Does any Operational Recommendation of the WHO regarding drugs address the supply side of the Drug Problem?

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The WHO in fact has a very robust set of policy initiatives that it has recently published in an attempt to combat the dissemination and use of illicit drugs. “Operational Recommendation” is a broadly defined term and can refer to any type of intervention taken by governments, non-profit organizations, or local communities to intervene in cases where drug use is especially prevalent. In 2018, the WHO published a second edition of International Standards for Drug Use Preventions, which can be accessed here.

This documents a number of policy commitments that members states have agreed upon in order to prevent substance abuse. Particularly germane to the question of the supply side of drug abuse is the discussion of tobacco and alcohol policies. The WHO has set itself the task of reducing the availability of both tobacco- and alcohol-based products. In the case of tobacco products, certain tax and price requirements for sale, once effectively codified into law, have had an important effect in reducing tobacco consumption particularly among the younger population. Furthermore, legally-mandated labelling of tobacco products, combined with accurate and unambiguous disclosure of the dangers associated with smoking, have been implemented in order to dissuade adult-aged persons from purchasing them.

These measures have had an obvious impact on the supply-side aspects of the War on Drugs, as these legally-mandated price and labelling requirements must be undertaken by the producers and vendors of tobacco themselves. The WHO has committed itself to progress in this arena, as is outlined in the publications of the standards it has set for member states.

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