UNODC-supported forensics and law enforcement platform develops regional NPS response and strengthens drug analysis and investigations in West and Central Asia
On November 8 and 9, 2022, in Astana, Kazakhstan, within the framework of the UNODC Regional Program for Afghanistan and neighboring countries (Regional Program), a regular meeting of the Regional Working Group on Forensics and Illicit Drugs was held. The meeting brought together senior forensic experts and law enforcement officials to share best practices in drug analysis and investigation, as well as to plan regional operations and develop joint regional drug investigations. The meeting was attended by 28 experts and officials from Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre (CARICC) and representatives of the Laboratory and Scientific Support Section (LSS) of UNODC.
At the meeting, the participants shared information about the drug situation in 2021-2022 and major seizures of drugs, spoke about the activities of national forensic laboratories and drug examinations carried out, as well as about the technical aspects and problems of forensic medical examination of new psychoactive substances (NPS).
As a result of the meeting, the countries made proposals for further strengthening regional cooperation in the field of forensic medical examination and countering drug trafficking, expressed interest in joining the UNODC International Joint Exercises (ICE). Participants stressed the importance and success of the now annual Operation Reflex to counter NPS and synthetic drugs, which is coordinated through CARICC and supported by the UNODC Regional Program. In addition, countries emphasized the need for advanced training courses for forensic experts.