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What is the WHO doing to address illegal drugs?

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has been publishing articles detailing their work in substance abuse prevention for over twenty years. It is clear the organization feels that illegal drug use is a global dilemma.

According to WHO, millions of people all over the world have used an illicit drug at least once. In access to education, 37% of the 155 countries reporting countries do not provide access to postgraduate education programs as part of their treatment of substance abuse disorders. In medicated treatment of drug use, 50% of the 152 reporting countries have methadone available to help treat opioid dependence.

WHO asserts that they are the only agency dealing with all psychoactive substances (substances that impact the mind), regardless of their legal status. They have a multi-prong approach to tackle this problem. First, WHO works to "prevent and reduce the negative health and social consequences of psychoactive substance use." Second, they reduce the demand for non-medical use of these substances. Lastly, they assess psychoactive substances and their use globally in order to advise the United Nations with regard to their regulatory control.

WHO also recognizes that there is a significant bond between mental health and substance abuse, and much of their work to combat the use of illicit drugs all over the world is closely linked to their mental health efforts.

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