The purpose of the round table is to familiarize participants from the selected Eastern European OSCE participating States with national and regional legal implications, practices and needs to combat the threats and diversion of NPS.
The world witnesses an alarming new drug problem – spread of NPS, which is increasing at an unprecedented rate and posing significant public health challenges. Mixtures of NPS, marketed as “legal highs”, “research chemicals”, “plant food” and “bath salts”, bought in many cases unknowingly by consumers have resulted in unpredictable and even disastrous effects.
Another major challenge is the lack of knowledge on these substances, most of which have recently appeared on the market and have never been tested on humans before. Health-related problems associated with the use of NPS are also very disturbing and might include cardiovascular problems and psychological disorders. Moreover, cases of unexplained suicides have been noticed associated with preceding use of NPS.
While cannabis is controlled under the international drug control treaties, none of the synthetic cannabinoids are under international control. There are growing evidences that NPS are produced from precursors or pre-precursors that are not scheduled according to the above mentioned drug control treaties. In response to this threat some countries have established legislative permanent control for certain substances or issued temporary bans. Therefore, responses to this problem might be the most effective if they are co-ordinated across countries in the Eastern European region. Objective and credible information sharing on this matter is needed.
The OSCE Concept for Combating the Threat of Illicit Drugs and the Diversion of Chemical Precursors (PC.DEC/1048) adopted in 2012 streamlined the OSCE mandate in assisting the participating States in combating illicit drugs and provided a solid platform and political framework for a closer co-operation of all interested stakeholders: participating States, international and regional organizations, civil society, including media and non-governmental organizations.
The outcomes of the 2014-2015 OSCE-wide Anti-Drug Conferences recommended to the OSCE participating States to put together needed efforts to combat wide spread of NPS, co-ordinate and exchange information on recently emerged NPS as well as to foster capabilities in identifying manufactures of NPS and their distribution hubs.
Hence, upon request of the Republic of Belarus, the TNTD, in co-operation with the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Belarus will organize a regional round table in Minsk on 16-17 February 2016 as a follow-up to the 2014-2015 OSCE Anti-Drug Conferences in order to enhance co-operation and co-ordination among the Eastern European OSCE participating States in combatting illicit trafficking of NPS.
This round table is aimed at further development of appropriate national legislative measures, procedures and operational practices in dealing with supply of NPS in Eastern Europe through promoting best practices and successful experiences, as well as strengthening networking capacities of law enforcement authorities in the region.