The World Health Organization (WHO) has made numerous operational recommendations about the world drug problem. As the question does not specify one particular set of recommendations, this answer addresses a few of its recent publications that contain recommendations. A significant increase in attention to the human rights dimensions of drug use seems to be a promising development, as this emphasis locates drugs and the public health crisis within the larger social and political arenas.
Some recommendations are contained in reports by the WHO Secretariat for dissemination at the World Health Assemblies. The Secretariat’s reports address the public health components of a comprehensive, balanced drug policy. Many of these components relate to recommendations made during United Nations General Assembly (UNGASS) sessions.
In 2017, for example, the WHO Secretariat’s report published in relation to the sixty-ninth World Health Assembly addressed the concerns of UN Member States, endorsing the need for a balanced and public health approach to the world drug problem. Among the operational recommendations is strengthened cooperation between WHO and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), as well as several other UN entities and UN Member States.
According to the 2015 WHO document entitled WHO’s role, mandate and activities to counter the world drug problem: A public health perspective (available as a PDF on its website), the organization is involved in numerous activities related to the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem. WHO engages in activities in several areas, especially the prevention of drug use and treatment of drug use disorders, the prevention and management of drug-related bloodborne infections (including HIV and viral hepatitis), and improving access to controlled medicines.
As the primary international organization tasked with health, WHO is not only well positioned but has a responsibility for active involvement in these areas. As the 2009 report states,
WHO is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system and is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters.
Specific elements of its charge regarding the public health consequences of drug use focus on:
prevention and treatment of substance use disorders, the review and assessment of substances by the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence, prevention and treatment of bloodborne infections (such as HIV and viral hepatitis) to reduce the harms related to injecting drug use, improved access to health services (including access to controlled medicines) in order to fulfil the universal health coverage agenda and ensure equitable access to all as a human rights principle, and provision of support to prevent injuries, violence, tobacco use and the harmful use of alcohol.
The 2019 joint publication by the United Nations Development Program, WHO, and UNAIDS, International Guidelines on Human Rights and Drug Policy, explains the inter-organizational support for the centralization of human rights standards in the drug-control context. The recommendations concern states’ possible and recommended actions to promote peoples’ safety, security, well-being and rights in regard to drug policy and practices.