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International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) Annual Report 2023

 Why is it in the news?

  • The International Narcotics Control Board Annual Report 2023 highlights the pivotal role of the internet in facilitating both drug trafficking and usage.

Role of Internet in Drug Trafficking

  • The internet has significantly increased the availability of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances, and related chemicals on illicit markets globally.
  • Cryptomarkets, accessible on the deep web, provide a platform for wholesale drug trade, offering anonymity and safety to sellers and buyers.
  • Social media platforms are increasingly used as local marketplaces for drug trafficking, with inappropriate content often accessible to vulnerable demographics such as children and adolescents.
  • Internet pharmacies and telemedicine pose risks to patient safety by enabling the sale of drugs without proper prescriptions, leading to potential misuse and abuse.
  • The global trade in illicit pharmaceuticals is estimated to be worth $4.4 billion, highlighting the significant scale of the issue.

Challenges Posed by Internet to Drug Control

  • Encrypted communication methods employed on the internet present challenges for law enforcement agencies in prosecuting online trafficking offenses, as they hinder the interception of communications.
  • Offenders exploit regions with lax law enforcement regulations to conduct drug trafficking activities, leveraging the global reach of the internet to evade extradition and legal consequences.
  • The proliferation of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids on online platforms exacerbates the drug trafficking problem, contributing to the opioid crisis in various parts of the world.


  • Utilize online platforms effectively to prevent the non-medical use of drugs and raise awareness about the dangers of drug abuse through educational campaigns and interventions.
  • Formulate and enforce legislation and policies aimed at prosecuting illegal marketplaces operating on social media platforms, ensuring accountability and deterrence.
  • Implement real-time counter-trafficking tools and technologies to develop actionable intelligence against traffickers exploiting e-commerce services, enabling law enforcement agencies to disrupt drug trafficking networks effectively.


International Narcotics Control Board (INCB)

·       The INCB, headquartered in Vienna, Austria, was established in 1968 in accordance with the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961.

·       It serves as an independent and quasi-judicial monitoring body responsible for overseeing the implementation of United Nations international drug control conventions.

·       The INCB comprises 13 members, each elected by the Economic and Social Council for a five-year term.

·       The INCB has launched initiatives such as the Global Rapid Interdiction of Dangerous Substances (GRIDS) Programme and Project International Operations on New Psychoactive Substances (ION) to address the challenges posed by internet-enabled drug trafficking.


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