What is and how the Early Warning Subsystem works

What is and how the Early Warning Subsystem works

The Drug Early Warning Subsystem (SAR) was instituted by the federal government on August 30, with the publication of the Resolution No. 6 in the Official Gazette. The mechanism, implemented on an experimental basis, will allow for the faster identification of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) in Brazil and will be coordinated by the National Secretariat for Policies on Drugs and Asset Management (SENAD) of the Ministry of Justice and Public Security.

New Psychoactive Substances (NPS)

To understand the need for subsystem creation, it is important to know the risks that NSPs pose. NSPs – or NPS for its acronym in English – are new narcotics or psychotropics, in pure form or in preparation, which are not controlled by the United Nations drug conventions, but which may pose a threat to public health comparable to that posed by substances listed in these conventions.

NSPs are formulated to mimic the effects of existing drugs, whether natural or synthetic. However, as they are new molecules, there is no consolidated information about their potential damage to health, which makes them a major challenge for public health and safety.

Because of this, monitoring, information sharing, early warning and awareness of the risks they can cause are essential – and it is to perform these functions that the SAR proposes to do.

Early Warning System (EWS)

The Rapid Alert Subsystem presupposes an interdisciplinary work, and for this reason it will be composed by the National Public Security Secretariat (SENASP/MJSP); Federal police; National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa); National Department of Drug Care and Prevention (SENAPRED) of the Ministry of Citizenship; IRS; Civil Police; Official Skills; specialized toxicology units of the Unified Health System and universities and research centres in the area of ​​public health and public safety. Other bodies and entities can also voluntarily join the SAR.

The different members of the subsystem contribute information when they come across a new substance, and this information feeds bulletins and reports that support the actions of SAR members.

Through the subsystem, police officers can be more attentive to the emergence of new drugs; experts can confirm the chemical composition of seized substances more easily; and health professionals can receive guidance on symptoms and treatments for patients who have consumed these substances, for example.

In addition to acting in the identification, monitoring, analysis and communication of new substances to the police and health authorities, the SAR will also contribute to the monitoring of trafficking activities in the sale of these narcotics.

After a year of implementation on an experimental basis, SENAD must present to the National Council on Drug Policies (CONAD) an evaluation report of the initiative, proposing that the SAR become a definitive instrument, that the period for its implementation be extended or that submit a new proposal related to the area.

The Centre of Excellence for Illicit Drug Supply Reduction (CoE) was involved in the discussion that preceded the creation of the SAR, and will monitor the functioning of the mechanism in this experimental stage.

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