Policy Makers Against Synthetic Drug Trafficking [PMAST]

Implementing Organization

While addressing the illicit manufacture and trafficking of synthetic drugs is of paramount importance to global public health and security, it is crucial to acknowledge the existing gap in policy making expertise in this specific domain. The novel and fast-evolving nature of synthetic present unique challenges for policy makers who may lack the requisite knowledge and expertise to formulate effective responses. Policy Makers Against Synthetics Trafficking (PMAST) addresses this lack of expertise, which can hinder the development of robust legal frameworks and hinder international cooperation. 

Accomplishments to Date

Program will be launched in 2024.

Project Activities

PMAST initiative to be launched through a 1 day online inter-agency steering group meeting to be held on International Day of Parliamentarianism – June 30th 2024. 
In collaboration with OAS/CICD, the first regional chapter for Latin America region will be launched in July 2024.  This launch will serve as the first regional implementation of PMAST activities around the world.  Modeling the success of the OUNODC – OAS/CICAD regional implementation, follow up regional chapters will be initiated with respective regional organizations identified earlier.   
PMAST aims to remedy the deficiency in policy making expertise related to synthetic drugs through a multifaceted and sustainable approach, including: 
Develop Model Law Guidance:  

  • Update UNODC model law guidance document outlining the specifics of international legal procedures and frameworks related to synthetic drugs. This document will serve as a resource for policy makers seeking to strengthen their country’s legal frameworks to combat synthetic drug trafficking. The Model Law guidance document will be hosted within the UN Toolkit on Synthetic Drug – Legal module and made available in all 6 official UN languages. 
  • Regional implementation in Latin America will take place in collaboration with OAS/ICCAD who will jointly drive the promotion and adaptation of the Model Law document to be tailored for the needs of LA countries. 
  • Develop handbook (checklist) for national assessment of existing legislation vis-à-vis international drug control conventions, UN General Assembly and Commission on Narcotic Drugs adopted resolutions and international scheduling decisions. This handbook will empower parliamentarians, policy advisors and political staffers to sustainability conduct national self-evaluations of existing legislation and identify areas for adaptation and updating of national laws. The assessment handbook will be hosted in the UN Toolkit on Synthetic Drugs and made available in all 6 official UN languages. 
  • Regional implementation in Latin America will take place in collaboration with OAS/ICCAD who will jointly drive the promotion and uptake of the Checklist and UN Toolkit Legal Module amongst countries in the Latin America region.  
  • Update mapping of national legislation related to synthetic drugs currently available and presented in an interactive map platform on the UN Toolkit on Synthetic Drugs – Legal Module. 
  • Regional updates on national legislation adopted for the Latin American region will be conducted in close cooperation with OAS/CICAD who will lead on gathering information on changes to national legislation to be updated by UNODC on the UN Toolkit legal module mapping.  


Establish a Network of Policy Makers:  

  • Leverage existing parliamentarian networks to draw on and form a global network of policy makers dedicated to preventing the illicit manufacture and trafficking of synthetic drugs and ensuring the adaptation and adoption of supportive legislation and policies that are supportive of effective national response to synthetic drugs, regional and international cooperation efforts to address the global synthetic drug problem.  
  • This network will include regional chapters coordinated in collaboration with respective regional organizations, to ensure effective coordination and tailored approaches to regional challenges. 
  • Latin America region implementation will take place in close collaboration with OAS/CICAD will co-lead on establishing regional chapter and co-host regional meetings. 
  • Leveraging the UN Toolkit on Synthetic Drugs to provide a platform for exchange and interaction between Network members. 


Annual International PMAST Forum:  

  • UNODC and IPU will co-host an annual forum of PMAST members providing a platform where policy makers, drug policy and legislation experts, and stakeholders can come together to share best practices, discuss emerging threats, and collaborate on innovative solutions.  
  • Regionally, UNODC will collaborate with respective regional organizations to hold regional forums that will serve as platforms for exchanging best practices and identifying common regional priorities, challenges and needs. The regional forums will also provide the stage for delivery of regional substantive workshops on the UN Toolkit On Synthetic Drugs Legal Module, Model Law Guidance and National Policy Assessment Handbook.  
  • For example, for the Latin American region implementation UNODC and OAS/CICAD will co-host related regional forums.  


Academic Partnerships to support next Generation of Policy Makers: 

  • Providing opportunities and resources for the next generation of drug policy experts, ensuring that professionals entering the drug policy making field are well-prepared to address the challenges posed by synthetic drug trafficking. 
  • Collaborating with renowned academic institutions to a) develop specialized certificate programs and academic initiatives specifically focused on synthetic drugs; b) inclusion of reference and awareness on the International drug control conventions and synthetic drug related General assembly and Commission on Narcotic Drugs related resolutions. These programs will equip policy makers and legal professionals with the necessary expertise to navigate the complex landscape of synthetic drugs. For example, on the establishment of innovation labs on drug policy and awareness raising on the UN Toolkit on Synthetic Drugs – legal module and encompassed resources 


Implementation mechanism and oversight:  

  • This initiative will be coordinated and implemented by UNODC through a collaboration between the UNODC Synthetic Drug Strategy Coordinator and the UNODC Drug Policy Officer.  
  • While international implementation activities will draw on collaborations with other specialized international organization, regional implementation will be delivered in collaboration with respective regional bodies.  
  • For example, for implementation in Latin America region, UNODC will collaborate with OAS/CICAD to co-host, expand on and implement related activities in the region.  
  • The PMAST initiative relies on a robust implementation monitoring and communication strategy to demonstrate impact achieved in all areas of activities.
Global Level Outcomes
  • Global Coordination: Strengthened international cooperation and coordination among policy makers, law enforcement agencies, and relevant stakeholders. 
  • Knowledge Dissemination: Widespread dissemination of best practices, knowledge, and expertise in the field of synthetic drug policy. 
National Level Outcomes
  • Enhanced Legal Frameworks: Improved legal frameworks and enforcement mechanisms at the international, national, and regional levels to combat synthetic drug trafficking. 
  • Capacity Building: Enhanced capacity among current and future generations of policy makers and legal professionals in addressing synthetic drug trafficking. 

Current State Participants 

This new initiative will engage all members of the Global Coalition. 


Asma Fakhri, Coordinator, UNODC Synthetic Drug Strategy asma [dot] fakhri [at] un [dot] org (asma[dot]fakhri[at]un[dot]org) (points of contacts for regional implementation will be identified in 2024)