Initiatives for Sub-Working Group 1.1 - Manufacturing of Synthetic Drugs and their Precursors

Clandestine Laboratory Training Program

Colombo Plan trainers utilize HAWOPER (Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Program) CFR 1910.120(q) regulations as guidelines to establish best practice protocols for training narcotic steams to assess, dismantle, and collect evidence from illegal clandestine operations accurately and safely.  Students are trained in the local narcotic synthesis trends, air monitoring, toxicology of chemicals, physical hazards, chemical handling, respiratory protection, personal protective equipment (PPE), decontamination, and site control.

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Enhancing licit trade monitoring of controlled precursors and non-scheduled chemicals through INCB PEN Online Platforms

The PEN platforms administered by INCB are the only global platforms for real-time monitoring of licit trade in internationally controlled precursors (PEN Online) and chemicals that are not included in Table I or Table II of the 1988 Convention but may be controlled nationally in some countries because of the use in illicit drug manufacture (PEN Online Light). The two INCB platforms concur to the implementation of articles 12 and 13 of the 1988 Convention against Illicit Trafficking by facilitating the exchange of information on international planned shipments of controlled and non controlled chemical precursors thus preventing diversions, promoting joint investigation on suspicious transactions.

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Enhancing real-time sharing of actionable information related to incidents and suspicious shipments involving precursors and equipment used in illicit drug manufacture, with a view to assist with investigations and identify emerging trends and modi operandi through INCB PICS

PICS is the only global secure online tool to enhance real-time communication and information-sharing between national authorities on precursor chemicals and equipment incidents. It facilitates multiagency collaboration and multilateral operational cooperation in precursor and equipment related matters and serves as a global early warning system for chemicals. By providing a secure platform for sharing case-related information, documents and pictures in a quick and secure manner, PICS also facilitates backtracking investigations.

PICS is available in English, French, Russian and Spanish languages and recent updates allow it to run on mobile devices too.

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Improving precursor chemical and other non-controlled chemical control in Southeast Asia

The proposed initiative aims to strengthen regional cooperative mechanisms related to precursor chemical and other non-controlled chemical control. This will be achieved through a) enhanced institutional capacity for monitoring of the trade of non-controlled chemicals, b) established partnerships between public and private sectors, in particular chemical and pharmaceutical industries, c) support regional law enforcement operations focusing on select non-controlled chemicals and d) enhanced understanding of emerging challenges in production, diversion and trafficking of precursor chemicals and other non-controlled chemicals. 

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Enhancing capacities in safe handling and disposal of drugs and chemicals in Southeast Asia

The proposed initiative aims to enhance institutional capacity of safe handling and disposal of drugs and chemicals in Southeast Asia. Prioritized countries are Cambodia and Lao PDR which have seized industrial scale drug laboratories in recent years, together with large quantities of chemicals, but possess no expertise nor experience in safe disposal of chemicals. Key activities will include provision of technical training, advice and equipment, as well as enhancing interoperability among relevant stakeholders that include representatives from the private sector. 

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Technical Assistance for the Effective Final Disposal of Precursor Chemicals

The objective of this initiative is to provide tailored technical assistance to enhance the capacities of national agencies for the effective handling and final disposal of seized or confiscated precursor chemicals. The focus will be on developing or updating regulatory measures, and integrating best practices and lessons learned to standardize procedures. This initiative involves engaging with national agencies and conducting a thorough assessment to identify key improvement areas, followed by the delivery of specialized training tailored to bridge these gaps. 

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Technical Assistance for Precursor Chemical Control

This initiative aims to provide tailored technical assistance, aligning with international standards, to strengthen national regulatory frameworks and procedures to counter the emerging trends in precursor chemical trafficking and diversion. This initiative includes engaging with national agencies, followed by a comprehensive assessment to identify critical improvement areas. Specialized training, tailored to address identified gaps, will then be delivered, significantly enhancing overall capacities in countering precursor chemical challenges. 

