WHO launches a single-source repository on drug dependence information
The repository, from WHO’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD), is an important resource for health professionals, drug policy experts and policy-makers, as many of the substances reviewed by ECDD have otherwise limited information regarding their public health risk. It represents the only online, freely accessible collection of information and reports on new psychoactive substances and medicines, for medical and scientific use, comprising over 450 substances.
Improving information-sharing with health-care professionals and other experts involved in tackling the world’s drug problems can lead to better awareness on abuse, harms and dependence of psychoactive substances reviewed by ECDD. This can contribute to increased implementation of effective public health responses relating to drugs such as improving detection of substances and clinical treatment of overdose, and other related negative health consequences of drug use. Additionally, this resource is important when sourcing information regarding the therapeutic use of psychoactive drugs.
The WHO ECDD consists of an independent group of experts in the field of psychoactive drugs and medicine. It assesses the health risks and benefits of the use of psychoactive substances according to a set of fixed criteria.
The Committee meets annually to review the public health impact of selected psychoactive substances and make recommendations on whether or not these psychoactive substances should be placed under international control to the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), a policy-making body comprised of 53 UN Member States. Oversight of the implementation by countries of CND-adopted recommendations is provided by the International Narcotics Control Board.
In recent years, the WHO ECDD has advised the CND on the international control status of cannabis, which resulted in its reclassification for consideration for recognized therapeutic uses. These technical documents are all available in the repository.