From April 19 to 21, UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) related to the world drug problem was held and attended by all UN member countries along with representatives from various international institutions. One of the scientists who participated in the event was Professor of the Faculty of Medicine, Prof. Dr. Sri Suryawati. She was present in her capacity as the First-Vice President of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), quasi-judicial agency under the office of the UN Secretary General in charge of guarding and monitoring the implementation of international conventions on narcotics, psychotropic substances and precursors in all countries of the world.
Suryawati who currently serves as Head of the Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Health Policy, Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Faculty of Medicine UGM, has been in charge for almost a decade or two election periods in the INCB. She was elected member of the INCB due to her international experience in the field of drug management, essential drugs, drug policy, and the promotion of rational drug use in many countries.
During her career, Suryawati has held various important positions, such as the WHO Expert Advisory for Medicine Policy and Management since 1999, and member of various WHO Expert Committees such as the Expert Committee of Essential Medicines Selection(2000-2007) and Co-Chair of the Expert Committee on Drugs that Cause Addiction (2003-2006). Her last role raised her name and got her nominated in the election of members of the INCB.
Suryawati said that in the General Assembly which took place at the UN headquarters in New York, they discussed the efforts that need to be done to overcome drug problems in the world. All participants of the session agreed that the drug problem needs to be addressed not only by multiplying the national efforts, but also through the strengthening of international cooperation.
"This work is done based on a balanced approach, integrated, and scientific evidence, principle of shared responsibility, and on three international conventions that exist, namely the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961, the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1972, and the International Convention Precursor 1988," she said on Wednesday (11/5).
Specifically, these meetings resulted in various agreements which are recommendation on operational steps to reduce demand through prevention and treatment of people with addiction. In addition, there were also operational steps to reduce supply through the tightening and strengthening of international cooperation to deal with drug-related crime, money laundering, and judicial cooperation.
The meetings also produced an agreement guaranteeing the availability of narcotic, drugs and psychotropic substances needed for medical purposes with the supervision. Participants of the session also underlined the importance of response to all components of society who need medical help without any discrimination, especially vulnerable groups such as women, children, and people with addiction who are facing legal problems.