What segments within the WHO is responsible for dealing with illegal drug use?

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Illegal drug use, both of illegal and legal drugs, are covered by various subdivisions within the World Health Organization. Primarily, the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse (formed in 2000) addresses the legal and non-legal use of drugs. There have been various committees over the years who meet to address specific aspects of drug abuse including the current Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) and the previous Expert Committee on Problems Related to Alcohol Consumption.

The ECDD is an independent group of drug and medication experts who consider and assess the benefits and risks of the use of psychoactive drugs. Specifically, they consider these criteria:

  • Potential dependency as illustrated with clinical evidence
  • Any evidence of abuse
  • Therapeutic applications

As a result of their analysis, the committee many make recommendations as to the use of these substances, including:

  • Control of said substances
  • Potential transfer of one Schedule to another
  • Revisit of any substance in the future, when not enough evidence currently exists

The recommendations of this committee are considered seriously by the Director General of WHO, who then reports these findings to the UN Secretary General and the United Nations Control Narcotic Board (CND).

The Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse deals more with specifically abuse and additional to illegal (and legal) substances. Their goal is to destigmatize and ease the burden of metal health and substance abuse treatment.

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