VIENNA, 2 February (United Nations Information Service) – The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) today recommended the international control of two precursor chemicals used in the illicit manufacture of fentanyl – a narcotic drug about 100 times more powerful than morphine – and a number of fentanyl analogues, which are similar in structure.
Illicitly manufactured fentanyl, produced from the two precursors in question, has been a major contributing factor to a drug overdose death epidemic in North America, particularly in the United States, where it has been used to lace heroin and other illicitly manufactured drugs. According to reports by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this has resulted in the death of thousands of people suffering from drug addiction in recent years.
In view of the growing public health threat posed by drug abuse and of drugs of abuse laced with illicitly manufactured fentanyl, derived from these precursors – namely 4-anilino-N-phenethylpiperidine (ANPP) and N-phenethyl-4-piperidone (NPP) – the Government of the United States proposed to the international community their scheduling under the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, 1988.
Fentanyl itself is widely used in medical practice as an analgesic. It has been controlled under the 1961 Single Convention since 1964.
The Board, which is holding its 118th session in Vienna, conducted an assessment of two fentanyl precursors, based on information received from Governments in response to the United Nations Secretary-General’s call for comments on the United States’ proposal.
The Board decided to recommend to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs the inclusion of the two fentanyl precursors, ANPP and NPP, in Table I of the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988.
The Board’s recommendations, findings and related assessment have already been transmitted to the Chair of the Commission and are available on the INCB website.
The Board’s recommendation will be voted on by States at the 60th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in March 2017.