VIENNA, 1st February, 2016 (WAM) — At the opening of its 115th session, the International Narcotics Control Board, INCB, reiterated the importance of a balanced approach to drug control policy and practice, in order to work towards the health and welfare objectives of the three international drug control treaties.

INCB is meeting in Vienna from 1st to 5th February, 2016, to continue its work monitoring the implementation of the three drug control conventions. During the session, the board will deliberate upon its recent missions to China and Uruguay and review treaty compliance by member states.

INCB President, Werner Sipp, said, “As the international community prepares for the United Nations General Assembly Special Session, UNGASS, on the World Drug Problem, to take place in April, INCB wants to contribute actively to the global debate. He emphasised, “The international drug control conventions and the political declarations continue to provide a solid foundation for efforts to address drug abuse, drug trafficking and illicit drug cultivation and production. But they need to be fully implemented.”

Noting the dual objective of the treaties to ensure the availability of controlled drugs for medical and scientific use while preventing abuse, the INCB President said that the overarching aim of the treaties is to benefit the health and welfare of mankind, which, in view of UNGASS preparations, is the key theme of the thematic chapter of the INCB Annual Report for 2015. The Annual Report will be launched globally on 2nd March, 2016, together with the INCB Precursors Report for 2015.

On 3rd February, INCB will release a special publication on the “Availability of Internationally Controlled Drugs: Ensuring Adequate Access for Medical and Scientific Purposes”. At the same time, an article by members of the board and its secretariat will be published in the medical journal, ‘The Lancet’, under the title, “Use of and barriers to access to opioid analgesics: a worldwide, regional, and national study.”