Women continue to be disproportionately affected by drug use, and face obstacles in accessing treatment, compared to men, according to the President of the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board (INCB).
Viroj Sumyai, who presented the Board's Annual Report on 6 July to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), urged Member States to integrate gender perspectives in the elaboration of their drug policies to address this discrepancy.
According to the report, drug-related harms to women and the resulting consequences for communities are often “sorely under-studied,” and gender-disaggregated data on drug use are rarely collected.
“There are also inadequate budget allocations by Member States for the specific prevention and treatment of drug dependence and substance use disorders among women, who often do not have access to any assistance and suffer in silence,” the report pointed out.
In this context and to learn more about the work of the INCB, as well as the challenges before the international drug control regime, UN News spoke to Mr. Sumyai, a national of Thailand, during his recent visit to UN Headquarters.
Parts of the interview have been edited for brevity and clarity.
UN News: Can you tell us about the work of the INCB?
Viroj Sumyai: The board is composed of 13 members, elected in their personal capacity, by the Economic and Social Council. We are based in Vienna, Austria. Our primary responsibility is to monitor the compliance by the States parties to the three international drug control conventions: the 1961 Convention; the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances; and the 1988 Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. Read more via UN