info@vngoc.org.

To get more information, follow this link>>>.