15 July 2021 – To help address the challenges posed by synthetic drugs, UNODC, in collaboration with the World Health Organisation, the International Narcotics Control Board and the Universal Postal Union, developed the UN Toolkit on Synthetic Drugs, an online platform coordinated by the UNODC Opioid Strategy that brings together over 260 cross-cutting tools and resources from a variety of specialised agencies across the UN system.
Besides providing a wealth of tools and resources on areas such as forensics, treatment and care, precursors, legal responses, access to medicine and prevention of diversion, early warning systems and postal security, the Toolkit website includes an Ask an Expert feature which allows users to contact subject-matter specialists with questions related to synthetic drugs.
To provide further opportunity for interaction between experts and Toolkit users, the UNODC Opioid Strategy is holding monthly Ask the Expert Live events. During a series of 45-minute virtual sessions, experts, practitioners, policymakers and UN staff from headquarters and field offices are able to pose questions directly to subject-matter experts. Each session focuses on a particular Toolkit module and consists of a brief overview of the module followed by a live question and answer session.
Over the first four Ask the Expert Live sessions, 390 participants from around the world interacted with three specialists on forensics and early warning systems, with more than 70 questions being answered by the experts. Asma Fakhri, UNODC Programme Management Officer and Coordinator of the UNODC Opioid Strategy, said that “the Ask the Expert Live series provides a rare opportunity for Toolkit users from around the world to consult directly with substantive experts from across the UN system, and get real time answers to technical questions they may have. Through this, we are empowering our users to maximize the utility of the practical resources referenced in the Toolkit.”
The UNODC Opioid Strategy is supported by the USA Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, and Global Affairs Canada’s Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program.