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Training Program on the Detection and Identification of Synthetic Drugs, Including NPS and their Precursor Chemicals

This program is dedicated to empowering law enforcement agents and personnel from related agencies with the necessary skills to detect, identify, and investigate synthetic drugs, NPS, and their precursor chemicals. It underscores the critical need for enhanced awareness and specialized expertise in the ever-evolving field of synthetic drugs and precursor chemicals, an area often overshadowed by the focus on natural drugs. This comprehensive training program integrates theoretical lessons with practical exercises. 

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Enhancement of the capacity of front-line officers to detect and identify drugs, along with the precursor chemicals and equipment used in their illicit manufacture.

Provision of equipment and tools such as drug and precursor testing kits and handheld devises for the identification of drugs and precursor chemicals to front line officers and the provision of training on the use of these tools in the United Nations Narcotics Laboratory in Vienna or in the field

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Enhancement of the capacity of forensic laboratory personnel in the Identification of Illicit Drugs in seizures and in biological specimens.

This 5-day course provides hands-on training and practical laboratory exercises for drug identification. Using real samples and following the normal cycle of a sample in a forensic laboratory: from sample reception, chain of custody, documentation of sample characteristics, sampling and qualitative analysis to the interpretation of results and issuance of certificates of analysis. Students will learn about preliminary and screening methods, such as colour tests, FTIR, Raman and GC-FID. They will also confirm their identification using GC-MS. The course covers the essential laboratory skills required for sample preparation, sequence running, and data analysis. Finally, students will be introduced to quantitative analysis using HPLC 

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Enhancement of the capacity of front line officers in crime scene investigation.

The Crime Scene Investigation courses introduce crime scene investigation and forensic sciences, and the role they play in the investigation process. It offers a holistic view of the journey from crime scene to courtroom.  This course addresses the types of physical evidence, the importance of chain of custody and quality assurance principles. Participants will develop the skills needed to recognize, document, and preserve scenes and physical evidence. They will learn to use and maintain CSI equipment and material, implement anti-contamination measures, record and document scenes, and recover, preserve, document, and package physical evidence. 

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Enhancement of the capacity of front line officers in security document examination

The "Introduction to Security Document Examination" course provides trainees with a strong foundation in examination of security documents. Students will learn about the various categories of security documents and be introduced to the equipment used in document examination. Participants will gain insights into fraudulent documents, their definitions, and types, and reference materials. With practical exercises and the opportunity for participants to build on their experience in the field, this course promises a dynamic and engaging learning experience. 

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Safe disposal of seized drugs and chemicals capacity building

Many countries are successfully increasing the amounts of drugs and precursor chemicals seized year on year. These successes have led serious challenges in how to safely and cost-efficiently store and dispose such large volumes of chemically diverse substances.  
UNODC’s offers comprehensive capacity building on safe handling and disposal of seized drugs and chemicals. Key elements are the assessment of national disposal capacities, the establishment of a national disposal plan, tailored technical capacity building on safe handling and environmentally responsible disposal techniques including in field settings if required, as well as regional exchange of best practices.

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Preventing the diversion of chemicals through enhanced cooperation with industry partners

INCB’s activities related to cooperation with industry aim at: raising awareness about the merits and potential of such cooperation in addressing the illicit manufacture of drugs; supporting Governments by developing guidance materials, practical tools and resources, including facilitating twinning between Governments for sharing of good practices; supporting/guiding Governments to map their national industry landscapes.

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Preventing the diversion of equipment used in the illicit manufacture of drugs

In line with article 13 of the 1988 UN Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances INCB proves member states with technical assistance aimed at checking the use of specialized equipment in illicit drug manufacturing as well as identifying and suggesting non-intrusive normative and operational approaches to prevent the diversion and use of equipment essential for the illicit manufacture of drugs.  Initiatives in this area of intervention have resulted in technical guidance materials, normative and operational measures directed at both international and national levels, actions aimed at improving preventive control over movement and potential engagement of industry providers.

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The UNODC International Collaborative Exercises (ICE) programme

The UNODC International Collaborative Exercises (ICE) programme is a laboratory proficiency test in the identification of drugs in seizures and biological specimens.  The biannual programme is provided free of charge to national drug testing and toxicology laboratories worldwide and allows participating laboratories to continuously monitor their performance in drug testing on a truly global scale.

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