Recreational cannabis poses ‘significant’ health challenges to youth: drugs control body

UN News/Elizabeth Scaffidi Glass pipes used for smoking marijuana for sale in New York City.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

The UN-backed International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) warned on Tuesday that poorly regulated medical cannabis programmes could step-up the “recreational” use of the drug while diminishing public concern over its harmful effects.

“Legalization of cannabis for recreational purposes, as seen in a small number of countries, represents not only a challenge to the universal implementation of the treaties and the signatories to the treaties, but also a significant challenge to health and wellbeing, particularly among young people”, INCB President Viroj Sumyai said, following the publication of the body’s latest Annual Report.

The report, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the independent drugs control board, details the risks and benefits of the medical and scientific use of cannabis and cannabinoids.

With several US states and countries around the world having legalized marijuana for recreational use in recent years, it also looks in detail at the impact of that move, saying it can result in diversion to non-medical use and adversely affect public health.

Mr. Sumyai explained that there is “a great deal of misunderstanding about the safety, regulation and distribution of cannabis, particularly where recreational use has been legalized or medical cannabis programmes are expanding.”

INCB made clear its concern over legislative developments on the drugs non-medical use, which it maintains not only contravenes drug control conventions but also poses significant health risks.

“Our report’s focus on the use of cannabis and cannabinoids is coming at the right time, with recent legislative developments in a number of countries”, Mr. Sumyai asserted. INCB remains committed to constructive dialogue with governments of countries where recreational cannabis has been legalized.

“There is limited knowledge of the way the international drug control system works”, he added. “It has been designed by States to safeguard public health by preventing drug abuse while ensuring access to important medicines.”

People ‘unnecessarily suffering’

Turning to pain management, the Board called on governments to end the unnecessary suffering of people who lack access to pain relief medicines. This, members say, will contribute to achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3, to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.

“People are unnecessarily suffering pain and undergoing surgical procedures without anaesthesia because of the lack of access to controlled medicines in some parts of the world”, Mr. Sumyai affirmed.

However, he also warned that oversupplying controlled medicines carries its own risks: “In other places, uncontrolled access is leading to diversion and abuse”, he continued. “We need to ensure more even access to these pain relief medicines.”

A special supplement aimed at marking “progress on ensuring adequate access to international controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes”, examines what is currently in the works to ensure adequate access, and how governments can be helped to move the situation forward.

The supplement includes INCB’s first global assessment of access to psychotropic substances, some of which are being prescribed to treat anxiety and epilepsy, which illustrates a growing global consumption gap.

The report notes that 80 per cent of people with epilepsy live in low- and middle-income countries, where essential anti-epileptic medicines under international control, are either very hard to obtain or unknown.

In low-income countries with a limited number of doctors, INCB recommends that more health-care professionals, such as specially trained nurses, be allowed to prescribe controlled-substances.

While there has been virtually no diversion from international trade in “scheduled precursor chemicals” to the black market over the past 30 years, Mr. Sumyai stressed that non-scheduled chemicals “pose a significant challenge”.

The Board suggests that international policy discussions should address “designer” precursors and new psychoactive substances to prevent these potentially harmful substances from reaching people.

“Today’s drug control challenges may seem daunting, but such challenges have been successfully overcome through cooperative efforts and political will”, he pointed out.

“That same spirit and commitment are needed today”, the INCB chief concluded.










the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

War of words in Davos over Eurozone’s inflation/deflation

Sweden’s forests have doubled in size over the last 100 years

We have a space debris problem. Here’s how to solve it

Climate negotiations on the road to a strong Paris agreement rulebook

Better housing means better health and well-being, stress new WHO guidelines

Trump’s Russian affair spills over and upsets Europe

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “If we do not do properly the Paris agreement, then all 16 remaining goals will be undermined”, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon cautions from Davos

3 megatrends for the factories of the future

EU economy: Between recession and indiscernible growth

Merry Christmas from Erdogan, Putin, Mogherini and the Polish firefighter

It’s a week dedicated to all EU budgets; seven days that can make or break the Union

Five things everybody needs to know about the future of Journalism

FROM THE FIELD: Heeding the call for women’s rights around the planet

“Be aware where you put your I Agree signature on and something else”; now Facebook by default opts you in an unseen private data bazar

Crimea, a wicked game of political chess and a ‘big’ coincidence

These 4 Nordic countries hold the secret to gender equality

Bangladesh: Head of UN refugee agency calls on Asia-Pacific leaders to show ‘solidarity’ with Rohingya refugees

Vegans in France are using extreme tactics to stop people eating meat

Brexit update: Leave campaign leads race but undecided voters will determine the outcome of the EU referendum

We need greater protection for our oceans. We can’t let politics stand in the way

Re-thinking citizenship education: bringing young people back to the ballot box

The shrinking Arctic ice protects us all. It’s time to act

LED lights could stop turtles and birds from drowning in fishing nets

The Chinese film boom luring Hollywood’s stars

New migration pact highlights key role of business in protecting migrants, say UN experts

4 ways to cyberproof your business during mergers & acquisitions

Why and how did ISIS and Muslim fundamentalism gain momentum this year?

What makes America the world’s most competitive economy?

Attack on UN compound in Somalia may be ‘violation of international humanitarian law’

Draghi proposes timeframe for full Banking Union in five years

3 ways business leaders can build digital trust

Entrepreneurship and strategic planning: the enabler

Security Council extends mandate of UN Interim Force in Lebanon for a year

Online radio and news broadcasts: Parliament and Council reach deal

There are now four competing visions of the internet. How should they be governed?

French elections: by the time the EU economy revives and the migration crisis is solved extremists could take over Europe

“16+1” Cooperation injects new vigor into China-Europe cooperation

Horn of Africa: UN chief welcomes Djibouti agreement between Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia

UN chief hails Libyan leaders’ agreement to hold general election

Key Brazilian border crossing for Venezuela refugees reopens as asylum numbers pass last year’s total

Financial Transaction Tax: More money for future bank bailouts?

Guinea-Bissau needs ‘genuinely free and fair elections’ to break cycle of instability

Cum-ex tax fraud scandal: MEPs call for inquiry, justice, and stronger tax authorities

EU-China relations under investigation?

UN chief urges Hamas and Israel to ‘step back from the brink of another devastating conflict’ in Gaza

Parliament supports plans to improve quality of tap water and cut plastic litter

Rising political extremism in Europe escapes control

How can entrepreneurship tackle the migration crisis in the EU?

Migration crisis, a human crisis after all

Everything you need to know about Ireland’s economy (Post Brexit)

MWC 2016 LIVE: Gamelab founder talks Apple TV, VR and monetisation

Climate change and health: an everyday solution

Stricter rules and tougher sanctions for market manipulation and financial fraud

16 foods that are good for you – and the planet

Preparing the future today: World Health Organisation and young doctors

European banking stress tests 2014: A more adverse approach for a shorter banking sector

Conflicting statistics and bad banks haunt the Eurozone

EU-Turkey relations: Will Turkey manage to revive the EU accession process talks?

UK economy in dire straits: leading banks now officially plan to Brexit too

UN chief ‘deeply alarmed’ over military offensive in south-west Syria

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s