59th Commission on Narcotic Drugs, 14–22 March 2016, Vienna

The United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), the central UN policy-making body in drug-related matters, opens its 59th session in Vienna this month (14–22 March). The CND meets every year to discuss the global state of drug control and to adopt resolutions to guide the way forward. An EMCDDA delegation is attending the event and, throughout the week, will provide technical support to the European Commission and EU Member States as well as participate in a series of side events.

The upcoming session includes a special segment on the preparation for the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs being held in New York from 19–21 April.

News from the EMCDDA delegation

Visitors are welcome to the EMCDDA publications stand on the first floor of the M-building.
EMCDDA stand

Monday 14 March

Side event: Decriminalizing drug use — concept and practice
1.10–2.00 p.m., conference room M7

Organised by the Government of the Czech Republic, the International Drug Policy Consortium and Release.

Depenalisation, decriminalisation and legalisation. There is no universal agreement on these terms, but it is helpful to explore the different ideas that lie behind them if we are to understand better what they mean when they are used in the debate on different approaches to controlling the supply and use of drugs. Watch the EMCDDA video explaining the terminology.

Tuesday 15 March

Side event: New psychoactive substances — a comparison of legislative responses
9.00–9.50 a.m., conference room M3

Organised by the Governments of the United Kingdom and Colombia and the UNODC Laboratory and Scientific Section.

New psychoactive substances, or in short NPS, are narcotic or psychotropic drugs that are not under international control. This means that they are not listed in the United Nations Conventions of 1961 or 71, the international treaties that state which drugs are under control such as cocaine, cannabis and heroin.

Side event: Copolad II — Towards an improved response to drugs challenges
1.10–2.00 p.m., conference room M3

Organised by the Government of the Netherlands, the Delegation of the European Union to the International Organizations in Vienna and the European Commission.

Following the successful completion of the flagship European Union cooperation programme in the field of drugs policies with Latin America — COPOLAD, a new COPOLAD II programme has been recently launched. During this side event the leaders and participants of the programme from the European Union, Latin America and Caribbean countries, representatives of the European Commission and the EMCDDA Director Alexis Goosdeel will give an overview of the achievements so far and perspectives for the new phase, as a contribution to tackle the world drug problem in a more efficient manner.

Side event: Alternatives to imprisonment and proportionate responses to drug offences
1.30–3.00 p.m., conference room BR-A

Organised by the Governments of the United States, the United Kingdom and Colombia, the World Health Organization, the UNODC Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation Branch, the UNODC Justice Section and the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (UNODC).

In recent years, Europe’s policymakers have come under increasing pressure to find effective and appropriate responses to manage people who come into contact with the  criminal justice system for drug law offences. Based on the options provided by the international drug control legal framework, an EMCDDA Paper on this topic considers the rehabilitative measures of treating, educating or reintegrating drug users as alternatives or additions to conviction or punishment that are established in the laws of many countries in Europe today. Read more in the EMCDDA paper on alternatives to punishment for drug-using offenders >>

Side event: Use of wastewater analysis to understand drug markets
2.20–3.10 p.m., conference room M7


Organised by the Governments of Italy and Switzerland, the UNODC Policy Analysis and Research Brand and the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction.

Wastewater analysis is a rapidly developing scientific discipline with the potential for monitoring real-time population-level trends in illicit drug use.

Download the EMCDDA Insights on Assessing illicit drugs in wastewater
For more information, see also the Perspective on drugs: Wastewater analysis and drugs — a European multi-city study.


Wednesday 16 March

Side event: Use of the darknet for drug trafficking
2.20–3.10 p.m., conference room M3

Organised by the Governments of Austria and Germany and the UNODC Studies and Threat Analysis Section.

The last decade has seen the emergence of new internet technologies that have acted as important facilitators of online drug markets. The internet now hosts a range of virtual marketplaces (both on the surface and deep web) for selling and buying illicit substances, as well as representing a new arena for health and law enforcement interventions. This first EMCDDA investigation into the world of online drug markets brings together state-of-the-art input from over 20 experts — from academia, journalism and frontline practice — and contributes to the knowledge base on this part of the supply chain. Download the EMCDDA publication on this topic >>


Thursday 17 March

Side event: Early Warning Systems on NPS — practical responses to a growing problem
2.20–3.10 p.m., conference room M3

Early Warning SystemOrganised by the UNODC Laboratory and Scientific Section and the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction.

Since 1997, the EMCDDA has played a central role in Europe's response to new psychoactive substances. Its main responsibilities in this field are to operate the EU Early Warning System, with its partner Europol, and to undertake risk assessments of new substances when necessary. EU Early Warning System works  by collecting information on the appearance of new substances from the 28 EU Member States, Turkey and Norway, and then monitoring them for signals of harm, allowing the EU to respond rapidly to emerging threats.

Friday 18 March

Afghan Opiate Trade Programme Advisory Group Meeting
1.00–2.00 p.m., room C06

Paul Griffiths, Scientific director of the EMCDDA, will participate in the Afghan Opiate Trade Programme Advisory Group Meeting.