Australian Embassy and Permanent Mission to the United Nations
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia


58th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs

Intervention by Senator the Hon Fiona Nash
Assistant Minister for Health

Interactive Discussion on addressing emerging issues including new psychoactive substances, precursors and the misuse of the internet.

10 March 2015


Chair and panel members, thank you for the opportunity to engage in this important interactive discussion of high level segments to be held during the Special Session of the General Assembly on the world drug problem in 2016.

Australia, like many countries, is very concerned about emerging drug issues including new psychoactive substances, novel precursors and the misuse of the internet. We are keen to address these issues in the most effective, collaborative way, recognising the importance of health and law enforcement working together to provide balanced and effective approaches to reducing the health, legal, social and economic problems associated with all illicit drug use.

We believe that this effective collaboration and effective responses are possible within the existing drug control treaties adapted to legitimate national circumstances

The Australian Parliament has recently passed legislation to provide a general ban at the border on new psychoactive substances - on the basis of their appearance, packaging, concealment or other suspicious presentation.

This is an opportunity for us to effectively respond to new drugs as they emerge. As one of the panel speakers said earlier, too often we are reactive. Too often we have been playing catch up with illicit drug manufacturers. We now need to work together to get ahead of the illicit drug curve - Australia is pleased to work with other countries to learn from each other as we all work to overcome these challenges.

One of the challenges we face is, of course, as one of the panel speakers said, producers are becoming more innovative.

Within Australia - and we are aware in many other countries - we have the particular challenge of addressing new forms of highly potent methamphetamine such as "ice" which is having a devastating effect on many families and communities. Our Government has given this a high priority for both our law enforcement and public health systems.

This is why Australia has submitted the resolution on new psychoactive substances and amphetamine type stimulants including methamphetamine. We look forward to contributing to this debate and effectively meeting these challenges.