IDPC Report - Response to the 2009 Annual Report of the International Narcotics Control Board

21 May 2010

As is always the case, the Report contains an impressive array of technical information on the operation of the international drug control system; a system constructed with the aim of managing the global licit market for narcotic and psychotropic substances for medical and research uses while simultaneously suppressing the illicit market. Such operational descriptions are interspersed with references and discussions on certain policy issues. These, as is the norm, are primarily observations on what the Board perceives to be the strengths and weaknesses of the system and are in the main a welcome contribution to the policy process.

However, despite what has turned out to be only a hiatus in the Ghodse-Emafo dynasty (Hamed Ghodse re-assumed the Chairmanship in May 2010), the Report also displays a certain continuity of approach in terms of its more worrying content. Although at points perhaps more conciliatory in tone than in previous years, the document reveals the Board as a body that maintains a very narrow and selective interpretation of the drug control conventions. Within this context it remains keen to censure what it egards as moves towards the liberalization of policy practice, yet stays silent on other areas that are
worthy of attention; particularly those relating to the non-punitive aspects of the conventions.

As policy debates around the world grow richer and more diverse, the INCB is in danger of being left behind.

Previous reports in this series:


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  • International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC)